10 Reasons to Make a Mini Album

The fun thing about mini albums (besides the fact that they are mini!) is that they’re so versatile—you can tackle all different sizes of jobs with them! Today, we want to share with you 10 reasons to make a mini album that maybe you haven’t thought of before.

1. Thank a Hostess

10 reasons to make a mini album! #ctmh #closetomyheart #miniscrapbook #miniphotoalbum #minialbum #crafting #scrapbooking #diyphotobook

After someone throws you a party, a shower, or invites you over for dinner, create a mini album with pictures of the event and give it to the hostess as a unique thank you gift.

2. Watch Your Love Grow

Put your wedding picture in the front of a mini album. Then, snap a photo each anniversary and add it to your mini album. Years down the road, you’ll be able to see how much you both change with each year of renewed love and commitment.

3. Entertain Your Kiddos

10 reasons to make a mini album! #ctmh #closetomyheart #miniscrapbook #miniphotoalbum #minialbum #crafting #scrapbooking #diyphotobook

Have young children or grandchildren? Create an interactive “Quiet Book” for them to play with when you’re at the doctor’s office, at church, or anywhere else where they need to be quiet. Our hook & look dots, which feature Velcro-like material, are perfect for creating shapes that can be removed and attached.

4. Give Some Lovin’ to Your Pet

Create a mini album to celebrate your furry friends (and other pets!). You’ll love looking back on the many memories your pets have shared with your family.

5. Create a Personalized Recipe Book

10 reasons to make a mini album! #ctmh #closetomyheart #miniscrapbook #miniphotoalbum #minialbum #crafting #scrapbooking #diyphotobook

You make homemade food—so why not make a homemade recipe book? Use our Cricut® Artbooking collection to create tabbed dividers. This would be a fun gift for a bridal shower, high school graduation, or for sharing family favorites with neighbors and friends.

6. Get Inspired

Create a mini album filled with things that inspire you: pictures of beautiful places, your favorite patterns, inspiring quotes, photos of loved ones, dried flowers, etc. Use it for creative inspiration or simply for relaxing when you’re stressed.

7. Remember a Loved One

10 reasons to make a mini album! #ctmh #closetomyheart #miniscrapbook #miniphotoalbum #minialbum #crafting #scrapbooking #diyphotobook

Create a memory book to honor a loved one who has passed away. In addition to the peace this album can bring, it will also help your children and grandchildren get to know their family members who passed away before they were old enough to remember.

8. Thank a Teacher or Coach

Create an end of year album with pictures from class activities, recitals, or games from the past year. Give it as a gift to those who mentor your children or grandchildren.

9. Capture Kids’ Silly Phases

10 reasons to make a mini album! #ctmh #closetomyheart #miniscrapbook #miniphotoalbum #minialbum #crafting #scrapbooking #diyphotobook

When it comes to scrapbooking, it’s easy to focus on events—we went here and did this. Some of the things you don’t want to forget though are the quirky phases your kids or grandkids go through, like the phase when they insist on wearing their Spiderman costume everyday! Create a book dedicated to capturing what makes them unique each year of their lives, such as their height, likes, dislikes, words they mispronounce, interests, and other silly quirks.

10. Help Your College Student Remember Home

Create a mini album filled with pictures of family, pets, and your home for your college students to take with them to school. That way, they never really leave their family behind!

Which mini album do you want to create? Tell us in the comments below!

Also, most of the mini albums pictured in today’s post are available at a discount though our Flash Sale! Head on over to your Consultant’s online business address (OBA)! The discount is only good until 3:00 pm today or while supplies last!

CC1136 My Creations™ Mini Album Bundle
CC1129 Mini Book Bundle (2-pack)

Thank a Hostess Mini Album
CC1136 My Creations™ Mini Album Bundle, C1625 My Acrylix® A Thousand Thanks, X7210B Calypso Paper Packet, Z3076 Gold Glitter Paper, X5760 Cotton Candy Cardstock, X5773 Pixie Cardstock, 1385 White Daisy Cardstock, 44751 Archival Black Exclusive Inks™ Stamp Pad, Z891 VersaMark™ Ink Pad, Z2068 Ranger™ White Super Fine Embossing Powder, Z1956 Hip Pics Album, Z2013 Sequins Silver Assortment, Cricut® Artistry Collection

Cricut® Shapes*:
2 ½” and 2 ¼” Icon-1 <Travel> (p. 30)

Quiet Book
CC1136 My Creations™ Mini Album Bundle, X5929 Whisper Cardstock, 1386 Black Cardstock, X5762 Lagoon Cardstock, X5758 Sunset Cardstock, X5764 Pear Cardstock, X5668 Honey Cardstock, X5779 Poppy Cardstock, X5757 Gypsy Cardstock, X5773 Pixie Cardstock, 1385 White Daisy Cardstock, Z3086 Aqua Shimmer Trim, Z3087 Green Shimmer Trim, Z1985 Gold Shimmer Trim, Z1848 Red Shimmer Trim, Z3088 Coral Shimmer Trim, Z1919 Purple Shimmer Trim, Z1986 Pink Shimmer Trim, Z1809 Black Shimmer Trim, Z1805 Hook & Loop Dots, Z1979 Marvy® Uchida® LePen™ Journaling Pen, Z3171 Cricut® Art Philosophy Collection, Z3167 Cricut® Artistry Collection, Z3170 Cricut® Artiste Collection

Cricut® Shapes*:
Art Philosophy
1″ Shift <Font> “ MY QUIET BOOK”
¾” <Banner4> (p. 49)
¾” <Circle1> (p. 21)
¾” <Oval2> (p. 32)
¾” <Heart1> (p. 26)
¾” <Star5> (p. 40)
¾” square

¾” Shape <6> (p. 6)
¾” Icon-2 <o> (p. 19)
¾” Shape <p> (p. 20)
2″ Icon-1 <d> (p. 23)
1 ½” Shift+ Icon-1 <D> (p. 23)
¾” Shape <Winter> (p. 49)
1″ Shift<Font> “RED”

Recipe Book
B1484 My Acrylix® Jennifer’s Hand, D1689 My Acrylix® Firework Fun, X7210B Calypso Paper Packet, X7209B Magical Paper Packet, X7208B Florence Paper Packet, 1385 White Daisy Cardstock, 1386 Black Cardstock, 1301 Bamboo Cardstock, Z1375 Kraft Cardstock, Z2105 Black Exclusive Inks™ Stamp Pad, Z2116 Cranberry Exclusive Inks™ Stamp Pad, Z2103 Bamboo Exclusive Inks™ Stamp Pad, Z3215 Calypso Sequins, Z3104 Black Fundamental Assortment, Z3101 Cranberry Fundamental Assortment, Z1871 My Creations™ Kraft 3-Ring Album, Z1979 Marvy® Uchida® LePen™ Journaling Pen, Z3169 Cricut® Artbooking Collection, Z3167 Cricut® Artistry Collection, Z3170 Cricut® Artiste Collection

Cricut® Shapes*:
8″ Photo Mat 1 <7> (p. 44)
8″ Shift+Photo Mat 1 <&> (p. 44)
8″ Photo Mat 1 <8> (p. 45)
8″ Photo Mat 1 <1> (p. 38)
8″ Shift+Photo Mat 1 <@> (p. 39)

1 ¾” Shift <Font> “R”
1 ¾” <font> “ecipes”
1″ Icon-1 <b> (p. 35)

½” Shift <Font> “A, S, M, D, B, C”
½” <font> “ain ishes, alads, reads, ookies, oup, ppetizers, essert”

Memory Book
CC1129 Mini Book Bundle (2-pack), E1029 My Acrylix® Marquee Uppercase Alphabet, X7208B Florence Paper Packet, X5770 Glacier Cardstock, Z3076 Gold Glitter Paper, Z2105 Black Exclusive Inks™ Stamp Pad, X7208C Florence Complements, Z4014 White Twine, Z2012 Sequins Gold Assortment, Z1263 Bitty Sparkles, Z3162 Base & Bling Rhinestones—Faux Gold

Silly Phases Mini Album
CC1129 Mini Book Bundle (2-pack), D1686 My Acrylix® Noted, X7209B Magical Paper Packet, 1385 White Daisy Cardstock, 44751 Archival Black Exclusive Inks™ Stamp pad, Z3217 Picture My Life™ Watercolor Cards—Gold, Z3221 Picture My Life™ Watercolor Cards—Clear, Z3132 Watercolor Paints, Z3188 Paintbrush Set, Z2012 Sequins Gold Assortment, Z1979 Marvy® Uchida® LePen™ Journaling Pen, Z1797 Chalk Marker, Z3167 Cricut® Artistry Collection

Cricut® Shapes*:
1 ¼” Shape <v> (p. 34)
¾” Banner <NewYears> (p. 50)
1 ½” Shift <Font> “H, N”
1 ½” <font> “ere, ow”
(text created in Cricut Design Space™ and welded)

All these products are available through one of our Independent Consultants. To find a Consultant near you, visit closetomyheart.com and click on “Find a Consultant” in the top right corner of the page.

*Real Dial Size
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Grandma’s Old-Fashioned Dry Dressing

Looking for a new dish to add to your Christmas feast? How about something time-tested? The recipe we’re about to share is definitely that (a hundred years, at least), but you can be sure nothing about it has gone out of style. It’s an oldie, but the Close To My Heart employee who shared it guarantees that her great grandmother’s recipe has yet to disappoint.

Cooks young and old, we bring to you Grandma’s Old-Fashioned Dry Dressing! Savory and crumbly in the most delicious way, this dish will have everyone coming back for more. Good thing it’s so easy to make!

Dry dressing

Adjust the following ingredients to meet your family’s needs, but don’t skimp on your favorites. 🙂

1. Two days before your feast, spread out slices of 1 loaf white bread on baking sheets to dry in the open air.   2. When you’re ready to prepare your meal, break bread slices into bite-sized pieces. (They don’t have to be completely dry to still be delicious!) Place them in a 3-quart baking dish.   3. Chop an onion into bite-sized pieces and mix in with bread.   4. Sprinkle rubbed sage into mixture to taste.   5. Melt a cube of butter and drizzle over mixture. (It’s up to you how much butter you use, but keep in mind that the butter will help cook your onions and lends a lot of flavor to your dressing.)   6. Cover dish and bake at 350° for approximately 45 minutes to thoroughly cook your onions and to produce a steaming final product. If you prefer crunchy onions, remove dish from oven sooner. *Note: Shallower dishes will require less baking time.

If you have extra stuffing mixture that won’t fit in your baking dish, store it in the fridge and bake it to eat with your other leftovers the next day. There aren’t usually leftovers of this dish once the feast is over, so you’ll be glad to have such a treat.

We hope you enjoy this old-fashioned addition to your feast. Happy Holidays!

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What’s Old Is New

Here’s the dish: We know you’ve loved all the great recipes that Jeanette has shared on her blog over the past several years, so we’re calling in the order: Jeanette’s delicious dishes, coming your way! We’re taking some of her classic recipes, giving them a refresh, and then reposting them here. Prepare yourselves for the scrumptiousness.

While we’re at it, we’re also bringing over a few other must-haves, including Level 2 artwork. Are there any other favorite posts from Jeanette’s blog you’re just dying to see here? Let us know by leaving a comment below.

Bon appétit!

Glorious Salad Days

As most of you know, over the past year or so, I’ve really been focusing on my health. Everything from sleep to movement to nutrition has become a top priority as I’ve tried to make my long-term health a top priority. As a result, I’m feeling great and have lost weight, too. I’ve shared a little bit here and there about “how I do it,” and I wanted to share a few of my favorite eats: SALADS! Honestly, I’ve never been a person who loves salads. They were always something I’d skip on a menu. What changed? Easy—my mindset.

These days, I really listen to my body. I eat when I’m hungry and I stop when I’m full (not stuffed). I eat to live, instead of living to eat, and as such I really do regard food as fuel and I want the very best in my body. And that means plenty of vegetables daily, plus some fruits, limited carbohydrates (mostly in the mornings), and the right kinds of protein. With that balance in mind, I knew I needed to be open minded to salads—they just provide a great balance of vegetables and proteins, with just the right kick of fruit and fats to be palatable, and they honestly keep me sated all day when I have one for lunch.

Over the next few weeks, I’d love to share my favorite salads with you. In addition to being super healthy, they’re also super easy! I almost always start with a base of spinach (sometimes a spring mix), and then I add a variety of topping goodness with a crumbly cheese, fruits, nuts, veggies, and a dressing uniquely suited to the blend (I prefer homemade dressings—I’ll share those, too!)
Spinach, Chicken, Pear and Blue Cheese Salad
Today, I’m starting with one of my favorite go-to salads. I could literally eat this every day! Start with these ingredients, mixed in proportions that suit your taste:

Grilled chicken (cubed)
Bacon pieces
Red onion (thinly sliced)
Candied pecans (I like to make these myself!)
Japanese pear slices
Grapes (halved)
Crumbled bleu cheese

Then, drizzle with this wonderful creamy balsamic vinaigrette—here’s the recipe:

1 tsp. granulated garlic
3 Tbsp. mayonnaise
4 Tbsp. honey
2 Tbsp. dijon mustard
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Place first five ingredients in blender. When mixed completely, slowly add olive oil until all ingredients are blended well together.

Delicious! Watch for other upcoming, easy ideas to make every day a “salad day.” To your health!

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Great Summer Salads!

Do any of you recall our publication, “I Love Remembering”? This beautiful, full-color magazine was way ahead of its time when we began publishing it well over a decade ago—full of interesting articles, gorgeous photography, and step-by-step instructions to create all kinds of projects from scrapbooking to home décor.

Recently, I delved into my stash of “I Love Remembering” publications. In one article, I found stamping ideas for having a great summer party with an Asian theme, fortune cookies and all! As I looked at the photos, I recalled everything about the project—getting the photos shot, creating the artwork, and of course, whipping up the Chinese salad that was to be the star of the party. I’ve included the original photos from the magazine so you can walk down memory lane right along with me. (Notice the reference to D.O.T.S. stamps in the photos!)

Chinese Take-Out box

Fortune Cookies

Backyard Dining
My reminiscing didn’t stop there—as I recalled that Chinese salad, my mouth started watering and I knew I’d have to make a batch to share with my family. It was just as delicious as I remembered: sweet, savory, crunchy, salty, all kinds of goodness in every bite. Here’s my recipe, in case you’d like to host a salad party of your own this summer:

Chinese Chicken Salad
Serves 4

1 head Napa Chinese cabbage (cored and cut into thin strips)
1 bunch green onions, sliced into small pieces
2-4 grilled chicken breasts (chopped)
Layer cabbage, onions, and chicken breasts into 4 salad bowls
and set aside.

Dressing (combine all items in saucepan and boil for one minute):
1/2 C. sugar
1/4 C. rice vinegar
3/4 C. peanut oil
2 T. soy sauce

Topping (in separate saucepan):
1/2 C. butter
1 C. sliced almonds
2 packages broken ramen noodles (do not add seasoning)
Melt butter then sauté almonds and noodles until the mixture is lightly browned. Cool.

Sprinkle cooled topping on each salad and drizzle each with dressing.

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Classic, Cozy, Comfortable!

Clam ChowderAs my daughter Ashley progresses in her pregnancy (baby girl coming next month!), she’s found it more and more difficult to get comfortable and cozy. While I can’t do anything to eliminate those aches and pains of the third trimester, I can provide a little comfort—comfort food, that is! I find that the simplest pleasures are also the classic comforts, so I whipped up a batch of my special clam chowder and a warm loaf of homemade bread. It isn’t fancy, but it sure is fabulous.

We ladled up this rich, delicious soup and cozied up in the kitchen to eat and chat and discuss plans for the new baby. Ashley put her feet up and we just enjoyed a great meal together. I’ve been serving this delish dish since my teen years. If you’d like to try my classic clam chowder for yourself, here’s the recipe. We could all use a little extra comfort now and then!

Clam Chowder

1 cup chopped onions
1 cup diced celery
2 cups diced potatoes
2 (6 1/2ounce cans) chopped or minced clams
3/4 cup butter
3/4 cup flour
1 quart half and half cream
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 Tbs. red wine vinegar

1. Drain juice from clams and pour over onions, celery, and potatoes in a sauce pan. Add enough water to partly cover the vegetables. Cover the pan with a lid and simmer over low heat until vegetables are tender.   2. Meanwhile melt butter. Add flour and blend together. Stir consistently and add half and half cream. Stir with wire whip until smooth and thick.   3. Add vegetables with water to cream. Add clams, and vinegar. Heat thoroughly.   4. Season with salt and pepper.

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Too Tasty to Wait For!

too-tasty-too-wait-01Today, I thought I’d share a recipe that was a huge hit with my family at our Sunday dinner. I made a classic Italian alfredo sauce with pasta and chicken.

Last week I was one of the cooks at our annual Relief Society dinner and this was the pasta that we served. My friend Erin gave us this recipe to make and it was a huge hit. Like the Relief Society dinner, my whole house was full of warmth and garlic as I cooked, and my hungry crowd came flocking at suppertime! In fact, we could barely get the dish on the table and the prayer said before my family began devouring it–and I definitely couldn’t ask them to WAIT while I took a photo of the food for my blog.

So… the photo included with this post is a half-eaten pasta dish. It may not be magazine-cover pretty, but I assure you, it tasted fantastic! Try it at your house and you’ll see for yourself!

Best Creamy Pasta Ever

7½ tablespoons butter
5 tablespoons chopped garlic
3¾ tablespoons red wine vinegar
1¼ cup chicken broth
2½ tablespoons cornstarch
1¼ cup milk
2½ tablespoons dijon mustard
5 tsp. fresh rosemary
1¼ tsp. salt
1¼ tsp. fresh thyme
¾ tsp cayenne pepper
4½ cups of heavy whipping cream
2½ cup parmesan cheese
2 cooked breast cut in bite size pieces
6 slices of bacon cooked, cut in 1” pieces
17.5 oz. of dried penne pasta, cooked as directed on package

1. Melt butter and sweat garlic (don’t brown).   2. Dissolve cornstarch in small amount of chicken broth.   3. Add all sauce ingredients EXCEPT FOR CHEESE, stir with a whisk; and simmer about 10 minutes until thickened.   4. Stir in 2 ½ cup parmesan cheese,set aside.   5. Layer cooked pasta with chicken and bacon in casserole dish.   6. Spoon sauce over top.   7. Top with additional 1/4 c.parmesan cheese mixed with paprika (to add color).   8. Cook at 475 ̊F for around 10-15 minutes until bubbly.

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Zip and Zest In A Bowl

zip-and-zest-01As promised, I’d like to share my homemade chili recipe. It’s as easy as it is delicious—perfect for a gathering to watch football or as a warm-up for your trick-or-treaters. It’s long been a Lynton family favorite, and I hope it becomes one of yours, too!

Homemade Chili
from the kitchen of Jeanette Lynton

1 onion chopped
1 Tbs. oil
3 lbs. ground beef
2-10 oz. cans Campbell’s French Onion Soup
1-12 oz. can tomato paste
1-15 oz. can tomato sauce
2-27 oz. cans kidney beans with liquid
2-15 oz. cans red beans with liquid
2½ tsp. chili powder
5 tsp. cumin
1½ tsp. ground pepper

Brown chopped onion and ground beef in a large soup pot. Drain. Add the rest of the ingredients. Simmer for 30 minutes. Or transfer in a large crock pot and set at low for 2 hours. This is best to bring out the flavors. For a smaller batch, just cut the recipe in half…easy. Serves 10-12

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Popcorn Popping!

Popcorn Popping
“I’m bored! There’s nothing to do!” How often do moms hear those words during the summer? Here’s a way to get rid of boredom and make a fun, fabulous and EASY treat that all the kids can participate in. (It’s so simple and delicious, and you’ll love it, too!) Here’s my favorite recipe for chewy, ooey, gooey, soft and yummy popcorn balls. I received this recipe from my children more than 20 years ago after they attended a group outing. We’ve loved these popcorn balls ever since. They only take minutes to make and for sure they will make YOU the coolest mom in the neighborhood!

Yummy Popcorn Balls
½ cup butter
2½ cups brown sugar
1 cup corn syrup
1 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 large bowl or 6.5 oz. bag of popped popcorn
Candy mix-ins (optional)


Stir first three ingredients and bring to a boil. Lower the heat on the stove and stir in the milk. Stir mixture while simmering to form soft ball state. (This means you need to drop a few drops of caramel mixture in a cup of cold water. If it forms a soft ball in the water it’s ready.) Turn off stove and add vanilla. Pour over popcorn, stir in mix-ins and form into balls.


I love taking Belle and Noah to the Candy section of the Grocery store so they can pick their sweet mix-ins. You can add M&M’s, Reese’s pieces, trail mix, fruit trail mix, yogurt raisins, gummy bears, cinnamon bears, licorice or anything else that tickles your fancy. Happy popping!



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