Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Christmas Shopping Time!

Tonight I sat down with some hot cocoa and watched a cheesy Christmas movie and just breathed.  It's one of my favorite things to do this time of year when things get a bit crazy, which happens a lot, because I have a really bad habit of trying to do just about everything.

Yesterday, I spent the day shopping, making party reservations for surfer boy's birthday in February, and drinking my favorite latte.  I love running errands, but sometimes finding the perfect gift for certain people on my gift list requires some searching the world wide web for something fun and out of the ordinary.  Thankfully, I have some amazingly creative friends who have some super fun businesses.  One of my favorite things is seeing my mom friends use their gifts to supplement their family's income.  It's like watching my friend's become Proverbs 31 women! So, I thought that since it's serious shopping time, I would share some of my friend's businesses with you!


Epiphanie Designs
A few years ago, my best friend started making scrabble family trees as gifts to her family members and people just started asking her to make them for everything.  I love how God has completely blessed her business and used her gifting to help supplement her family's income, especially at Christmas!  It is super fun watching friends get gifts that she has made and see their faces light up when the get a tree as a gift, which is one of her favorite things about gift giving and she wants that for everyone who buys her trees.  Every single one that she does is completely different and individual, so it's definitely a one of a kind gift!  I have one that sits on a shelf in my living room with coordinating colors!   All trees are digital images and look fantastic framed or on a canvas, which makes it great for whatever you want it for.  She's even put some on t-shirts and canvas bags. . . seriously amazing!  You can find her etsy store here.

Also, if you comment on this post my sweet friend will send you a coupon code to save you some money on your very own custom family tree!  If you are posting as anonymous, find me on Facebook and private message me, so we can get that to you!  It's super easy! 

Haitian Bead Project
My sweet friend Dorina has the sweetest heart for the people of Haiti.  She and her husband actually spent a year as missionaries and several summers in between serving our MOPS group with her creativity and hospitality.  Her heart for these ladies, who have become her friends, is so evident in the way that she leads her life, and even though she has passed this on to other people to run so she can focus on her family and her writing, the focus of this shop is still the same. Provide an income for Haitian women (and some men, I think).  These women make the necklaces and send them back to the states to be sold at various events and through their online store.  There are so many stories of these ladies being able to provide homes for their families through these necklaces.  This is definitely a purchase you can feel good about!  Plus, they are beautiful!  They don't just have necklaces, either!  You can find ornaments, bracelets, earrings, and so much more on their website.  You can find it here.


Brooklyn Owl
Another sweet friend of mine moved across the country after she got married and when their now 8 year old was born, she found a way to make some money by making felt headbands and unicorn horns.  Super cute!  This little business is amazing and she now sells them in stores across the country!  How cool is that!  Her daughter also helps out and can often be seen making things and selling them too. . . I absolutely love it!!!  You can find her etsy shop here.

I have a few other favorite spots, but of course my computer is about to die and I should probably go to bed anyways.  I hope you get to go visit these online shops. . . because they are amazing and honestly, shopping in your pajamas is the way to go!

But, don't forget to comment so I can send you a coupon code to save you some money on a family tree!  

Friday, December 02, 2016

on making lists & setting goals


Today. 

Today, was beautiful.  Kind of foggy and cold and perfect for blaring Christmas music as I drove around town.  I even picked up a Christmas in a cup (a.k.a gingerbread latte) from the Starbucks in Target! I can't believe how much I got done before picking up kids at school.

Right now I need to sit down and make a list.  I like lists.  I am one of those people that will make a list and add the things I've already done so I can mark them off.   I am also one of those people who has too tries to do too many things in one day and then feels guilty for not getting everything done.  I am sure that I can't be alone in this?  

Back in my college days, I read a book by Elizabeth George that talked about making daily, monthly, and yearly goals.  My daily goals tend to look a lot like a to-do list, but in reality, they really are my goals.  I'm really good at making daily goals, but not so great on the monthly, or even yearly goals.  This is something I plan on working on over the next few months.   So, I am going to start today and set goals for December.  Let's see how I do! 

December 2016 Goals:

:: Truth in the Tinsel - The kids insisted we do this again and I am perfectly okay with that because a few years ago I made it so organized that this year, I just had to print out the ornaments and everything was already together.  Easy Peasy.   We did day 1 last night!  I love our tradition and the kid's eagerness to focus on Christ and his birth.  We won't get them all done, but I am okay with that.

::  Finish Reading Simply Tuesday.  It's a great book, I just need to put forth the effort to finish it! 

:: Finish the kitchen cabinets.  I have 1 1/2 cabinets left and I just need to focus and do it.  

:: Be consistent in working out.  

:: Finish Weston's quilt top so it can be done before his 6th birthday. . . can you believe he's going to be 6?!?!

:: Try at least 2 new recipes.  

:: Get Christmas cards out by Christmas. 

 And that's that!  I'm keeping this month's goals small.  It's going to be a busy month with lots of fun activities, baking, sewing, and wrapping presents.  Today, I am staying home and finishing up decorating the house.  Christmas stuff is everywhere and I need to finish and clean.  Have a wonderful weekend!  Exciting things are coming next week! 

Do you make goals?  What are some of yours for December?  Feel free to share in the comments. 
 



Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Pumpkin Scones







 My kids have the whole week off and today is the first day we have gotten out of our pajamas.  I am not sure if I even count because I have workout clothes on!  We are heading to the movies to see Pete's Dragon at the cheap theater and I am probably the only one excited.  My boys are seriously homebodies!  I probably have not accomplished anything this week, because I have gotten sucked into vegging out with my boys, who are just wanting cuddles.  I'll take it when my 8 year old says, "let's cuddle!"  There has just been a wonderful amount of sweetness this week that I am reminded how much I miss having them home during the school day (although, I like going to the store without them. . . that I miss!).  Which brings me to another point:

One thing I am super thankful for is my husband.  He truly is a gift from God.  But seriously, I asked him at the beginning of the week if he would be able to go into work a bit late one morning so I could attempt Trader Joe's before the crazy and without kids.  (KEYWORDS: WITHOUT KIDS!!!!).  I just had horrible visions of a tiny, packed parking lot, kids running people over in those tiny carts (read this. . . it's awesome!), and it taking way longer than getting stuff to make salads should ever take.  This week ended up being a bit on the quiet side for him, so he stayed home with the kiddos and I went to Trader Joes and Target/Starbucks in less than 90 minutes! Again! So thankful!  So, aside from an obscure ingredient for a delicious looking salad, I am done!   There might just be a happy dance going on now!  

Anyways, this recipe is probably one of the most requested baked good I get from my kids.  I posted it here a long time ago and I must have been really lazy, because I just posted the link, which honestly doesn't do it justice because I have made a few adjustments to it to make them even better!  I used my food processor for these and it literally just takes a few minutes before getting them in the oven. There really isn't anything intimidating about scones, and these are soooo easy.  This batch, I made them the night before and then iced them the next morning.  It worked out perfectly!  I might even make a batch of these for tomorrow. . . perfect for Thanksgiving! 

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!
Pumpkin Scones
Adapted from Food.com

Ingredients:
 2 cups all purpose flour
7 TBS sugar
1 TBS baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground ginger
6 TBS cold butter
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
3 TBS heavy whipping cream
1 large egg

Glaze: 1 cup powdered sugar, 1 TBS powdered sugar, 2 TBS almond milk

Spiced glaze: 2 cup powdered sugar, 3 TBS powdered sugar, 2 TBS almond milk, 1/4 tsp cinnamon, 1/8 tsp nutmeg, pinch of ginger and a pinch of cloves

Directions:
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Bake on baking stone or line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silpat. 

Throw all your dry ingredients into your food processor.  Pulse a few times to break down the chunks.  Add cold butter. Pulse some more until your mixture is nice and crumbly.  Add pumpkin, whipping cream, and egg to dry ingredients and pulse together until all mixed up.  It should start looking all glopped (is that a word?) together like a ball.  Put mixture onto a floured surface and pat it out into a circle about 1 inch thick.  Use cookie cutters or cut triangles with a knife.  Bake for about 14 minutes.  They should turn light brown.  Let them cool completely. 

Mix the powdered sugar with almond milk (we use almond milk because we have dairy issues, so if you want to use real milk, it'll still work).  Brush on cool scones.  Let it sit for a bit until it sets.  Then add the remaining powdered sugar and spices to what's left of your glaze and add just enough almond milk until you get a much thicker glaze.  Pour into a sandwich bag, snip off the end and drizzle over tops of glazed scones.  Let sit for a bit (who are we kidding, eat immediately!).

SCONE MAKING TIP:  So, here's a quick scone making tip.  Freeze the butter before you make them.  It's okay, if you just keep in the fridge, but whatever you do, don't take the butter out until you absolutely are ready to chop it up and stick in the food processor.  Cold Butter is essential to getting that flakiness you want with a scone. 

Saturday, November 19, 2016

37

Yesterday, I turned 37.   I spent the morning pampering myself and doing things for me.  Sometimes life just gets so busy, we forget to take care of ourselves.  Besides my sunglasses breaking and a child having a bit of a melt down while leaving a store, it was a really wonderful day!  One of my favorite bloggers did something on her birthday, and I really liked the idea, so I am going to completely steal her idea (copying is a huge compliment, right?).  So, here are my 37 things.

1.  I am a mom of two boys.  Ethan is 8 and Weston is 5 (although he has already started the countdown til his 6th birthday in 2 months!).
2.  I am a wife.  I am married to my soccer and rootbeer loving hard working husband, who works hard so I can stay at home.
3.  I am a stay at home mom.  I get the awesome opportunity to stay at home with my kids and I wouldn't have it any other way.
4.  I have way too many hobbies that I can't get everything I want done.
5.  When I was little I knew I wanted to be a teacher.
6.  I became a teacher and taught until I started having kids. Some of my students are now in college and I feel old.
7.  I also wanted to be an interior decorator, but math scares me.
8.  My husband is REALLY good with math and somehow makes it understandable for me.
9.  I currently have 3 quilt tops started. . . I need to finish them.
10.  I really like my little blog space that I started almost 8 years ago.
11. Sometimes I am on introvert and sometimes I am an extrovert.  Translation: people both exhaust me and energize me depending on the situation.
12.  I love chocolate covered cinnamon bears
13.  Right now the Ghiradeli dark chocolate mint minis are my go-to chocolate treat.
14.  I have a thing for sparkling water (izee and voss are my favorite!)
15.  I love traveling and seeing new things.
16.  I have lived in 4 states.
16.  I come from a blended family.
17.  When it comes to cookbooks, I prefer ones with pretty, colorful pictures.
18.  I have a milk allergy.
19.  I also have low thyroid.
20.  Fall is my favorite time of the year.
21.  I sleep better when it is cold.  I love to bundle up under the sheets and blankets.
22.  I refuse to decorate the house for Christmas until after Thanksgiving, but get all giddy when Starbucks red cups and Target Christmas stuff comes out.
23.  I like Instagram better than Facebook.  I don't like drama.
24.  I am really enjoying having both kids in school.
25.  I really love being a mom and am sad the baby, toddler, and preschool years are behind us.  I am loving this new season of life and each new thing we can do as a family.
26.  The beach is my absolute favorite place.
27.  I can spend hours walking around Target drinking a latte.
28.  I like fancy coffee drinks. My favorite are cinnamon dolce and gingerbread lattes.  I probably spend too much money at Starbucks.
29.  I was born with super red hair. It's not really red anymore.
30.  I love a good chick flick and Hallmark movies.
31.  I am looking forward to the Gilmore Girls 1 year thing on Netflix.
32.  I am a fan of a delicious burger.
33.  I don't like traditional comfort food.  Just give me street tacos and I am a happy camper.
34. I have never dyed my hair.
35.  I hate getting up in the morning.  But would prefer to get up early to get things over with so I can have the rest of the day to do fun things.
36.  I have a lot of unfinished projects that I need to finish. 
37.  When it comes to soda, I am a coke girl, but only if it is in a can or nicely carbonated.  I don't do flat soda.

Well, that's 37 things.  It was harder to do than I thought it would be.  I hope that you all have a wonderful weekend! 



Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Banana Chocolate Espresso Muffins


 I've been avoiding my computer lately.  Last week, I was on survival mode with the hubby out of town and then the election happened and well. . . it wasn't pretty.  So much hatred on both sides that it made me so sad.  So I avoided blogging and computering. . . and hung out with my boys.  We cuddled and vegged and it was wonderful!  We even snuck away to the mountains for a few hours. 

But now that the election is over, let me share this amazing recipe that will make you so happy. . . especially if you have some super ripe muffins laying around.  And chocolate, well. . . that goes with out saying!  Plus, the added flavor of the espresso powder just makes this muffins completely amazing! This recipe will guarantee to make you happy. . . even if just for a moment.  These are going to quickly become one of your favorite go-to recipes. I am sure of it! 

The espresso powder is great to add to a chocolate because it makes it much richer.  My husband and kids (who all three don't do coffee) devoured these up super quick! 

I highly recommend baking a batch and taking a couple to a friend, teacher, or co-worker and just spreading some love and good cheer. . . I think there are a lot of people out there that just need someone to encourage them!




Banana Chocolate Esppresso Muffins
adapted from Bake from Scratch

Ingredients:
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
11/2 Tbsp espresso powder
2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t nutmeg
1 1/2 cups mashed banana
2 large eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup buttermilk
1 T molasses
1 t vanilla extract

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line your favorite muffin tin with some fun liners or use these ones (they are my favorite!). 

In the microwave, melt chocolate chips in 30 second intervals, stirring in between until melted.  Set aside and let it cool off while you make the muffin batter.

 In a large bowl, whisk dry ingredients.  Make a well in the middle and add banana, eggs, oil, buttermilk, molasses and vanilla.  Stir until just moistened.  Spoon 1 1/2 cups batter into bowl with chocolate and espresso powder.  Spoon banana batter into your muffin pan.  Add chocolate mixture to the top of banana mixture and swirl around with a skewer.  Bake for 25 minutes.  Let cool for 5 minutes so you don't burn your tongue on that first bite. 

Happy Baking!

* I don't usually have buttermilk on hand, but adding a Tsp of vinegar to the 1/4 cup of milk will give the same effect. 

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Today.

Good morning!  I'm spending a lot of time posting to Instagram today because it's #onedayhh and I am so excited to join in the fun!  I will be posting a bunch of stuff that I'm up to trying to fit into today.  It's my mundane and regular life, full of chores and survival.  Today, you will find little tid bits of my routine, some of the craziness that comes with having two boys in school, and what I do to survive and add a little spice to a mundane and boring day.  Come follow me on instagram here and join in on the fun! 

See you over on Instagram! 

Oh and check out more on One Day HH


Friday, October 21, 2016

Coffee Chat & random thoughts

I honestly cannot believe it's Friday already.  I blinked and the week was gone and all that was left was traces of a deliciously busy week.  So, I thought we should have coffee really quick and chat.

First of all, I just want to welcome those of you who are visiting my little space here for the first time.  Thanks for stopping by.  I hope you come back.  And welcome back to all my friends who visit when they have time (you guys rock!).  I am so very thankful for you and the time you take to join us. 

This post is just some random thoughts and tid bits about what is going on in my neck of the world.  Kind of like if we just sat down over coffee or tea and chatted, caught up, and enjoyed each other's company.  And what better way to wrap up a really busy week than this!?! 
Last night, I made macarons.  Not the coconut ones, but those super yummy french sandwich cookies that are taking the world by storm.  This was the third time I've made them, and the closest I've come to getting it right.  They looked gorgeous. . . until I touched them.  The majority of them cracked and it became a cookie sheet of sad deliciousness.  But, they will still be eaten. . . I promise.  I'm pretty sure I over mixed the batter and that's what caused the hollow cracking.  Lesson learned.  Eventually, I will get them perfect and I guess I will just have to keep practicing! 

Today was Ethan's field trip to the zoo.  We missed his first grade field trip last Spring because we all had some insane stomach bug, so he was super excited for this trip.  I got to go and even managed to grab some Starbucks before meeting them at the zoo.  He wanted to bring his notebook and pencil to take notes on the animals.  There wasn't much time for that, but notice his bag. . .It reminds me of Joey and his man bag (total Friends reference here).  I made that bag for him when he was 4 because he wanted a little bag to carry his stuff in.  It was way to long back then, but he found it and thought it would work. 
I may have a messy house right now, but my house is decorated for Fall.  Monday, I snuck over to Trader Joes and picked up some fun pumpkins and finished my mantle.  I am kind of impressed with my chalk lettering. . . it never happens like that!  There are a few more things that I want to work on and maybe I will be able to sneak those in.  We shall see.  Do you decorate for Fall?  What do you do?

We finally got to go to another Earthquakes game and it rained! Soccer games don't get rained out a whole lot (only for lightning. . . see, you learn something everyday).  We had a blast and didn't freeze our butts off.  The kids did some slip and sliding in the grass while we waited (in a down pour) to get some autographs.  My favorite thing about going to these games is the wide variety of Food Trucks. . . I counted 10 this week. . . that they have available inside the stadium.  The whole point is to come and get food and hang out.  It's pretty awesome (and fun!).  This soccer thing is growing on me. . . as long as I don't have to play.  (my face was always a magnet to the ball in Jr. High. . . oiy.) 
We checked off our annual visit to some pumpkin patch on the way to the game with a stop by Casa De Fruta.  Things have been so busy that I just don't think that it's going to happen any other time.  So, we got out and played in the rain, picked some cute pumpkins and headed on down the road.  

Well, that's just a tid bit of things that have happened and I am gearing up for another crazy busy weekend. . . just bring it!  

Here are some other random thoughts:

:: This election:  I can't take it.  I am done.  My husband likes to send me crazy videos that people put together about the debate.   Videos like this one.  Laughter might be the only thing that gets me through this. 

:: I know we are full on Fall mode, and these pumpkin muffins are being pinned and repinned like crazy!  I don't blame them. . . they are amazing!

:: I am still reading the same book Simply Tuesday and it keeps tugging on my heart strings. . . I think she wrote it just for me. . . uhhh. .  . anyone else feel that way with a book?

:: My son has been reading about what the Bible says about courage during his weekly Bible Study and I can't tell you how many times I have been reminded of those verses this week. . . be strong, be courageous, for the Lord, your God goes with you . . . oh, and Time Hop brought up a video of Ethan reciting the same verse when he was 3.  Yep.  I guess these are things I need to hear, because I have a project that I am just sort of scared to start.  It's one that I am not sure I want to share with people yet, but it's something that God has been whispering into my ear since last spring when I started praying about what he wanted from me now that both boys were in school.  

::  I got to have lunch with a dear, sweet friend and former college roommate this week.  It's amazing how time gets away from you and suddenly it's a good 7 years since you've hung out.  It was so refreshing to go have lunch and pick up right where we left off.  Is there a friend in your life that you need to reconnect with?  

And well, I think it's time I should go.  The day awaits and so does the "to-do" list that is ever growing.  I hope and pray that you have a blessed weekend!  Take some time to do something creative, read a book, or go on an adventure . . cor even call up a friend and see how they are doing. 

Happy Friday!

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