Help for Hobbies of all Sorts by Rene' Hobbie

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Do you have a favorite dish that you look forward to eating when you go home to visit?  I certainly do, and this is one of them.  Let me show you how to make Sensational Smothered Steak. 

Start out with enough tenderized round steak to feed your family.  If it isn't tenderized, have the butcher run it through the tenderizer for you.  Cut into serving sizes.

Dust both sides of each piece with a flour, salt, garlic powder, and pepper mixture. 

Brown it in any kind of oil you have on hand.  Bacon drippings are the best.  After each piece has been cooked, remove the meat from the pan.  Drain the pan of any leftover oil. 

Return the meat to the pan and add enough water to cover the meat.  Add a can of sliced mushrooms (if you like),  chopped onions (so your child can pick them out like mine does), three beef bouillon cubes, and a couple of drops of Kitchen Bouquet.  Bring to a boil, cover, and then simmer for an hour and a half or until meat gets tender.  (Watch the level of your water during the simmering process to make sure that it always barely covers the meat.  Add more if too much cooks off.)  Thicken juices with a mixture of flour and water if needed.  Serve over rice or mashed potatoes.  Your family will love it!   

Thank you for stopping by my blog.  Let me know if you have any questions. 

Saturday, August 27, 2011

I'm always trying to find ideas of little gifties for the wonderful moms that volunteer at the library for me.  This project just might do the trick.

It's a cellophane bag that holds tea.  It's just the right size for a Starbuck's gift card, too. 

I started with a 5 1/2 x 5 piece of kraft colored cardstock.  After folding it in half, I scored the bottom of it at 1 1/2 inches to make the pocket.  I used a little red sticky tape to keep the pockets in place.  Next, I stamped the inside as shown with the Stampin Up stamp set Morning Cup.  I colored in the flowers on the cup with a Melon Mambo marker and stamped a second teapot on Melon Mambo designer series paper, cut the teapot out, and glued it onto the one that had been already stamped on the kraft cardstock.

To make the front of the card, I adhered a piece of matching Melon Mambo designer series paper that measured 2 3/4 x 1 1/4 onto a 1 x 2 3/4 piece of melon mambo cardstock that had been punched out with the eyelet border.  I added white ribbon before gluing the ensemble to the front of the card.  I paper pieced the stacking cups with the melon mambo designer series paper just like the teapot inside of the card. 

After inserting the card in the 3 x 5 cellophane bag, it was time to decorate the front of it.  I ran a 6 1/4 x2 inch piece of kraft cardstock through my crimper and adhered it to the front of the bag.  I then added the ribbon and twine.  The flower was made by running paper through the Blossom Party diecut on the Big Shot and assembling the pieces together with a white brad. 

I got this adorable idea from Stampin Up demonstrator Jessica De Urrutia.  She was so sweet to e-mail me back with the directions for this project.  You'll want to be sure and visit her blog at 

Thanks for dropping by my blog today.  Let me know if you have any questions.   

Saturday, August 20, 2011

A librarian friend of mine recommended that I read a book called The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, and it is one that I'll never forget.  The story is told from the perspective of a nine year old German boy who arrives home one day to discover that his family is moving from Berlin to Auschwitz where his father will serve to oversee a concentration camp.  Forced to leave his three best friends, Bruno very soon discovers that life in his new environment is lonely.  He sets out one day to explore and meets a boy his age.  Although he finds out that he and Schmuel have a lot in common, living on "opposite sides of the fence" makes their playtime not only difficult, but has a devastating consequence to their friendship. 

I had a very heavy heart after reading this book, but was captivated by the author's choice of using the perspective of a child to tell the story of such a daunting time in history.  Make sure you have plenty of kleenex available while reading it.  Several moms have told me this week that they need a good cry before Monday when they have to drop their kindergarten babies off at school.  This is your book, ladies.  The Boy in the Striped Pajamas is recommended for YA (Young Adults).  In my opinion, it's not a good fit for elementary aged children to read. 

This title was made into a major motion picture, and I've included a movie trailer for you to view. 

Thursday, August 18, 2011

To be honest with you, I have a love-hate relationship with digital cameras.  I like the fact that you can take one hundred photos of an event and only pick the best five, crop your pics, and even make that blemish on your chin disappear.  However, I haven't come up with a good system for making sure that the photos I want printed out actually are...especially since my husband and I each have a camera that dumps its photos into the same program...Photoshop Elements.  Life just seemed a little simpler when you could take a roll of film to Walgreens and have it developed, so if anyone has a good system for organizing photos, please share. 

I was recently scrolling through some older photos in Photoshop Elements and realized that I hadn't scrapbooked many of my son's school pictures.  He'll be going into the fourth grade, and I'm scrapbooking kindergarten pictures.  I'm just a tad behind, but we'll get caught up!  Stacy Julian, author of The Big Picture, stated that the computer has become the new shoebox where storing pictures is concerned.  I'm determined not to let that happen! 

Here are a couple of the layouts that I've been working on...

Ever forget which pictures you've put in what album?  This idea might help.  For my son's school themed scrapbook, I placed his kindergarten photo on a small tag, and attached it with ribbon to a binder clip.  You could do the same thing for an album that has photos in it from a particular time period by stamping the year on its tag. 

Thanks for stopping by my blog.  Let me know if you have any questions! 

Friday, August 12, 2011

A new school year is right around the corner, and your child will soon be meeting a new teacher.  I love making my son's teacher gifts, because they deserve it!  Plus, since I'm also an educator, it only makes sense that I'd make myself one, too.  Here is a cute and easy scrapbook that I know any teacher would love to have to collect school pictures of their students.  It's made out of i.d holders that you can buy in the office supply section at Walmart for a couple of dollars.  In addition, you'll need some ribbon to bind the pages together, some colorful cardstock, school themed paper, and school stickers.  The little scrapbook pages go together quickly since most of the page will be covered with a photo.  Here are some pictures of a mini scrapbook that I made for my son's teacher a few years ago.

Moms, go ahead and make yourself an album, too.  It's a great way to see how your boy or girl has changed through the years. 

If you have any questions, let me know!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Here's another great recipe for you...Double Meat Taco Dip.  I made it for my stamping ladies, and they gave it two thumbs up.  It's a tasty appetizer but is hearty enough to eat on one of those informal evenings for dinner.  Pair it up with a salad, and you've got a meal!  I'll warn you that this recipe will feed quite a few people...probably 10-12.  I'll definitely half it when I make it again for my family of three.  Here are the ingredients:

Double Meat Taco Dip
2 (8 oz) packages of cream cheese, softened
1 pound lean hamburger
1 pound sausage-I used HOT Jimmy Dean's
16 oz jar of Pace Picante Sauce
2 c. grated colby/monterey jack cheese

Cook the hamburger and sausage together.  Drain.  Return the meat to the pan and add the picante sauce.  Simmer for about fifteen minutes.  In the meantime, spread the cream cheese in the bottom of a 9x13 inch pan.   Top with meat and then grated cheese.  Bake at 350 degrees until the cheese melts.  Serve with Frito Scoops.   

***I got this awesome recipe from

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Vanilla Wafer Cake has been a family favorite for many years.  Instead of any type of flour,  it uses vanilla wafers as the base of the cake.  I  hope it will soon be one of your favorites, too. 

Vanilla Wafer Cake
2 sticks margarine, softened
2 c. sugar
1 c. chopped pecans
1/2 c. milk
6 eggs
1 (7 oz) flaked coconut
12 oz. box vanilla wafers, crushed.  I could only find an 11 oz. box.  Have you noticed how our boxes and containers are getting smaller?   It didn't seem to make a difference in the results of the cake.

Cream the butter and sugar together.

Add eggs one at a time.

Put in all other ingredients.

Mix well.

Grease your pan very well.  I used Pam Spray.  Pour mixture into pan and bake on 350 degrees for 1  hour, 5 minutes.  

This cake seems to come out of the oven a little dark, but everyone always comments about how moist it is.  I put a plate on top of the bundt pan and tried once, twice, three, and four times to pop it out.  I'll just say it didn't come out picture perfect this time, but my friends didn't seem to mind!

How is it, ladies? 

Monday, August 1, 2011

Recently, I was browsing the shelves of a Christian bookstore.  There were so many interesting new books that it was difficult to choose which one I wanted to read first.  The Amish Midwife jumped off the shelf at me because it held many good (gut!) elements that I find entertaining to read about...mystery, adoption, the Amish and Mennonite lifestyles, suspense, and romance.  I couldn't put the novel down.  It was anything but predictable and held many WOW elements right to the very end. 

A dusty carved box containing two locks of hair and a century-old letter regarding property in Switzerland, and a burning desire to learn about her biological family lead nurse-midwife Lexie Jaeger from her home in Oregon to the heart of Pennsylvania Amish country. There she meets Marta Bayer, a mysterious lay-midwife who desperately needs help after an Amish client and her baby die.
Lexie steps in to assume Marta's patient load even as she continues the search for her birth family, and from her patients she learns the true meaning of the Pennsylvania Dutch word demut, which means 'to let be' as she changes from a woman who wants to control everything to a woman who depends on God.

A compelling story about a search for identity and the ability to trust that God securely holds our whole life-past, present, and future.

I'll be starting its sequel soon!