Friday, September 18, 2015

Gluten Free One Pot Chili Mac n' Cheese

With the start of Kindergarten, I have quickly realized the importance of meal planning and easy dinner ideas.  Our days and nights seem to be getting away from us, and there just are not enough minutes in the day!  Naturally, when I was thinking, "what's for dinner this week?" I consulted my trusty pal, Pinterest, and went to this Pin for an easy one-pot chili mac and cheese. I've made this in the past and it was a hit.

If you're following our adventures on Instagram, you may have seen a post earlier this week with a delicious meal we made.  The beauty of this one was that you don't need to cook the pasta first, it all goes into one pot and it doesn't take too long to make.  This makes the cooking easy and clean up even easier.

First, I grabbed my helper, who grabbed a Halloween decoration broom, and as I got to work cooking, she was "kee kee" which I believe is Ada code for cleaning.

I used my big cast iron pot, but a sauce pan would work just fine too.  I used this recipe, and changed things slightly to fit our family's taste buds and restrictions. I used gluten free penne, and that was a mistake.  It still tasted delicious but it absorbed too much of the liquid and became a little mushy.  So next time I'll be using elbows and also adding a little extra broth, because gluten free pasta tends to suck it right up.  I also used turkey burger in lieu of hamburger and omitted the beans because I have house full of crazies who don't like them.

When adding the cheese, I like to listen to The Pioneer Woman and freshly grate it.  I used a Cabot sharp cheddar which is naturally lactose free (for my son who has lactose sensitivities).

I served up this meal with some fresh baked corn muffins.   I cheated a little and used a gluten free boxed mix from Price Chopper because it really is the best corn bread I've had. I make it a lot.  The box calls for cooking it in a pan, but this time I tried muffin style and it was very yummy, you just may need to adjust the cooking time.  One thing I have learned with making these, is not to use Lactaid in place of regular milk.  I'm not sure why, but it make it extremely salty.

Ada was a huge fan of the muffins. She ate three and then demanded more.  My husband devoured this and my five year old son loved it too.  That, my friends, equals a meal time success!


To see more of our gluten free adventures, follow @KnaptimeKnitter on Instagram!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

My Closet Downsize-Part 2

If you read part one of this series, then you know I've been downsizing our wardrobes.  I started with my closet, and hope you are enjoying the purging of your closet as much as I've enjoyed it with mine. So, you may have these piles kicking around, and wondered what happens next.  Here's some things I do with pieces I'm parting with:

1. One of the easiest things you can do is to consign them.  Look online for local consignment shops in your area and set up an appointment.   I have one I use for kids and baby items and another for my pieces.  Keep in mind, shops can be very particular about what they take, so freshly washed, ironed and on hangers helps when you go to your appointment.  Bring in season, or if the season is about to change over, ask them if they'll take the next season as well. 

2. Start an Instagram shop.  I did this last year and it was very very VERY slow to start, but then, as I grew my customer base, it got much better.   I have so much fun in my Insta shop, because I not only get to make some money off clothing we are no longer using, but I can shop other stores too.  I love knowing that when I purchase from other Insta stores, it's going straight to the owner.  My shop is called @ShopThroughTheHeart and I mostly sell from my own personal closet, but also post some baby and kids.  Occasionally, if I find some really great thrifted treasures, I also grab those to post.
Since I started my shop, I've sold almost 300 items, which is great when creating my kid's next size wardrobe. 
 I scored this amazing tee for my girl on an Instagram store for $7!

3. ThredUp. You may have seen other posts about ThredUp here on my little blog, because I am a little obsessed.  I sell to ThredUp as a last chance before donating, since you don't get much return on items.  You can never really tell what they will or will not take, so if I'm going to donate anyway, I send it in to them so they take what they want to sell and donate the rest.  I send in a bag, and only get an average of $20, but hey! that's $20 in my Pay Pal or to spend on their site.

I got this amazing silk Odille dress from ThredUp for an unbeatable price ($30!):


If you've never ordered a clean out bag from them, you can do so here (it's free!).

If you've never shopped with them before, you can get a free $20 to shop with this link. When I first signed up and shopped, it was only $10, so you're getting a killer deal!  Here's an item I sent in, that could be yours for FREE with your credit (picture is from ThredUp):

4. Donate. This is the quickest and easiest thing to do with your unwanted items.  Drop them in a donation bin, at a church, or to Goodwill.  Many places will give you a receipt so you can deduct your donation from you taxes, all you have to do is ask.


Stay tuned for part 3 of this series, which is where the fun begins: shopping for and building your dream wardrobe on a budget!

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Thrift Your Heart Out with 50% Off at Like Twice Today!

I received a glorious email this morning, friends.  Everything at is 50% off with code FINAL50.  If you haven't shopped them before, they are very similar to ThredUp (another fave).


And if you are new to ThredUp, you can get $10 with this link.

The Twice sale ends today!  If you're like me and start your holiday shopping in the summer, this is a great place to go, since there are items new with tags.  Enjoy.

Happy Shopping!
UPDATE: Like Twice has closed, sadly!  But ThredUp is still up and running, so the link above for them is still valid.  

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Christmas in July at Crooked By Design

It's time for Christmas in July!! Head on over the shop and get your order in while the sale is going on. Ends on Friday July 17th!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

My Closet Downsize-Part 1


I'm on Pinterest a lot.  This started when I was pumping/nursing for my daughter, something to pass the time, and now continued because, frankly, I just love Pinterest.  One thing I've been seeing a lot about is downsizing your closet and de-cluttering your life.

Tripping over toys, losing things in the laundry, being a slave to the house.  These are all things I can't stand.  So I decided to find a jumping off point, and go for it.  Operation: DE-CLUTTER!

I started with my closet because it seemed like the easiest and most fulfilling place to begin.  I read a lot of stories about how people tackled this project and the main thing that stuck out was to take everything out of your closet and as you put things back in, evaluate the pieces. For this step, only worry about your actual closet.  Ignore any dressers or anything else you have for clothing storage.  You will get to that later.

Depending on the size of your closet, this could take awhile!  But you can do it.  My closet is very very small, which is one of the main reasons for doing this purge.  I just don't have the space.

When you pick up an item to put it back in your closet ask yourself these questions:

1. What is my first reaction when I'm holding this?
Do you want to put it on right that second because you love it so much? Would you miss it?  Or even notice it wasn't there anymore?  If you don't burst with love for it, you probably won't miss it.

2. Does it fit?
This seems strange, I know.  It's in your closet, probably it fits.  But if you're a mom like me who has two kid, or you've had clothing for a long time, than you might find you've been not wearing it because it just doesn't fit your body anymore.  Maybe it shrunk, maybe your tastes have changed.  Whatever it is, if it doesn't fit, for whatever reason, put it in the get rid of pile.  Do not, I repeat DO NOT put it back in your closet.  You can do this, stay strong!

3. Why haven't I worn this?
I know you have some pieces in your closet that you overlook every day.  We all do.  Ask yourself why you don't choose it.  Depending on the reason, you can evaluate whether or not keep it, but also learn a little about your current likes and dislikes of what you're looking for in a wardrobe.  If it needs to be hemmed, or something simple like that, keep it.  If there's other reasons, like you don't like the color, etc. then put it in the get rid of pile.

4. Is it the right season?
If you have wool sweaters in your closet in the summer, it's just taking up space.  Put those in a storage bin, out of the way.  The more clutter, the more stressful your closet is.  Only keep in season pieces out and put the rest away.

5. Do I have more than one of these?
If you have six white tee shirts, you can safely assume you can part with four or five of them! If you have a bunch of black tanks, get rid of some.  Keep the one, or few you love the most.   

Ok, now that you've done this, look at what's in your closet.  Is it filled with pieces you absolutely love? I bet it is.

So, now that you have all these items you don't want, what do you do with them?  Stay tuned for part 2 of my closet downsize!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Nap Time Sewing

Since its summer, my off season, I've been sitting down with sewing machine as much as I can these days.  And boy am I enjoying that!  During the fall and winter months, my hands are constantly moving with yarn and my poor machine gets neglected but not anymore. 

If you follow on Pinterest, you can see my Sewing Board, which is where I get a lot of my tutorials and how I've self taught myself the basics.  I took one class, and intro to get my acquainted with my machine, but the rest I learned from the good old Internet. 

Here are some of the projects I've been working on:



A similar hat pattern can be found here.  

 I have some top-knot headbands in my Etsy shop too!

The navy and white tote already sold, but the flower tote can be found here!

Many of these projects use a knit fabric, something that scared me for a long time.  It's a little tougher to work with, but if you're like me and avoided projects because you didn't want to deal with a diva fabric, you might be surprised at how quickly you get used to it.  Headbands and hats are great, instant-gratification projects that can be done so fast, you will practice you're skills and get a great accessory in the process. 

To see more of my projects, follow on Instagram!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Kid's Books to Check Out

We have been so busy around here lately, one of our outings that has been neglected is our library days. We are vowing to get back on track on this! Typically, we will visit the library once a week.  The kids love the play area in one of our bigger libraries, and they also love that they can choose as many books as they want.  Atticus thinks he is just about the coolest when he gets to bust out his very own library card and checkout his books. Until, of course, he realizes he has fines and bats his eyes at me to help a book worm out and let him use my card.

The only real problem with our trips to the library, is they LOVE books. They want them all.  But they get lost easily.  One way to avoid the book due date scramble, is to designate a shelf, bin or tote to just library books.  Put them back into one place and keep track of how many you have out.  You don't want to end up like us and get those calls that you still a book you thought your returned!

One of their go-to's is that silly Pigeon!  Atticus thinks these books are hilarious and has some of them memorized.  He loves seeing what kind of trouble that Pigeon is going to get into.


Another favorite of theirs, especially Atticus, is Penguin and Pinecone by Salina Yoon.  This is such a sweet story about a penguin who befriends a pine cone.  He learns they don't live in the same climates, so he has to say goodbye to his new friend.  He visits little Pine Cone, but after a while he doesn't recognize his friend, who has become a tree. 

Penguin and Pinecone: A Friendship Story 

The hands down favorite book of all time in this household is actually a Thanksgiving book, but we read it all year long.  The Ugly Pumpkin by Dave Horowitz is the story of a pumpkin who doesn't get picked and as he's walking his way through Halloween, sans family to call his own, he is feeling down and alone.  Then he discovers something about himself.  It's a terrific story, even when it isn't Fall.

The Ugly Pumpkin: A Thanksgiving Story 

For even more book ideas for your kids, check out The Mommy Stories post about their trip to the library! 

Do you have a favorite kids book? Give a shout! We would love to check them out, too.

Stay Connected:

To hang out with us some more, follow @KnaptimeKnitter on Instagram!