Giveaway: Pioneer Woman’s Cookbook




THANK YOU to everyone who visited and played along! Stick around! I’ve got a photo contest and a book swap coming next month!

(Cynthya, if you don’t hear from me before you read this, please contact me).

Merry Christmas from Write From Karen!

Want to win your very own Pioneer Woman Cookbook?

Here’s what you do:

Tell me (or link to) your favorite recipe (not in this book, though that’s fine, too, but your favorite recipes, overall).

1. Each comment you leave in the comment section counts as one ticket. (One comment per day, please).

2. Subscribe to my feed, receive another ticket. (Please leave separate comment if subscribed).

3. Follow me on Twitter, receive another ticket. (Please leave separate comment if following).

I’ll draw a winner via at 11:00 a.m. CST December 4th.

(This giveaway is open to US residents/addresses only. Thank you).

More from Write From Karen

Photo Story Friday

Photo Flashback: Setting Up for Pictures


Playing with the fancy lights

Kevin has always been a great photographer. He has a natural instinct for finding the right light, and a keen eye for capturing unique perspectives.

Photography is one of the first interests we had in common.

We have spent quite a bit of money on photography equipment over the years, nothing along the professional level, but definitely on the novice level. My very first “serious” camera was an Olympus 35 mm. This was, of course, waaaay before SLR’s or anything digital and I had to set everything manually. Which was daunting and something I never really got the hang of. I wanted something I could just point and shoot and get a decent picture from. That’s why I got SO excited when SLR’s came out because I had my point and shoot, only there were settings that I could fiddle with and actually “feel” like a photographer.

Kevin and I used to go out and take pictures. This was way before children. When the boys came along, we barely had time to be parents, let alone photographers. We took pictures of the boys, of course, but it was always with a camera that any dolt who could push a button could use.

Then, as the boys got older, our interest in photography peaked again and that’s when we started investing in nicer cameras. Currently, I use a Canon Power Shot A590 that I carry with me and that I use to tape my idiotic videos with. It’s a truly great camera, if you’re in the market.

Then we bought our Canon Rebel. Our very expensive and UBER COOL Canon Rebel. (The same camera that we nearly lost in the terminal when we put it on the floor next to us to check in for our cruise. Talk about an exciting way to get your vacation started!!)

We truly love this camera. I like to pretend I know what I’m doing when I use the Rebel, but the truth is, I have no clue. I play with the cool knobs and settings and …. hope for the best.

But Kevin, he’s actually taken a photography class and he knows a little something-something about F-stops, angles, lighting and anything else required to get that really stunning shot.

As a result, his sister asked him to come over and take their family picture last year. So, he set them up and took their picture and OH MY GOSH, they turned out great.

Part of the reason they turned out so good was because my brother-in-law, who’s REALLY into photography, had all the cool equipment, complete with fancy-smancy portrait lights. Which Kevin used to take their picture and immediately wanted.

So, Santa brought him portrait lights for Christmas last year.

Which he has YET to use.

I’m hoping this post? Lights his guilt fire and he drags them out. 😉

(I’m a sneaky little devil, aren’t I? *grin*)

Project 365: Day 2

(The Most Wonderful Time of the Year – Barlow Girl)

Friday Fun

Friday Craft: Homemade Christmas Tree Ornaments

You can find more ornaments here.

What’s a down-home Christmas without some down-home Christmas tree ornaments?

Check out the fun, and unique, ideas from Family Fun. (And no, Family Fun has not compensated me in any way – I don’t go down that road. I’m simply passing on some interesting information, calm down).

Here’s a neat one for those that have real Christmas trees:

Tree Circles

A chip off the old block, these wooden ornaments preserve the piney memories of Christmases past.

* Handsaw
* Pine disk
* Copper wire
* Ribbon trim or cord
* Glue
* Artificial greenery and berries optional
* Marker or craft paint

1. Saw a cross section from the bottom of your Christmas tree trunk before putting it into its stand for decorating (a parent’s job). Alternately, you can saw a smaller piece from the middle after the holidays are over. This is your pine disk.

2. Wrap a length of thin wire around the pine disk and twist it into a loop at the top for hanging. Tie on a ribbon, glue on some trim, or add greenery, berries, or other decorations.

3. Write the year across the front with a marker or craft paint. If the wood surface is too rough, sand it down a bit before writing.

4. For an extra remembrance, glue on a fun Christmas-morning snapshot before you store the ornaments away for next year.

Time Capsule Ornament

Commemorate your baby’s first Noel — and each one thereafter — with a tree ornament that’s filled with handwritten recollections of the year. The plastic balls are easy to open, so your child can reread the notes every Christmas.

* Fillable clear plastic ornament (ours is 80 mm)
* Double-sided tape (we used Terrifically Tacky Tape for its extra-strong hold)
* Rickrack or ribbon
* Scrapbooking paper cut into strips (ours are 5/8 inch wide)
* Small photos or other memorabilia that fits inside the ball

1. Separate the two halves of the ball. Apply a strip of tape around the outside of the wider half. Carefully press the ribbon to the tape so that it’s close to but not touching the outer edge.

2. Write notes on the strips of scrapbooking paper, then roll them up and tuck them inside the ball. Add pictures, a photocopy of your child’s newborn footprint, and other mementos, if you like. Put the ball back together, then tie some ribbon and a tag with the year written on it onto the plastic loop.

Dangling Snowman

It doesn’t take a single flake to build this frosty character — you can round him up with white foam, buttons, and ribbon.

* 3 round objects (we used a spice jar lid, the bottom of a yogurt container, and a mason jar lid)
* Scissors
* Craft foam, white and orange
* Glue dots
* Monofilament
* Buttons
* Permanent marker
* Ribbon

1. Using the round objects as patterns, cut out 2 white foam circles in each size.

2. Dangling Snowman Step 2 Place one set of the circles on a flat surface, spacing them 1/4 inch apart. With glue dots, glue a 12-inch piece of monofilament across the circles as shown, then firmly press the matching circles on top.

3. Use more glue dots to attach buttons and an orange craft foam nose. With a permanent marker, draw on eyes and a mouth. Finally, tie a ribbon scarf around the monofilament at the neck, and then knot the line above the head to create a loop for hanging.

Mice Ornaments

Sweeten up the Christmas tree with a collection of chocolate mice ornaments.

* Hershey’s Kisses
* Pink felt
* Scissors
* Double-sided carpet tape
* Fishing line
* Self-adhesive googly eyes
* Curling ribbon

1. Remove the tags from two Hershey’s Kisses. Cut out mouse ears from pink felt, about 3/8-inch high. Using double-sided carpet tape, affix the bottoms of the ears to the flat side of one of the Kisses.

2. Tape an 8-inch loop of fishing line behind the ears to form a hanger.

3. With more double-sided carpet tape, join together the two flat sides of the Hershey’s Kisses, with the mouse ears and fishing line loop pointing up. Add a pair of self-adhesive googly eyes.

4. Slip a tail — a 4-inch piece of curling ribbon — under the foil. Now, see how they run (or disappear) from your tree!

Paper Drops

Proof of elegance in simplicity, these graceful paper shapes come together with two snaps of a stapler.

* Colored paper
* Stapler
* Ribbon or gold cord

1. ORNAMENT: Cut two 12-inch strips, two 10-inch strips, and one 8 3/4-inch strip. Line them up in this order: 12, 10, 8 3/4, 10, 12, with one set of ends even. Staple this end. Line up the other ends evenly (bending the outer strips as needed) and staple.

2. HEART: Cut two 12-inch strips and two 9 1/2-inch strips. Line them up in this order: 9 1/2, 12, 12, 9 1/2, with one set of ends even. Staple this end. Now bend the unstapled ends into a heart shape, so a small heart lies inside a larger heart. Align the ends and staple together.

3. TEARDROP: Cut two 12-inch strips, two 10 1/2-inch strips, and one 9-inch strip. Line them up in this order: 12, 10 1/2, 9, 10 1/2, 12, with one set of ends even. Staple this end. Next, make a crease 1 inch from the unstapled ends of the 12- and 10 1/2-inch strips. Finally, align the ends of all the strips and staple them together.

4. Use the completed shapes to dress up a window or spin in midair from a light fixture or a ribbon. To hang each, knot the end of the gold cord and place it between the loose strips of paper at the top. Staple it all together.

Wishing Spool

Forget about postage to the North Pole. When kids roll their wish lists onto these cute-as-a-button spools, Santa will snap to attention.

* Acrylic paint and brush
* Wooden thread spool
* Marker
* Paper strip, cut to fit the width of the spool
* Double-sided tape
* Ribbon
* Self-sticking label

1. Paint the spool and let it dry.

2. Have your child write her Christmas list on the strip of paper.

3. Roll the paper around the empty spool, using double-sided tape to fasten it, and leave some of the list hanging down (so Santa notices).

4.Thread the ribbon through the spool’s center and tie a knot at the top for hanging. Write your child’s name on the self-sticking label. Affix it to the ribbon.

You can find many more fun and unique ornaments here.

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