Polka Dot Mitten

As some of you may have heard, we are dealing with a little bit of a bump in the road around here. My little brother underwent unexpected open heart surgery yesterday. Kyle is doing well today, and though he has a long road to recovery, he is the strongest champ I know and I have no doubt he will be back at it in no time! 

While he was in surgery, we found out that my mother’s dear friend, and my Polka Dot Mitten rep, Susan Ross, passed away from a heart attack. I really owe the entire existence of Polka Dot Mitten to Sue. Without her, it would not have been possible to be where we are today. Sue was such a wonderful person. She was more generous than you can even believe and she will be sadly missed by more people than you can even count.

I debated whether or not this was something I should even blog about.  But I think writing about it helps me feel a little better.  

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Quick Dinner Recipe – “Taco Lasagna”

My kids love tacos.  So we came up with a new creative way to serve them… We call it “taco lasagna.”

It’s so simple to make.  Brown 1 lb. extra lean ground turkey, drain.  Add one packet of taco seasoning, 1/3 cup water, one 14 oz can of kidney beans and one 14 oz can of Mexican diced tomatoes (drained).


Let that simmer while you cut 6 fajita-sized soft tortillas in half.  Arrange four of the halves in the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish so they cover the entire bottom:


Then add a layer of the meat mixture:


Top with cheese:


Layer and repeat until all of your ingredients are used up.

Bake at 400 degrees until hot all the way through and cheese is melted. (Usually about 15 minutes).

taco lasagna



Taco Lasagna (Makes 8 servings):

1 lb. extra lean ground turkey

1 packet taco seasoning

1 14-oz can kidney beans

1 14-oz can Mexican style diced tomatoes

1/3 cup water

1 8-oz package 2% shredded cheddar cheese

6 soft fajita-size tortilla shells

Preheat oven to 400.  Brown ground turkey, drain.  Add taco seasoning packet, water, beans and tomatoes. Simmer.  Meanwhile, cut tortillas in half.  Cover the bottom of a 9×13″ baking dish with four halves.  Spoon meat mixture on top, sprinkle with cheese.  Repeat layers until all ingredients are used.  Bake at 400* for approximately 20 minutes, let sit for 5 minutes before serving.


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Best. State. Ever.

Best. State. Ever.

I’ve been working all week on new designs for 2014… the catalog is coming along. Here’s a new one that’s available for all 50 states!

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A Thought for the End of the Year

A Thought for the End of the Year

It’s always a good idea to dream a size too big… You’ll eventually grow into it.

Brand new art print on wood available at shopwhatitis.com; and coming soon to more shops in 2014!

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Yesterday was the last day for It Is What It Is until February.  I love my shop, but I’m so ready for a break.  Although I still have custom orders to fulfill, it’s just so nice to have a break from one job and slow down for a little while.  I’m really looking forward to creating new designs, going to Chicago to the gift show, and totally re-doing my catalog for Spring.  Here is a sneak peek of that work in progress:


I’m working on lots of new designs for 2014, too!  I have so many ideas, and now I have all kinds of time to bring them to life!!  Polka Dot Mitten gave me some new art supplies for Christmas, so I am all set to settle in for the winter and create! Here’s a very rough draft of one of my new ones.  It still needs a little tweaking.  I (of course) started with Michigan (and it’s filled with polka dots), but all 50 states will be available:

New Sign from Polka Dot Mitten


Another thing that will be new for 2014 is my new blog!  My friend Brooke DeBoer of Shining Light Marketing has been working hard on creating a new blog for me that’s more my style! I have designed most of the graphics for it, and she is putting it all together for me.  It will be polkadotmitten.com.  As soon as it’s finished, I’ll post all about it!

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Christmas Home Tour

I was a little late getting my Christmas decorations out this year.  Usually, I like to have the house decorated by the first weekend in December so we can enjoy it for the whole month.  This year, I had such a mess going on that I didn’t feel like adding to it right away.  We put the tree up and decorated it, but that was about it.  Last weekend, we decided to have some friends over one night to play Apples to Apples (a spur of the moment decision), so I quickly whipped the house into shape and finished my decorating before they came over!  I always get the best cleaning done before someone comes over!


IMG_0241 IMG_0226My great grandma’s musical cardinal
IMG_0222 photoHere is a recipe I tried last night for Saltine Cracker Toffee.  It is AMAZING. Perfect blend of salty and sweet.    http://www.iheartnaptime.net/saltine-cracker-toffee/ It really only took 15 minutes.  All you need is 2 sticks of butter, 1 cup of brown sugar and 50 saltine crackers.  Simple!

blog crackers

I probably won’t blog again until after Christmas… so Merry Christmas! 🙂



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Winter Wonderland




West Michigan is a winter wonderland today!  


Here are a few pictures of Wade’s Bayou in Douglas:ImageImageImage

And the view out our front windows at home:



And our back yard:


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