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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Birthday Cake


Well what a fun weekend we had at Gidget's competition this past weekend. Though she didn't get that last 1st place she needs to move up to the Champion level of dance, she danced amazing this past weekend. Though she was terribly disappointed, she just smiled and said'I'll just have to work a bit harder and I will get it next time." She makes a mama proud.
We also celebrated her 13th b'day with an amazing cake made by my friend, and local "CAKE BOSS" Dawn Cooke who owns "Desserts byDawn,LLC." She took the design from the team dance dresses at my daughter's dance school and used it to design a gorgeous cake. She did a stellar job with the Celtic Knot Appliques from the dress. (That had to be painstaking), she also put the school logo on the cake with a pair of hard shoes. The cake was 1vanilla teir and 1 chocolate with cookies and creme buttercream frosting filling. Yes it was as delicious as it sounds. Here are some pics of the cake.

The applique design from the Schools Team Dresses

The back of the cake

The Hard Shoes on top of the cake

The School Logo 
One of the Hard Shoes off the top of the cake.

As you can see the cake was AMAZING!!!! If any of you live locally in the Charlotte area and would be interested in a cake made by Dawn, email me. She is also on FB. Not meaning to turn this into an ad for her, but she is amazing, and I highly recommend her. Well that is all for tonite, I return tomorrow with "Words of Wisdom" and some new Art stuff I am working on. Also this week I will have some homeschool news, projects, and yearly testing results. Lots of great stuff coming up!! Hope you will all come back and join me. Hoping this finds you all well!!!

God Bless,

Friday, January 25, 2013

I'm Off Again…..


Well blogger fans and friends, I am off again. Gidget has a Feis(fesh) in Stone Mnt. Ga. We have a 253 mile ride and they are calling for freezing rain and sleet in the South today. FUN FUN FUN!!!!!! I have made a pray of petition with my favorite and beloved Saint, St. Therese of Lisieux that she on behalf of our heavenly father help watch over us in our journey.
Tonight at the hotel we will be celebrating Gidget's 13th b'day(which was on 1/21) with the kids that are attending the dance competition this weekend as well. Her cake was made by my friend Dawn from Desserts byDawn LLC in Mooresvile,NC. The cake is GORGEOUS!!! (Pics to follow)
So hopefully we will come home with good news. Gidget needs one more 1st and she will be a Champion level dancer. GO Gidget!!!!
Well I'm off to finish packing to try and beat the storm out of NC. Hoping you are all well and have a BLESSED weekend.


Sunday, January 20, 2013

Blog Hops & Link Ups


This week I came across a wonderful and fun blog called "My Crazy Beautiful Life". The blog owner is named Denyse, and she lives up the road from me. Which I always find fun. 
In today's world of information SUPER HIGHWAY, we all seem to be in touch with "friends" from all over the world thanks to the Internet. We belong to craft swaps, homeschool support groups, new mom support groups, well support groups of every imaginable life situation, we go to college on the Internet now, we have Twitter, Facebook, Blogs, Pinterest, Google+, well you get the idea. And some of the most  wonderful, funny, amazing, smart, crafty, creative people are becoming a part of our everyday lives thanks to all the wonderful social media outlets. 
It is thanks to some of these amazing people and their blogs that I have been surviving the changes in my life. 
In the last 5 years I have lost my ability to work due to Degenerative Arthritis and Spinal Stenosis in my L3,4 and 5 in my lower back and as a result have had a spinal fusion surgery. It took me 4 years to get my disability approved. In that 4 years due to my inability to work and the loss of my income we lost our house, and fell deep in debt. It was an extremely stressful time. With the economy my husband has also had some struggles. He is a superintendent for a commercial construction company that is family owned, and that area of work has taken some huge hits. Thank the Almighty he is still working though.
So through the struggles I have searched for ways to cope. Thanks to blogs and Pinterest, I have take a great interest in Art Journaling, which I absolutely LOVE. Now as I have written in previous posts I am not naturally inclined in the area of Art. I have always been a crafter of sorts, but not Art. So it is a challenge learning to draw and color and shade, etc. 
Another challenge for me is the whole blogging thing. Now I can type (looking at the keyboard of course), I can cut and paste, I have even figured out how to add simple html. I can't create html or even follow complicated html with step by step directions. I have been trying for almost a year to do a drop down bar on my blog, and I am still unable to figure it out. I will continue to persevere and eventually I will get it. ( Or pay someone to do it for me)
That is why I love discovering new bogs like Ms Denyse's. There is always something new to learn. "My Crazy Beautiful Life" blog is actually really cool. She does lots of link ups so that it allows you to discover and follow new blogs, but also for those same people to follow your own blog. Which is also something I have been working on for the last year, to grow my blog. 
so if you are looking to find new followers, and discover some new blogs please stop by Denyse's blog and check out some of her Link-Up's @ If you do stop by please leave  her a comment letting her kow you linked from my blog.
I would love to know how the Internet has affected your lifestyle, what kind of impact has the Internet had on your life. I'd also love it if you would start following my blog. I will return the favor and follow your blog back.
I have a great admiration for bloggers who design their own blogs, that find a way to not only post a blog entry everyday, but manage to keep their blogs interesting, and their content fresh.
I have also learned a great deal about homeschooling, how to schedule our day so that we cover the appropriate material. My daughter and I have researched endless curriculum's and found some great blogs that help support the curriculum style we chose. (which is for another entry)
The point is thanks to our wonderful world of technology, we are able to enhance our lives with the help of others because they choose to share themselves, their knowledge and or education with the rest of us through blogs and other social media websites. That is how I am able to bore you all with my dribble…. ;)
Well that is all for now. I have a few other entries in the works for you. I am working on an entry about my purchase of a Gelli Arts Mono Printing Gel plate. Man is that thing fun. I can't wait to share that with you all. I am also working on some entries in regards to our homeschooling, as we have just made some changes to our curriculum, and we just finished our testing and are awaiting results which I will share with you. 
Lastly, Gidget has some Irish Dance (competitions) Feis's coming up. So I will have that to share. What do you all have to share??? I'd love to hear what you all have going on.
Please feel free to comment and share, as they say…."Inquiring Minds Wanna Know"!!!!
Hoping you are all well. (((((HUGS)))))

God Bless, 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Lots To Say


Lots to say today. First today my oldest daughter and my 1st born is 26 today. I almost want to choke when I say that number. It just doesn't seem possible it has been 26 years since I had my 1st child. Funny how my kids are all getting older and growing up, but I still feel mentally like I am as young now as when I got married, but my body feels as though it is 90 yrs old some days. Today though is a good day, today is a day for celebration…. So HAPPY BIRTHDAY my dear dear Kady Rose. 
Also Bridget and I finished our sketchbooks for "The Sketchbook Project". That has been a lot of fun for both of us. I joined for myself as a way of forcing myself to continue to learn how to create, draw and learn how to Art Journal, and create mixed media art. I signed Bridget up about a month afterward as a part of her homeschooling. Bridget can look at a picture of a horse and draw it, or a dress she likes, so I thought she could continue to grow her sketching skills by doing The Sketcbook Project. Much to my surprise, she took her book in a completely different direction. It was hers to create in, so I let her do what she wanted with it. 
My book deffinitely helped me to continue to learn and grow as an Artist. Not that I would classify myself as such, but I did learn many new techniques. I definitely have a tremedous love for Art and want to continue growing and learning. I will definitely join again for this year as well. That way I can watch my skills grow over the next few years. Itook pictures to share. I also wrote a poem for my sketchbook on what Art means to me. It is on the 1st page of my sketchbook, but I will write out for you to all read. I used to writ a lot of poetry when I was younger, and got away from it. Needless to say i enjoyed writing this one. Here is goes:

As I sit and try,
to find the Artist within,
I have no idea where to start
how to begin,
as I ponder
on how I am to be,
I feel at a loss for this
doesn't feel like me,
My desire to create, draw,
and paint is more powerful
than Ione can believe,
I am working hard
tearing down walls,
digging deep for the emotion to create
As I sit and try to 
find the Artist deep within
raw, naked, ready to go,
to start and begin no longer
left to ponder
Who is this Artist within??
- Kimberly Hogan
So there it is, my poem on finding my artist within. Slowly I am finding out who that is, but I still have a long road until I reach my destination.
Here is the photos of mine & Bridget's sketchbooks, mine first.
Inside cover and 1st page with my poem
Mixed Media Collage

my poem

Layers of paints

Mixed media piece

Print transfer with watercolor. Also you can see the string from where I rebound the book

The last page and back cover, made to look like one work of art


Mixed media collage. The quote is one of mine, it says;
"Sometimes life turns you upside down and carried you away and takes you to places unknown…
….Enjoy the ride for it may take you to your DESITNY!!!" -Kimmie Hogan

Mied media using watercolor pencils and a stencil

Bridget's Sketchbook

Mixed media usind Watercolor Crayons

The Cover

1st page

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This is one of Bridget's Favorite pages

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I hope you have enjoyed our Sketchbooks. We definitely had fun creating them. I look forward to sharing more of our art throughout the year.
Hoping this finds you all well.
Many Blessing,

Thursday, January 10, 2013



Happy New Year to all. I hope you have recovered from your holiday season. I had a "PLAGUE" that had taken residence in my house. Everyone is finally back on the mend.
My Older kids start their college classes back in a few weeks, my 10th grader has returned to public school, and my 7th grader is back in full swing with her homeschooloing studies.
Now we have only been at this a little bit over a year. Last year was the "DE" Schooling phase. We covered the main things such as the 3 "R"'s so to speak and experimented with various curriculum, curriculum styles, it is like finding=ng your way in the dark.
We started using this year. It is a scope and sequence that follows a Catholic Curriculum, using Charlotte Mason style methods.
My dd finds the book work very very boring. So we are changing things up again. I love the CM style methods, so we are doing Unit Studies using, to create our own curriculum for the rest of the year. We will are using Teaching Textbooks Pre-Algebra for Math, Worldly Wise3000 for Vocab, and designing the rest as we go. We do have our Catholic based books, History, English, Spelling, etc to use as a guide to build our own studies.
My Daughter really really wants to start Tapestry of Grace next year and through High School. So I am really considering it.
I follow a few really great homeschool blogs that have loads of great freebies, printables, or curriculum help that support our style of homeschooling.
So for that FREEBIE. Here is a link good until 01/11/13 until 11:59 pm. 

2), 3) 4)
5) 6)

This link will bring you to a whole homeschool planner, for moms and students. They have color choices, a variety of calendars, transcripts, report cards, etc. If you are the mom who is very much into organization, this is for you. 
Now for me, it will hopefully allow me to be more organized. The offer on the 1st link  expires on 01/11/13 @ 11:59 pm, so pass this link along to your friends. Definitely worth a look.
I hope you find something you can use, or pass along to someone who can. This site also has loads of great printables for unit studies, and curriculum supplements.
Have fun checking out these resources. I'd love if you choose to get any of their planners to link it back to here. I would be most grateful. Enjoy the links.

God Bless,

Monday, December 31, 2012

Teaching the old ways


Well today was a day of teaching my oldest daugter the old traditions and ways I was tought to cook by my Italian grandmothers and aunts. I taught her to make Braciole, which is a stuffed meat roll braised in a tomatoe based sauce.
Now the recipe is not really complicated, but is time consuming and really a 2-3 man job. I madke this on a rare occassion due to the time it takes. I usually make it alone, but with my daughters help we had it prepared and in the oven in 1 1/2 hrs, where it spends anothe 2-3 hours braising in the oven to make a very tender meat. I have enclosed pictures, and will provide my recipe. If you would like help with any of the steps feeel free to email me. I promise if you are feeling adventerous, this recipe is well worth it.
1-2 lbs of round roast,(I have the buthcher slice it into 1/2"slices)
1 loaf day old It. bread cut or gound into a med course consistancy
1/2 c chopped fine fresh parsley
2-3cloves of chopped garlic
1/2 c ex. virgin olive oil
3/4 c grated Parm-Reggiano cheese
course salt & Pepper
-Pound out sliced meat into 1/8" thick slice(large enough to cut into 2 pieces, continue until all pieces are pounded
-Grind bread, add parsley, olive oil, cheese stir well
Brush meat with olive oil, season with salt & pepper, cover with bread mix and pat flat.
Roll into rolls and secure with toothpicks or butchers twine. Brown in olive oil, place in a large pan that is oven safe.
-3- 28-35 oz Cans Quality Crushed Tomatoes
- 4 tbsp Tomato paste
-1 Med- Large sweet onion chopped
-2-3 cloves garlic chopped
1/2-3/4 c Olive oil
-1 cup Red Wine
1/4- 1/2 cup white sugar
In sauce pan saute onions, and garlic 1 minute, add Crushed Tomatoes, Tom. paste, Parsley, wine, sugar. Simmer for about 30 min.
Add to pan with meat rolls, cover with sauce, cook at 350 for 2- 3 hours depending on size of pan. I usually make 20-40 rolls and let it cook a min of 2 hours.

 Now I know this sounds like it is complicated, but I promise it is more time consuming. But the end results are worth every minute of it. Serve with Pasta of choice. You can also add or eliminate ingredients to taste.
 It took my daughter an 1 and half hours from start to finish. We had fun, and I shared memories of cooking large pans of thos for our family's restaurant. There would be 5-6 of us preparing hundreds of these little rolls for our menu. They are very fond memories of a time of great tradition in my life. A way of life I miss and feels has been buried with my elders. The smells drew everyone into the kitchen last night as we cooked. The way it would when I was little. Funny how a smell can bring you bck to a time happiest in your ife, a time you felt like all wa sirght in the world and things would be that way forever. I miss those days. Growing up  in an old fashioned Italian family, a family owned & runned restaurant, with all the ways of the old country, but with the new country mixed in. Memories I will cherish a life time. I did the best with the pics, I also forgot to get one when they came from the oven, but no one gave me a chance, the devoured them.

God Bless,

Place slice between plastic wrap

Pound out thin without tearing meat. I like to use my wooden rolling p 

Meat pounded, cut into 2 pieces and being seasoned with O. Oil, S&P
Browning pieces in olive oil
With Breading prior to rolling

Sauce simmering

securing with toothpicks

Grinding bread, also used for garic and parsley

All the pieces in oven raedy roaster

Covered in sauce and ready for the oven

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Feeling a bit Slack and disconnected


I'm feeling a bit slack and lazy, I feel like every ounce of energy has been drained from body. It hurts to move today. I cooked nothing, though I had plans for a great Italian meal. I planned on Braciole and Mannicotti. Homemade of course. These are 2 very wonderful but very time consuming Italian dishes.
I learned how to make these a kid from my Italian grandmothers and aunts. I learned it all by site and taste too. I'll enclose some pics or video of my preparing, and would be happy to share my recipes, I just won't have measurements for you.
I actually have recipes written by grandma to me when I got married, she had all the ingredients, and directions, just no measurements. I was to know based on what she taught me, and her grams taught her and so on. But by teaching me to cook the way she did, I can actually go to a restaurant and duplicate most recipes at home. Which works out well for the hubby when he finds a dish he likes. I wish I could draw like I cook. Before my back revolted on me, I had always wanted to Cater. I can barely cook for my family these days.
I miss my grandmother something awful. I know she watches over me. I wish I could have learned more from her, but when your a kid you don't realize how important those traditions are.
I am working on trying to pass on to my kids the old ways passed on to me. I talk to my kids about the old ways and traditions from my childhood. I miss the way things were when I was a kid.
So now I take the old mix it in with new, and I am making the act of having TRADITION important to my kids. That having tradition is what keeps our family legacy alive. So they will cook with me, and it will be a teaching & learning experience. It will also be one of those memories they will carry with them like I do from my childhood.
Also with tradition comes family and friends. Those who make our lives happy, you bring laughter and joy. So those are the pictures I chose to share, the ones were family and friends prevail, and become a part of our tales and traditions.
Until tomorrow....
God Bless,

My Son Warming me up, I was freezing cold.

Gidget & Her childhood friend Kaitlyn loving on our dog who is 18 and is at the end

Jacob with Adella a.k.a Delly

A portion of the Hogan Clan taking Vigil at the Hospital when my Brother in law had a near fatal stroke

Me & The Gidget on our Travels

One of the Boxer dogs had the "GAS", enough to peel paint from the walls

Showing off our: Colella" Hats.The name of my sister Kris's business, our Maiden Name

Our Charlie Brown tree sporting some traditional Christmas Cookies made by my Mom and sister Kari

A family outing, my granddaughter Kaya showing her warm and fuzzy side...NOT!!!

Gidget, Amelia, & Selene; her "sisters" from dance, building their own friendships and traditions.

Mikayala, Gidget & Selene showing support at a Feis. Don't they look just GORGEOUS!!!
We as adults could learn what perseverance and hard work is from these girls.