Help for Hobbies of all Sorts by Rene' Hobbie

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Sarah's Key

I really enjoyed this book and liked trying to figure out how the two stories would intertwine into one.  Since it was about the Holocaust, though, I'm ready to find a happier subject to read about next time.  

Paris, July 1942: Sarah, a ten year-old girl, is brutally arrested with her family by the French police in the Vel' d'Hiv' roundup, but not before she locks her younger brother in a cupboard in the family's apartment, thinking that she will be back within a few hours. 

Paris, May 2002: On Vel' d'Hiv's 60th anniversary, journalist Julia Jarmond is asked to write an article about this black day in France's past. Through her contemporary investigation, she stumbles onto a trail of long-hidden family secrets that connect her to Sarah. Julia finds herself compelled to retrace the girl's ordeal, from that terrible term in the Vel d'Hiv', to the camps, and beyond. As she probes into Sarah's past, she begins to question her own place in France, and to reevaluate her marriage and her life.  (review taken from

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Chicken and Dumplings

Chicken and dumplings is one of the meals that my mom made when my brothers and I were little that continues to be one of my favorites.  When my own son was much younger and quite a picky eater, I got him to taste dumplings by asking him if he wanted to know what a cloud tasted like.  He tried them, liked them, and has been eating dumplings ever since.

To make this tasty dish,  I put a whole clean chicken in a deep pot.  You can also use chicken pieces if you prefer.  I then add water to barely cover the meat.  Next I throw in a palmful of dried parsley flakes and sprinkle celery flakes in, too.  (You could also add chopped onion, carrots, and any other vegetable you have on hand and like to use to make a broth.  We've just always kept it simple to keep particular eaters happy.)  I then plop in two chicken bouillon cubes and pepper to taste.  Bring this to a boil.  Boil the chicken gently for about an hour and fifteen minutes or until the chicken is fork tender.

After the meat is cooked, take it out of the pot to cool before deboning it.  Some of the liquid will have probably cooked off.  In that event, you'll need to add more water or some chicken broth to cook the dumplings in. Your pot should be 1/3 to 1/2 full.  I always taste a spoonful of broth at this point to see if I need to add more seasonings.  The dumplings will only taste as good as the broth.

To make the dumplings, add two ingredients together:  2 cups of Bisquick and 2/3 cup of milk.  (This is the perfect amount for our small family of three, but I have doubled and tripled it for larger crowds!)  This will make a sticky dough.  Drop it by spoonfuls in the broth that has been brought to a boil.  Lower the heat and cook 10 minutes uncovered.  Then, cover and cook an additional 10 minutes.

You can then add the chicken to the dumplings or serve them separately as we usually do. 

I hope you enjoyed learning how to make these tasty and fluffy chicken and dumplings!  Let me know if you have any questions.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

I Love Scrapbooking

I'm using some of my Spring Break to do one of the things I love most...Scrapbooking.  My friends and I are going on a scrapbooking retreat soon, and of course, we always take pictures.  I made this scrapbook page in advance to slip our photos onto.

These are the materials I used:

Paper:  All paper is Stampin Up except for the designer paper that I purchased from a local craft store.
Cricut Cartridges:  Accent Essentials (Flowers)
Sizzix Eclips Cartridge:  Rockin Janie (Font)
Stampin Up Die Cut:  Tasteful Trim (Borders)

Have a great day, and thank you for stopping by my blog!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Candy Filled Flowers

This is one of the projects we made at our stamping club last month.  The four inch flowers were made with the George and Basic Shapes Cricut cartridge.  I cut a 1 3/4 inch hole in the middle of each flower using the center point feature on the Cricut.  We then embossed each flower using different embossing folders from Stampin Up.  Circle treat cups from SU were used to fill the middle of the flowers with pastel colored M&Ms.  We finished the project with ribbon and a tag.  It will make a nice little treat to give someone!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Life Is Sweet

I'm preparing to teach a class at a scrapbooking retreat in a few weeks with my good friends and craftin sisters.  This is one of the layouts that we'll be putting together.

I used two different Cricut cartridges to make it:  Doodletype for the font and Doodlecharms for the cupcake and candy.  It was my first attempt to weld some of the letters (Life Is) together using my new Cricut Design Studio Software.  More practice is needed, but I'll get it right.  Do you use the Cricut?  If so, what is your favorite cartridge to use?