A Creative Way to Use Your Crock Pot!


What is a crock pot idea doing in a handmade cards blog? Well, my blog is about all things creative! This post just happens to fall under the ‘…and a little bit more!’ category. :)

I have been updating all my links on past posts (a necessary task), when I came across this post that was originally seen on my old blog in 2012. Since the cooler weather is going to arrive, hopefully, I thought this would be a good time to revive this post. Since some of my blogging friends’ children have left their nest, I think this idea could be helpful in preparing smaller meals.

OK. On with the post…..

Since it has been so cold these past several days, I thought I would share this post about using a large crock pot.

My husband and I have recently become members of the ‘Empty Nest’ community. While our two sons were living at home, many meals were prepared using my large crock pot. Those of you that have raised teenage boys know what I am talking about when I say you need large pans, skillets, and crock pots when you are feeding these fellas! Big appetites… that never seem to be satisfied!

Well, now that they have flown away, I still enjoy preparing crock pot meals for me and my husband. When I took this out of my cupboard, I looked at it and thought about how much food it would hold. No way was I going to put a couple of pieces of chicken in this large dish and have it cook to my satisfaction….it was just too big!

crock pot, using larger crock pots, creative use of crock pot,

My large crock pot is
too big for smaller

I put my chicken into a smaller casserole dish and thought I would just bake it in the oven, when it occurred to me that I could set it inside the crock pot and cook it there! I would have the wonderful aromas of my chicken filling my kitchen and have an easy dinner prepared! (I did have a plan B…if this idea didn’t work, I could have my husband take me out for dinner!)

making a smaller crock pot, ideas for empty nesters, crock pot ideas

A smaller casserole dish
fits inside my large crock pot
for smaller meals!

Well, it did work! It took a little less time to cook, naturally since there were only three pieces of chicken in it instead of twelve! I did put the lid on the smaller casserole dish and the regular crock pot lid. Now I am able to still enjoy the convenience of using my crock pot for smaller meals.

I remembered I also had this oval casserole dish, which is a perfect fit since my crock pot is also oval. When the meal is cooked, simply wipe out the larger dish and you are all set for the next meal you prepare! One smaller dish to wash is much better…and it fits in my dishwasher!

My oval casserole dish is a perfect fit inside my larger crock pot!

My oval casserole dish
is a perfect fit inside my
larger crock pot!

This method allows me to still use my large crock pot and not have to purchase a smaller one! I still use it to make some foods that I am able to put into smaller portions and freeze for easy dinners later. It is also nice to keep around so I can make meals for my sons when they come for visits!

I hope this idea helps you with preparing smaller meals. I would love to hear your comments on what you have cooked using this idea or what ideas you have come up with to prepare smaller meals! Feel free to share some recipes too!

Thanks for stopping by!


Once you have your meal cooking in your crock pot, why not take a peek at HorseMark Cards! :)

Follow Up to ‘The Love of Communication’


This was originally posted in 2012, and it explains why I feel so strongly about keeping in touch with the people we care about. Especially the people we don’t get to see very often. There is a follow-up note at the bottom of this post that is so important and really touched me. Whether it is a phone call, a card or letter, or in today’s world, a text or e-mail, please keep in touch with the people you care about.

My dear great-aunt Jessie recently passed away one month after she turned 99. She lived a full life and I will miss her. Here is the original post I wrote about her:

She was born in 1916. She still lives alone and, up until five years ago, put more miles on her little pickup truck than a big rig rolling along the highways across the USA. She can talk about most anything and is still as sharp as they come! Her address book has more phone numbers and addresses than a small town directory. The minute she heard that someone was ill or in a hospital, she was on her way to help or visit with them.

Now, she calls them. (Arthritis keeps her from writing.) She is so grateful to have the telephone so she can keep in touch with so many people. She called me a couple of weeks ago, said she couldn’t talk long, but wanted to see how my family and I were doing. Of course I was busy, but just hearing her voice I soon forgot what I was doing and enjoyed our conversation. After ‘catching up’ for a few minutes, she said she needed to make some more calls. She realizes how important it is to stay in touch with the people she cares about. She has done this her whole life. Perhaps that may be why she is still a vibrant 96 year -old!

She loves the phone, and remembers to use it for the very best reason…to let someone know she is thinking about them. Thank you Aunt Jessie.

Card sent to Aunt Jessie

Follow up note…

Several days later, I sent this card to my Aunt, just to let her know I appreciated her call and to let her know I was thinking of her. Once again she called me to say ‘thank you’. But this time she had something special to tell me. She had gone to a funeral that morning for a woman she knew since childhood and of course, came home feeling a bit sad. It so happened this was the day my card arrived. She told me it really lifted her spirits when she found it in the mailbox and was so touched when she opened it and read it.

I hung up from her call with a much stronger feeling and commitment to keep in touch with the special people in my life. I think it would be nice if everyone did the same. It’s the right thing to do.

Thank your for reading my blog. ~ Vickie

Update, 2014: My aunt loved flowers in her garden and was such a fun lady. She was so proud to sit on her friend’s motorcycle.

98 year old aunt on motorcycle, in garden

RIP Aunt Jessie

A ‘Thank You’ Give – Away!


Hello! I hope you are having a wonderful week. Today’s post is a special one!

Several of the bloggers I follow and read have given away free crafts they created or items they received from sponsors. My hesitation in doing the same has been a personal one, however I am so ready to change that!

Many of my followers have been with me for a long time, and new readers have been generous with their comments and sharing posts on my blog and Facebook pages.

I would love to give away four cards as a ‘Thank You’ for supporting my efforts. I have chosen a three cards that I hope you will like. In addition, the lucky winner will be able to have a custom card created for them! :)

horsemark cards with horses, seahorses, birthday cards, get well card, thank you card

The theme of this give-away is centered around ‘Horses’, of course!

If you would like to participate in my ‘Thank You’ give-away for a chance to receive these cards, simply leave a comment or ‘Like’ on this blog post or my Facebook page.. I will randomly select a winner on September 10, 2015.

Once again, I would like to thank all my followers and readers that visit and comment on my blog. Your support is so appreciated!

Enjoy your creative day!

Thank You! ~ Vickie

Thank You for your Hospitality!


It has been a very busy summer and I hope all of you have enjoyed being with your children, family, and friends! I know many of you have taken vacations and some have had fun events to attend!

I recently returned from a visit with my aunt and my cousin in the beautiful state of Oregon. My first day there was a bit smokey, due to the wildfires in Oregon and northern California. (So sad to see so many acres of land, and in some cases homes, destroyed. A huge Thank You to the many firefighters battling all the fires.)

Once the smoke cleared a bit, I was able to enjoy visiting with my aunt and cousin. She has lived in the same house for 54 years and it still looks as though she purchased it yesterday! Beautiful trees and wildlife surround her home, and deer come to sit on her lawn most every evening! Since she is a quiet person, the deer are not afraid of her (or me!) and they came within ten feet of us! It is amazing to see these wonderful creatures up close. They do nibble on some of her flowers and steal apples and plums from her trees, but she realizes they need to survive too! I took a picture of them one evening and the flash automatically went off and scared them, so unfortunately I have no pictures to share. :( They did return the next evening, and I kept my camera away from them. :)

When I returned home, of course I knew I was going to send her a thank you card to express my appreciation for her hospitality. I had intended on creating a card just for her, when I realized I already had the perfect card I created a few weeks ago! I love the doghouse die from Di-namics and the ‘grass’ I used for this card. (Do you see what’s buried in the grass?)

thank you card, card with dog in doghouse, card with bird, card with dog and bone, card with clouds, horsemark cards

It was the perfect card for her since she had been sitting with a cute little dog for a few months. Her neighbor would drop off Daisy in the mornings and pick her up on his way home from work. It is the perfect set up for everyone! My aunt enjoys having little Daisy around during the day and of course Daisy loves my aunt giving her plenty of attention and extra belly rubs throughout the day! She is very fond of my cousin too, who also spoils her! I have to include a picture of this adorable little pooch! She helped me with my ‘doggy fix’, since I left my two pooches, Comet and Robbie, at home with my husband.

Daisy, a cute dog with a wonderful personality

It was so nice to travel to Oregon for this special visit. I hope you are able to visit with special people in your lives and enjoy their company. It’s so important to keep connections with family and friends! Remember to send thank you cards too!

Thank you for visiting today! Enjoy your creative days! ~~ Vickie

Creating Seahorses and Seashells Greeting Cards!


When I first purchased my Cuttlebug die cutting and embossing machine many, many moons ago, I couldn’t wait to try all the new dies that were available for my new toy. One of the first theme sets I purchased were these two ‘under the sea’ dies.

horsemark cards, cuttlebug dies

I have used these for a few projects over the years, but they eventually found their place in the back of my die cut storage bin. When I found this pretty paper from SEI, I decided to take these lost dies and put them to use.

craft papers of seashells, horsemark cards, glittery papers

My Cuttlebug makes all sorts of grunting noises and the handle comes off if I don’t hold it just right when I’m using it. So, last year I decided it was time to upgrade to a Big Shot. Luckily, I am still able to use all of the Cuttlebug dies and embossing folders I had accumulated.

My old under the sea die cuts were used to create a birthday card for someone special that happens to live on a beach. How perfect is this?

birthday card with seahorse, seashells, beach themed cards, horsemark cards

Well, once I finished this card, I loved it so much that I had to make another one. This time I changed it and created a thank you card.

thank you card with seahorse, horsemark cards, card with seashells

I love the sparkly papers and enjoyed creating these two cards. I will be making more of these for sure. It was also nice to use some older products that had been forgotten for a bit.

Do you have any older products that need to be brought back to life? I’m sure you can come up with some creative ways to use them!

Enjoy your creative day! Thank you so much for your support of HorseMark Cards and my little blogging corner. I really appreciate you all!

~ Vickie

This post was shared on Inspiration Monday. Check out this blog for creative ideas!