Happy New Year!

Looking forward to the possibilities awaiting our family in 2010.
We wish all of you a happy and healthy New Year!

{our family photography by Kevin Bierbaum}

Linguine Tart Recipe

Here is the Linguine Tart recipe as promised. I should tell you that I am not a cook, I usually screw things up and would rather be creating something with paint, but I will try doing lots of things for company and when I saw a picture of this linguine I thought I had to try making it... and guess what, I didn't mess it up! So I think anyone can make this dish turn out! The recipe I went by was actually called Wisconsin Swiss Linguine Tart, but our store didn't have the right cheeses and I made a few other changes so here is my recipe:

1/2 cup butter, divided
2 cloves garlic, minced
30 thin French bread slices (I used a little larger wheat French bread... so use your favorite and however many fit the best)
3 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper or black... works the same
2-1/2 cups milk
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (3/4 ounce)
2 eggs, beaten
8 ounces shredded Sharp White Cheddar Cheese... grated my own from 8 oz block
box linguine, cooked, drained
1/3 cup green onion slices
2 tablespoons minced fresh basil or 2 teaspoons dried basil, crushed
2 plum tomatoes

Melt 1/4 cup butter. Add garlic; cook 1 minute. Brush 10-inch pie plate with butter mixture; line bottom and sides with bread, allowing bread to come 1 inch over sides. Brush bread with remaining butter mixture. Bake at 400°F for 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Set aside.
Melt remaining butter in saucepan over low heat. Blend in flour and seasonings. Gradually add milk; cook, stirring constantly, until thickened. (It may start to look like its curdling but keep stirring and it will smooth together (be patient)... part may still look runny but it's done) Remove from heat; add Parmesan cheese. Stir small amount of sauce into eggs; mix well. Stir in remaining sauce. Toss 1-1/4 cups White Cheddar cheese with linguine, green onions and basil. Pour sauce over linguine mixture; mix well. Pour into crust. Cut each tomato lengthwise into eight slices; place on tart. Sprinkle with remaining 3/4 cup White Cheddar cheese. Bake at 350°F for 25 minutes or until warm. Let stand 5 minutes. Enjoy this yummy dish with family or friends!


A Holiday Photo Card Design

I was busy working on this design a week before Christmas. A little retouching of photos then the overall design. Card size is 7"x5". (Coloring is more vibrant on the actual printed piece.) Announcements and photo cards are so much fun to design. Options are pretty much limitless. Thank you Cammy and Chris for having me design them!


Handmade Christmas ~ Packaging

Since our Christmas was supposed to be handmade for my husband's side of the family I decided I would make the packaging too. I thought it ended up complimenting the jewelry shown in the below post quite nicely. I printed a template on white card stock paper and then flipped it over and ran either a solid color or holiday pattern on the back for the pillow boxes and tags. David also spent a lot of time making gifts. He first carved wooden ornaments/hangings with each family's last initial, and then he made toolboxes for everything to go in. It even has a bottom drawer that pulls out and locks when the handle is lifted. Pretty sweet! Then I finished off the package with almond bark treats and chewy oatmeal cookies.

{handmade gifts from the ulschmids 2009}

Handmade Holiday Gifts

{swirling turquoise dynamite}

My very first attempts at jewelry making... A huge thank you to Pat (a total sweetheart) from Let it Bead in Brookings for showing me how to make and wire wrap necklaces. We had a fun night together the beginning of December. Here are a few of the creations I made for Christmas gifts when I got home. I hope everyone enjoyed their necklace. I'm usually all about perfection and having an exact idea of what I'm going to create, but with wire wrapping you let the wire tell you what it wants to be... at least that is how I worked with it and it was entirely enjoyable!

{creek's bed}

{peaceful meadow}

{ocean serenity}

{timeless wonders~for my grandma}

If you haven't tried to make jewelry before and have always wanted to I suggest trying it. If there is a bead/jewelry shop near you I bet there is someone there who would love to help you out and give you some great tips. Let it Bead was a fabulous help. I was someone totally clueless going in and I wasn't overwhelmed like I thought I would be. I came out confident in making these necklaces and trying earrings and bracelets. Just a warning... you may become a jewelry addict!


Touched Creatively's SALE Reminder

Just a reminder for those interested, the 25% off sale for all printed issues of Touched Creatively ends this Friday. Click HERE if you would like any of the three issues above for only $4.89 plus shipping! Also the download for the kid inspired magazine issue is available for $1.89 for a limited time only. Hurry so you don't miss out on some wonderful talent and inspiration!

Our Christmas

{one gift from Santa}

It was sure an interesting Christmas. We didn't make it to Kaelyn's Grandma Cindy's for Christmas morning as planned. We had to postpone the get together for Sunday. So Friday morning was a nice little time with just the three of us. Kaelyn enjoyed opening all the presents Santa brought. She had to open each one completely so she could play with it before moving on to the next gift... all her idea! So it was good we weren't in any rush to get somewhere else!

Friday night I still had no idea who would be able to make it to our house on Saturday for lunch. So I was busy cleaning and making lots of food. I don't think I have ever spent so much time in the kitchen. My sweet husband picked up all the ingredients for me so I could make a roast (started at 5am Saturday), ham, mashed potatoes and gravy, green bean casserole, cookie salad, pasta primavera salad, chewy oatmeal cookies, a pumpkin cake, and almond bark treats, and a carmel french toast dish for Friday morning. The best thing that came out of our kitchen, luckily... since I had never made it before and we changed a few things from the recipe was a linguine tart! It sure took some time to make but it turned out really good! I will share the recipe with all of you soon. I think it beats all pasta that I've ever ordered out. So on to the get together... later Saturday morning I found out 6 people couldn't make it due to the snow. Luckily we still had 9 people to come and eat. We still have a fridge full but at least I won't have to cook again for awhile!

{Kaelyn enjoying her ride}

{Sunday morning car ride}

We were able to make it to Henry on Sunday for a couple Christmas's on David's side. We had a great time and we were finally able to relax. Kaelyn was even partied out and fell asleep on my lap late Sunday afternoon... that never happens, so I enjoyed the cuddling time!

Kaelyn loved everything Santa and family brought her this Christmas. Today I'm enjoying the quiet and Kaelyn was jumping from one gift to another, and I can say she doesn't like any one thing better than another. Thank you to all of our family who made it extra special and to all those who sent holiday greetings! We loved all the pictures, cards and letters! We hope you all had a happy and safe holiday.


Merry Christmas ~ Card Design

{front view}

{back view}

I decided to print this years Christmas cards myself. I intended on just doing a one side design but when I got these photos back from my friends who just started Dolby Photography I had to make it front and back! Although it was quite a bit more work with cutting and gluing, I think they turned out pretty cute. I know David loves the pink! Ha, ha! ...but it went so well with Kaelyn's outfit! Anyways, I will share more about Ethan and Leslie's photography business soon.
They did a fantastic job!

A Quick Christmas Eve Celebration

{our living room}

Well the weather shortened our regular Christmas Eve get together so since we were home earlier than expected I thought I would share a few photos. I did very little Christmas decorating this year but our place still looks festive with the tree and our nativity scene. I just love the sparkling reflections dancing around the room from the lights. In the below picture if you look out the window you can see the large nativity that is outside of our church! Love that!

Oh, and you know what I love about our Christmas tree? It only cost $5!! Well, like $12 if you add on the decorations. I must say I love thrift shopping and finding good deals. I was glad the store didn't "fluff" out the branches so it looked homely and no one else wanted to buy it. It was meant to be in our family. Ha!

Okay, on to a few shots from tonight of Miss Kaelyn. It was not a good day for Kaelyn to go without a nap! She had quiet an attitude all night long and during the candlelight service at church. I even had to take her out to quiet her down half way through. You at least get a glimpse of her Christmas dress.

She was much more interested in running away from me or telling other things like the tripod and her wooden horse to say "cheese"!

I keep thinking back to last year's Christmas Eve. Family came to our house after the candlelight service and Kaelyn started walking across the room that night for the first time. She was 10 months old and I almost cried because for the first time she didn't seem so "little" any more. Now I can't get her to stop moving. But we love the energy and laughter she brings to our family. We are extremely blessed!

This year we celebrated Christmas Eve at Kaelyn's Great Grandma Ferne's house. We had lots of yummy soups and a few presents were opened. Kaelyn got this beautiful hat from her Grandma Shari (with her in the photo) who had made it especially for her. So cute!

Snow and blowing started during the church service so the get together was shortened. We were lucky because it was supposed to start earlier and we thought everything would be cancelled. We're supposed to host a Christmas gathering at our house but am thinking most of the people won't be able to make it. Makes it real hard for me not knowing and deciding what to do with food. I'm one that likes set plans so this is a little hard for me. We'll see how it all unfolds soon.

I hope you are all having (or had) a wonderful Christmas Eve!


Have a Blessed Christmas!

This week is going to be a whirlwind. Lots of cleaning up after a little tornado that continues to run through the house, baking and cooking, and just a few other loose ends to tie up before the big family gathering at our house plus going to two get togethers on my husband's side. I will definitely be ready to relax after the festivities. Like usual the gifts are not the important part for us. To remember and celebrate the birth of Jesus and thank God for the many blessings he has given us this past year is what we will be most thankful for. May this be the perfect time to look through the eyes of a child and see the many wonders of this world. So many things we take for granted or just don't pay attention to. We often get wrapped up in the everyday and holiday rush that we forget to really enjoy God's blessings. Kaelyn loves the outdoors whether it's warm or cold. She reminds me of how much I used to love the snow when I was small. Its funny how when we grow older we look at things differently. Now I think of winter more as a nuisance and I'm not a big fan of being cold. Maybe this weekend our family can get all bundled up for some fun in the snow and I can enjoy it as I once did. Winter really is a beautiful time of year.
Merry Christmas!


Creative Christmas Tree

{photo via Kelly Rae Roberts}

While I'm waiting for some design test printouts I thought I would share this creative Christmas tree idea from Kelly Rae's blog. I absolutely love how she decorates her home. Filled with warmth through color and lots of handmade goodness. I wish I could have her come decorate my home. Anyway, maybe someday David and I can get around to making a tree like this one. Very fun! Hope you are all having a great week!


A Curtain Making Weekend!

My to do list for before Christmas has gotten a little shorter over this past weekend. One of my big projects included sewing curtains for five windows! Now if you really know me, I'm pretty clueless when it comes to sewing and I wasn't very excited about the project but I was really ready to get it finished. I looked and looked for curtains but of course I couldn't find any fabric around here I liked and nothing was close to the size I needed. We live in an old house with lots of character and there are several different sized windows. So this meant I had to find fabric somewhere for this project. After LOTS of searching I came across a long curtain panel from Pier 1 imports that David and I agreed on. So 2 panels with lots of cutting and measuring I was able to make full curtains for 3 windows and valances for 2 more. It was kind of funny at the beginning because I couldn't even remember how to wind the bobbin!!! I also couldn't find the manual that came with the sewing machine my husband bought me quite a few months ago. I was almost ready to give up. I was searching the computer for good detailed pictures of what to do and bless my husband, he found the manual for my model of sewing machine on the net and I was good to go. Luckily I remembered how to do everything else. I've only sewn one tank top when I was 12 and a couple little stuffed toys just for practice. That is all I have ever done so I was pretty pleased with myself when I completed this project. Here's one of the windows:

{new curtains}
My mom is the one in our family who is very talented with a sewing machine. She made our family's stockings. They are an absolute treasure! You won't find another stocking even close to what my mom creates. She's so imaginative when it comes to sewing and watercolor painting... she can even write children's books... I'll have to share more about that another time! My mom made a stocking especially for Kaelyn so she had it in time for her very first Christmas last year. Photo below. Can't believe how much Kaelyn has changed since then. We're looking forward to how she reacts to the holidays this year.

{Kaelyn Christmas 2008}


A Must Have for Indoor Cats!

Litter Mate, oh what an incredible product you are! If you have an indoor cat I highly recommend trying this product! If your like me and can't stand the smell of a used litter box and hate how the nasty aroma spreads to nearby rooms you will love how Litter Mate works. Here are a few wonders of this product:
Makes any brand of dry cat litter scoopable. (No more clumps breaking apart and you can use the least expensive litter!)
Stops litter box odor and wetness. (My whole house smells good again and you would never know a cat lives here... other than the hair!)
Controls dust.
Multiple cats will use one litter box.
Eliminates litter box dumping. (Amazing!!!)
Reduces the Cost of maintaining a litter box.
Easy to follow directions and easy to use.
LitterMate is biodegradable, economical, safe and effective

I have to thank my cousin for sharing this product with me. She was the one to see Litter Mate at a cat show and they gave her some tips. They said its better to use a larger litter box rather then the standard size ones because the cats will usually urinate in the corners and if you you haven't used Litter Mate the nasty smell has more than likely penetrated into your litter box. This new box has enough space for your kitty and there will be no more icky corners. It doesn't have to be an actual cat litter pan but something like the above photo works great. I have a large potting/multi purpose box that is the same size as this litter pan which works great. They also suggest a metal scoop.
I found my Litter Mate at a pet shop and it was in a plain old cardboard box with the logo on a sticker. Nothing fancy. Not sure how many places it is available yet but you are able to purchase it from their website. You can also find it at some cat shows. I'm telling you, its totally worth the money and it lasts for a long time!


Miss Kaelyn Jade

After a trip to the post office, Kaelyn's afternoon was filled with somersaults and giggles. She's been trying to do one for several months but just hadn't had the guts to go through with it until today. When she finally did it, she would giggle and yell "Again, again!" This would go on and on! Very funny!

Although she has had quite an attitude lately, she can also be a sweet well mannered little lady... saying please when she asks for something and saying thank you for almost everything she is given! I haven't even been working with her on that part! She can be quite the conversationalist at times too and it is a kill to hear what she comes up with. Other then that, its like there is a broken record around here, saying "Mommy". I must hear it a few thousand times a day. Most of the time she doesn't even want anything. Goofy girl!

We had another busy but good weekend. Friday David's sister Kathy was released from the hospital!!!! She is doing incredible and is a true miracle. We had a supper get together to celebrate at David's mom's house. She will still need therapy 3 times a week and her right arm still isn't working like it should but hopefully in time that will recover too. Thank you all for your prayers! On Saturday we had a photo session and finished up some Christmas shopping in Sioux Falls. Will be the last trip there for quite awhile I believe. Our going there every weekend was getting a bit old... although I will definitely miss eating at Panera Bread. I love their food!!! Sunday we were able to web cam with my brother's family who is over in England. It's hard not being able to see and hug my little nephew in person but at least I get to see him moving around via the computer. Technology is wonderful!


Christmas is in the Air

{sorry, not sure who this original photo belongs to}

It's looking a little more Christmassy outside with the snow we got last night. Are you all decorated for the holidays? I have to admit, I'm kind of a dud this year. I put up the tree Monday and just a couple other little things and that's as far as I got. No ambition to work on it this year for some reason... maybe its due to the fact of having many other projects going on. After the holidays I'll be able to share some of my creations I've been busy with. Can't ruin the surprise for some of the people getting them!

Anyway, I decided to share some other people's beautiful and creative holiday decor. Maybe this will inspire me to get back to decorating, or I may just enjoy looking at their photos. :)

{image via channel4)

I really like the different sized trees, the unique color combination and that the trees are entirely different yet they look so good together.

{image via fresh home}
Can you get any more creative than this? I don't think I would ever have enough patience to make a Christmas tree like this one, but it is AMAZING!!! I love this creative, colorful space!


New Humorous Bicycle Card

{a nice snowy like sparkle finish}

{back of card}
A perfect card for a couple who enjoys biking outdoors or for any person who loves bicycles and can't get enough of them! ...like my husband! You may recognize my design from a previous one I have created. I decided to simplify the design, change some colors and give a little more interest to the text. I absolutely love how it printed on the heavyweight, sparkly paper. A very fun and creative card that can also be framed as a print. Size is 5" by 5". This card is available in my Enduring Arts etsy shop if your interested.