Friday, September 6, 2013

Happy Read a Book Day!!

Hey guys!

In case you didn't know already, today is Read a Book Day! I will be honest and say that I didn't know that this day existed until my husband told me a couple of days ago. I have been an avid reader my whole life. Sometimes there is nothing better than curling up with a good book in a park, by the fire, on the couch, heck anywhere is a good place to read! In honor of today, I'm going to share a few of my favorite book themed pins that I have found. 

Go here to see what fun and quirky things you can do with all of those books you own that are just laying around the house.

With all of the movie adaptations of books coming out, I highly suggest heading over to this site to see which books you should read before you see the movie. Let's be honest - books are ALWAYS better than the movie.

This post really hit home since we are expecting a little girl. I want her growing up with role models (whether real or in novel form) that inspire her to be strong and be herself. I think this list is a great one to start with.

Lastly, here is a list of books to read before you die. With 1,001 books, I think there should be something in there for everyone. 

I am a true believer that reading is cleansing for the soul. Books can take you places both mentally and emotionally that real life can't at that moment in time. I always seem to find parallels in my life with whatever I happen to be reading at the moment. I haven't made a lot of time lately to sit down and read, but I think I will have to find some time today to do just that. Hopefully you will too! Happy Read a Book Day!!

Happy reading, 


Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Baby Bunting Banner

Hey guys!

We will be welcoming our first baby girl, Madeline, within the next couple weeks and could not be more excited. Do you want to know what was not exciting? Trying to figure out what sort of art/decor to hang above her crib. See, we are renting right now so a major re-do of the room wasn't possible regardless of our budget. Also, she is sharing a room with her older half-sister so the whole room can't be dedicated as an actual nursery. Trying to find baby decor that will also look tasteful in a 10 year old's room isn't exactly a walk in the park. We received our first piece of decor at the baby shower when one of my mom's co-workers made Madeline this gorgeous deco-mesh wreath.

Isn't this adorable? It has little rattles, rubber duckies, and clothes pins mixed in among everything. I just love everything about it. So with this being the focal point, I tried to find artwork inspiration that I could  make to go around it. Nothing turned out how I wanted it to, but hey - that's the curse nature of DIY. 

That's when I started noticing all of the bunting banners that were popping up around the interwebs. A lightbulb just went off in my head. "Hey! I could get really cute fabric and make one of these with Madeline's name on it!" I thought it was a brilliant idea, but I JUST learned how to sew. Like, the first time I had ever used a sewing machine was in July. Ambition and spontaneity took hold and I went out and choose some fabric bundles and bias tape. Next thing I know, I'm cutting and pinning and sewing my heart out. The end product could not have turned out better. 

I wish I had taken more pictures of the process to share with y'all, but my hands were always a couple steps ahead of my mind with this project. However, Laurel over at Laurel Lane was the one that truly inspired this whole project. She explains everything beautifully in this post. You should definitely head over there to see the how-to. Next time I make something like this, I will hopefully be able to be as thorough with pictures and explanations as she is.

This is a sewing project that anyone can do. Not all of my seams are straight, especially when I sewed the flags to the bias tape, but that adds to the charm of this banner. I promise, if I can do it, so can you!

Happy crafting!


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Crockpot Chicken Tacos

I love having tacos for dinner. It is so easy, the ingredients always seem to be in the fridge, and no one has any complaints about it. But sometimes, you gotta throw out the ordinary and spice things up a bit. Crockpot chicken tacos was a last-minute brilliant idea of mine one day when it was my turn to cook dinner. We didn't have much in the pantry, of course, so I looked to the fridge. What did I find?? NOT MUCH. I started moving things around and found some salsa and the idea struck. We had chicken, salsa, cheese and tortillas so I figured how bad could it be??

The answer... Best.Tacos.Ever.

Seriously, how good do these look? I put ranch dressing on the top of everything. It was delish!

Here's What Ya Need!

Chicken Breasts - Use however much you need for your family. 
Salsa - 1 jar seems to be enough
Chicken Broth - 1 can
Cheesy Taco Seasoning - 1 packet
Lime Juice - I don't recommend using it. After making it with and without the lime juice, we all prefer it without.

Add everything together and let it cook on low for 6-8 hours. You could always cook it on high, but I'm not sure how long it would cook for. Probably 3-4 hours. If anyone cooks it on high and gets an accurate time frame, let me know!

This is what you get at the end. Just put on tortilla shells, add some cheese, sour cream, ranch dressing (as I did above) or whatever tickles your fancy and get to eating. You, and your family, won't be disappointed.

Happy eating!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Hey There Pumpkin!

Now that it is October, Halloween will be here before you know it. I feel compelled to decorate a lot this year since I no longer live in an apartment or a duplex that has a shared porch. We actually have space to put pumpkins and everything and it just makes me giddy with excitement! While I love the classic look of lit up, carved jack o'lanterns, I just can't quite get the hang of carving them. I also like to think I'm a little more funky than classic so I decided to browse and find some of the best alternative ways to dress up pumpkins!

Lace covered pumpkins done with pantyhose via Art Studio 522.

Celestial pumpkins via Martha Stewart. 

Colorful pumpkins! These are great. They are so colorful and cheerful and won't rot as fast because they aren't carved. I'm just in love with these.

White pumpkins with decals! Combining painting with personalized details. LOVE!

These are just a few of my favorite finds. I'm hoping to get out this weekend and buy a whole trunk full of pumpkins and decorate our porch. I have a few ideas bouncing around my head on what else I can do. I am sure Jason will think I'm crazy brilliant!

Happy decorating!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Crockpot Chicken and Dumplings

Ever have one of those days where you didn't want to go to the grocery store, but wanted a home cooked meal? That's me. Everyday. I would love to be one of the women that has meals planned out for weeks in advance with all the necessary ingredients at hand, but sadly I am not. It's not for lack of trying though! I have a picture frame turned into weekly planner that I found via pinterest (here) but only use it when I'm feeling particularly productive. Anyway, with my husband working in the morning and myself working in the afternoon/evening, dinner primarily falls upon Jason. While I love coming home to a meal cooked by him, he has a lot on his plate (no pun intended!) between work, school and the girls. This is where my new favorite kitchen appliance comes into play...


I can throw everything in around 11 am and it does the rest of the work. He can eat with the girls at dinner time and then I can eat when I get home around 8 pm. It's awesome. It became even MORE awesome when I found a recipe for chicken 'n dumplings (Jason's favorite) that can be made in the crockpot. It's extremely easy.. here's what ya need: 


Fresh or frozen chicken breasts - I use 1-2 pounds depending on if I am cooking for 2 or 4.
Cream of Chicken condensed soup - 1 can
Cream of Mushroom condensed soup - 1 can
Chicken Stock 
Homestyle or Buttermilk Buscuits - 1 tube
Peas or other veggies
Poultry Seasoning

*Note* - I rarely ever measure my seasonings or spices. I usually just eyeball it. I usually do like, 4 turns of the sea salt shaker, 5 or 6 of the pepper, 5 shakes of the basil and 5 shakes of the poultry seasoning. Extremely accurate, I know!

Combine everything in the crockpot except for the biscuits and the veggies. I tend to add more or less chicken stock/broth depending on how much chicken I use. I prefer to have the chicken pretty much covered with the soup and broth. At this point, is it better to have more liquid than not enough for when we add the biscuits. Set the crockpot on low, and let it cook for about 5-6 hours.

About an hour before you want to eat, tear the biscuits into smaller pieces and roll into balls. Drop them into the crockpot and make sure they are covered with the liquid. Add any vegetables you want to add too. Then, and this is CRUCIAL, turn the crockpot onto HIGH. 

This is what it looks like right after you add the dough. The dumplings start to swell and look like bloated balls of doughy goodness.

This is the final product when it is in the crockpot. It turned out that I had added a little too much liquid in the beginning, but I would rather have it that way because the dumplings soak up A LOT of the broth. 

There is a lot of room to tweak this recipe into what you or your family likes. I would have taken a real after picture with it on a plate, but I forgot as I was eating and we devoured the whole dish. Yes, it is that good.

Hope you enjoy! Happy cooking!


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

An Outlet of Sorts

Hi everyone! I am new to this whole blogging thing, but DESPERATELY needed a way to channel my thoughts and a notebook just wasn't going to cut it. I will be honest, a lot of my ideas and recipes are inspired by Pinterest like many other people's, but most of the time, I try to put my own spin on it. I am a newlywed and not-so-evil stepmother to 2 girls (9 & 11) so there will be loads of picky-eater recipes, fun DIY and ways to be thrifty. We are currently renting our duplex so there won't be many extreme makeovers yet (I WISH!) but hopefully one day soon we will have a house so I can really make good of all the pins I find everyday. I already have a couple posts of tried and true crockpot recipes to share with y'all soon.

Have a happy Wednesday!