Sunday, July 24, 2011

To the end of the earth...

I have fallen off the face of blog land...
I am happy to report that I am back. I think I needed a bit of a break, but I have missed it. I've been ready for about a week to get back to pouring out what's been going on, but there is so much that has happened since I last wrote that I wanted to do a recap, but have simply been too lazy!

There will be lots of posts and pictures to follow, but here is a little taste of our life in the last few months...

I started school. Yes you read that right... Me... school... same sentence. Crazy right?!?!? I am doing court reporting school online. So far I love it. It is very challenging and I'm still working on my time management, but I have every faith that I will finish strong!

We have also been working on the house. Adding a little bit more of my style in ;) We made a frame wall in our entry way, changed out the old chandelier in the dining room with a huge white one with crystals, put the recliner in the living room (Ok this isn't about style, but comfort!), and completely gutted and decorated the office/sewing room. Oh trust me there will be multiple posts with lots of pictures!

Another bit of news is I started doing freezer meals. We bought a deep freeze at Costco and are filling it up with lots of healthy, yummy dinners. I like to cook and Steve and I both enjoy a nice home cooked meal, but truth be told I often find it hard to shop, cook and clean up everyday! More often than not 4:30 rolls around and I'm not sure what I will be making for dinner. Spending a day or two in the kitchen will produce about a months worth of entrees for our family. Yes you read that right... A MONTH!!! Plus talk about budget friendly! I spent around $150 which produced about 40 meals for both of us. Two servings per meal = 80 servings which leaves us with a grand total of $1.88 per serving. Now this is only the entree, so we will also be spending additional money on fresh veggies, but my goal is to spend under $5.00 for the total meal. This won't be feasible every night, but for the most part it puts us on track for healthy eating and being budget conscious!

Steve and I started training for a 5k. Again, yes you read that correctly! We are in week 5 of the 9 week couch to 5k program. If you are looking for a way to start exercising I would highly recommend doing this. I am not a runner by nature, but I now love it! I won't get too into it now and will save all the details for a later post.


Let's see... what else... I'm thinking for now that is it. So you are caught up on the last few months. I can't wait to share pictures of our home projects and lots of recipes that are freezer friendly! (As you can tell I have been doing a total overhaul of my life!)

I am also couponing! Eeek... I'm addicted ;)


Monday, March 14, 2011

Estate Sale Shopping

***I interrupt the regular scheduled baby shower series to show you some fun finds. I have been fighting off a flu bug and enjoying the sunshine with Olivia. The series will continue as scheduled this week. I promise it will be worth it! There will be yummy recipes and my first ever giveaway!!!
Who doesn't love a good deal?!?
I am officially addicted to Estate Sales. Maybe it's because I found some great vintage sewing notions. I'm sure all estate sales aren't as good as the one we hit last weekend, but I am in love! {Ok maybe I'm being a little over dramatic!} But I am very excited about the fun stuff I found!
Do you go to estate sales or yard sales? What about thrift stores?

I used to buy most of my clothes from a little thrift store in town while I was in high school, but I haven't been much lately. Maybe I will have to start venturing out and get up early on Saturday mornings and hit some more yard/estate sales.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Swap Following Linky Party

I love finding new blogs. Here are a few that I'm following so far...

FabuLESSly Crafty

Type A Decorating

Link up and join in on the fun!

Baby Shower - Diaper Cakes

Making diaper cakes a fun way to customize a shower while also including more diapers to give to the mom-to-be.
I recommend buying Pampers swaddlers in size 1. Other brands have writing or pictures on them. Pampers are mostly white so they give a more clean look. If you want color to show then another brand would work best.
Roll each diaper and secure with a rubber band. Either one band in the middle or one towards the top and one towards the bottom. It simply depends on how you want to decorate the 'cake'. We used a total of 34 diapers for each cake. 24 diapers for the bottom layer and 10 diapers for the top layer.
We used a 6" round cardboard for a template to align the bottom layer of cake. After all the diapers are in a circle, secure with a larger rubber band.
Do the same for the top layer with the 10 diapers.
Using my Silhouette I cut out a border to go around each layer. We used a glue pen and put a dot on each end to keep them together. We also embellished the paper with rhinestones we found at Hobby Lobby.

For my baby shower we used ribbon and it turned out very cute as well!

Stack the smaller layer on top.

Add a few rhinestones to a cluster of hydrangeas and stick them on top of each cake. I've also used fake peonys. Any large flower or cluster of flowers would be cute.

And there you have it. Very cute centerpieces that the mom-to-be will be get plenty of use out of in the months to come.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Baby Shower - How-to Series

We recently threw a baby shower for Steve's cousin Brittney. Brittney holds a very special place in our hearts. Leading up to having her baby she came to our home and took care of Olivia. We are so very grateful for all the love she gave our daughter and we know that she will be an amazing mom.

In the next few days I will be posting tutorials of some of the fun things we did to help make the shower extra special.
A lot of diapers were rolled to make diaper cakes. I also got plenty of use out of my silhouette!

Olivia is very excited to meet her new cousin! If you ask her where the baby is she will touch Brittney's belly.

We made lots of yummy cupcakes, including Snickerdoodle, Red Velvet and Cookie Dough. Oh my, I think we all gained a few pounds from all the cupcakes we ate! :)
The cookie dough cupcakes with a butter cream frosting were divine!
Since having the shower we were so happy to welcome Arianna Hope into our family. She is a healthy, beautiful little girl. We are all so smitten!

Keep a look out. At the end of my baby shower how-to series I will have a little giveaway!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

Well it is Tuesday for me... I thought I would get a jump on Wednesday :)

I linked my Wordless Wednesday post at Faith, Hope & a whole lot of Love

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Recipe Box Swap

swap sidebar
I added the stuffed mushroom recipe over at I have to say....
She is hosting The Recipe Box Swap.
Head over and check out all the other great recipes! I can't wait to try a few of them!

Machine Quilting

Here is a quick video of me machine quilting taken by my mother-in-law. Sometimes I think she is my number one fan! She grabbed her phone and said she needed to video me so I could post it on my blog. I think that is so sweet. I don't think she even reads my blog... but she knows that it's important to me and points out opportunities she thinks will be a good post.

Edit: Katy does read my blog. See she is my #1 fan!
video
I am quilting my Swing Patch quilt using her Bernina. This is the first time her machine was used on the frame and she thought it would be a good idea for me to do the first test run on a quilt I made rather than one of her quilts. Isn't that just so thoughtful of her ;) She can be very sneaky like that.

The frame is very low which is why I'm so hunched over. She is quite a bit shorter than I am.

I am quilting an all over flower pattern. Towards the end you can kind of see me make the circle of the center and a few pedals before the video ends.

I had some 'hiccups' with her machine. Come to find out it needed to be serviced. Shortly after the video was taken I brought my Juki over and finished the quilt with it. Her Bernina is a very nice machine, but it might be a little too much technology for my taste. I like my simple Juki. I suppose you love what you have and are used to.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Day

I couldn't resist a Valentine post. I'm a sucker for the holiday. I, like most, agree that love should be shared and shown everyday but I love all the pink and hearts!

Steve and I pretty much have an agreement that there is to be no stress due to this holiday. There shouldn't be lots of money spent, especially on flowers and it should be fun.

Steve will normally stop by the wholesale flower shop and pick up some flowers on his way home. If you are looking for beautiful flowers at a very reasonable price I would highly recommend going to a wholesale flower shop that is open to the public... if there is one available near you. Many times I have stopped in and just picked something I liked out of the cold storage just to spruce up the house. I will call Steve and tell him he is such a good husband to buy me flowers. It's a silly little joke between us.

Anyways... He always says Valentine's Day is for the woman and I shouldn't get him anything. And sometimes I don't because it is so hard to shop for a man!

This year I didn't listen to him and have a few plans up my sleeve.

I surprised him at work with a Frappuchino from Starbucks because Starbucks = Love. (at least for us it does)

Mocha Frappuccino® Blended Coffee

(I also treated myself to one!)
Courtesy of Groupon I also got us two 90-min massages for 50% off! Let me tell you this was not planned at all, but I am so excited about it!

I will also be making heartshapped ravolies with homemade marinara sauce for dinner.

For desert I got Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. Yum!



I treated myself to a spicy chicken salad from the Thai restaurant around the corner and also 'splurged' on a copy of Martha Stewart Living magazine. Happy Valentine's Day to me!!! After all, we need to show some love to ourselves :)



Do you celebrate Valentine's day? Do you go all out or keep it simple?

Am I the only one who buys myself Valentine's gifts?

Friday, February 11, 2011

Stuffed Mushrooms

This recipe comes from my dear sweet Aunt Justine. She is one of the most amazing woman I have ever met! I think I get a lot of my craftiness and cooking skills from her. Sometimes I think I should have been her child, but I suppose my mom makes me much more well rounded ;)

My husband has been in love with her stuffed mushrooms for some time now and I have never gotten the recipe from her... until now!

We were getting ready for Super Bowl and all he could talk about were her mushrooms. So I made the call. They are surprisingly easy. And like most recipes that come from her there are few exact measurements and quite a bit of 'eye balling'.

If you want more specifics let me know and I will make them again with accurate measurements.

Here we go...

-Mushrooms - I got mine at Costco. If you get the smaller package from a grocery store you will have extra filling
-1 block cream cheese
- Parmesan cheese - I used fresh and quite a bit of it. She uses the stuff that comes in a container and said about 1/3 of a medium size container.
-Sausage - The kind you get in the meat section. New York Style, Hot. (I didn't take a picture of the package, so if you aren't sure what to get let me know and I will get a picture in the store)
- Garlic - A few cloves. I used 4-5

Brown sausage in a pan.



Wash and de-stem the mushrooms. I didn't scoop out anymore of the mushroom than what came out with the stem. You can if you want, but according to Aunt Justine once they are cooked you can't really tell a difference.




Chop stems and garlic.



Once sausage is about half way done add garlic and chopped stems. Make sure sausage bits are pretty small especially if you have smaller mushrooms.



Mix room temp cream cheese and Parmesan.  


Add sausage mixture to cream cheese mixture. The warm sausage helps the cream cheese melt into a yummy mix of goodness! Spoon mixture into mushrooms.


Top with more Parmesan cheese. I like fresh parm so I used quite a bit in my recipe. You can use as much or as little as you like. The cheese on top helps give it a little bit of crispiness. 


Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes or golden brown.

 
Remove from pan and plate. 



Now enjoy! These are very easy to make and reheat very well! They do have a little bit of spice from the sausage, but I think that is part of what makes them so good.

According to Steve they are little bits of heaven.

Let me know if you make them and how they turn out, or if you have any questions about the recipe.
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Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Morning Routine

Our morning routine usually goes pretty seamlessly. Neither Steve or I are morning people so there is minimal talking and interaction. Since having Olivia it has made our routine still a little different, but close to the same it was before. I get up first, shower and get ready. If the baby wakes up while I'm getting ready Steve will get her. About the time I finish getting ready Steve heads to the bathroom to start his routine. This is at 7:20 every morning. After 7:20 baby is my responsibility.

This usually works out well for us. But Steve sometimes will play it to his advantage. Case in point:

Olivia fussed in her crib so he brought her back to our bed and snuggled with her until she fell back asleep. All the while I'm getting ready. She starts stirring about the time for Steve to get up and me to take over. I walk over to change her diaper, because he 'just didn't think about it'. Upon unzipping her sleeper there is poop EVERYWHERE. Half is dried, and half is still seeping out everywhere. How did he lay next to her and not smell this??? I think he did and was just buying time until he knew it was my turn. Olivia ended up needing a bath and LOTS of diaper rash cream. I will keep pictures out of this post for your benefit and my own.

He also forgot to take our only car seat out of his car so I can take Olivia to daycare this morning.

Really, you didn't see the gigantic car seat in the back seat when you turned around to back out of the driveway???? I simply find that hard to believe!

I'm am thanking God for Mother-in-laws and Starbucks this morning! They are my saving grace :)

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Be My Healthy Valentine - Another Swap

I love Valentine's Day and I love getting fun packages. Janna has a great swap for Valentine's Day which is one of my personal favorite holidays!

You should sign up for the "Be my healthy VALENTINE SWAP"


hearts1

This is such a neat idea, and a great way for us ladies to get to know each other better!

Head on over to sign up, who knows, we might end up being partners!

sign up no later than Wednesday, February 3, 2011.

"Swap Followings" Link Party

I am very excited about this linky party! It is a way to gain new followers, but to also find new blogs to follow. I like that the hope is to gain lasting friendships with fellow bloggers!

If you are new to my blog, welcome! My name is Jenn and I love to craft, sew and play with my daughter. I am married to a wonderful man named Steve. We have a beautiful one year old daughter Olivia. We live in the Central Valley of California. It tends to be sunny and warm so we spend a lot of our time outside. My blog has so far been just a mismatch of random ramblings. My hope is for it to show more of my crafting and quilting along with ramblings from my daily life. My goal is to open an etsy shop in the next month or so. There are so many feelings and fears that go along with it, but that is a post in and of itself :) I hope you look around and become a follower. Please let me know in a comment that you are following. I would love to head over to your blog and follow as well.

Head over to Homemaker on a Dime and join the Link Party!

I will be doing a post on some of the blogs I find with a little feature about them. Hopefully you will also take a look at their page and find some new friends along the way.

Happy blog hunting :)

Monday, January 17, 2011

Finding My Happiness

I crave happiness. I search for that warm and fuzzy feeling. Sometimes I spend so much effort searching that I don't realize joy is staring me in the face! I shop and eat to feel content instead of looking around and being grateful for what I have. I have to constantly remind myself that I don't need a thing. Everything I need I already have is within my arms reach. This is my happiness!

I don't know what I would do without my husband. Steve has been such a support for me and I can always count on him being my rock. He has been with me through so many trials. He stays strong through the good and the bad. This isn't to say that we have our moments or that he doesn't drive me crazy! Let me tell you, he drives me crazy!!! I have grown so much in the last 7 years with him and I look forward to many more years of raising our family and growing together. There is no one I would rather be with!

This is the man I get to go to bed with every night and wake up next to every morning! I'm a lucky girl!!!

This picture melts my heart. He is so in love with our little girl. He is the father I always dreamt about. I am so glad Olivia will have such a strong dad to always count on. My step dad is amazing so I don't want to take any due credit away from him! But there is nothing like the bond between a daughter and her father!


How can I not smile when I see this picture?!? I can hear her laughter and shrieks! She makes everything right with the world!

I received this picture from Katey this morning. She started watching Olivia today!!! She was ready and available. What perfect timing!!! I am not going to worry about her going to school and leaving me with a day without daycare. I will take care of it when it gets closer and trust that God will provide all that we need. Even when I doubt He continues to provide! Olivia is very happy to reunited with her good friend Parker Dog!

My last post was about finding daycare and I was so frustrated. Katey came over on Thursday and we had a wonderful visit. It was so nice to catch up with her.

So here is to continued prayer and much happiness! Thank you for all your thoughts and well wishes!!! They mean so much to me!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Oh how I HATE finding daycare

I am on the hunt to find daycare for Olivia.

This sentence makes me cringe. It makes me want to cry. It makes me want to quit my job.

I know that I have very little to complain about. I was able to stay home full time with Olivia for almost her entire first year. She then went to a close friend who only had one other little boy about the same age. Due to pregnancy complications and a new baby we had to find someone else to watch Olivia. Steven's aunt stepped up and offered to keep Olivia, which turned into his cousin coming to our house and watching her. Mind you this has always been 3 days a week because I am fortunate enough to only work part time.

Now that Steven's cousin is close to having her baby she will no longer be able to watch Olivia and his aunt will be helping her so she doesn't feel comfortable keeping Olivia for the three days a week. Are you still with me? It's been a little crazy and confusing... I know!

So I'm in the situation I dread. Finding someone who will love my baby. Finding someone who will give her the attention and the structure she needs. I know daycare isn't a bad thing. But it's finding a daycare that I trust.

I wish with all my penny's, on all the stars that I could stay home full time. There is just no way. It just isn't feasible right now.

I talked to my friend who originally watched Olivia and she is going to start school but will try to rearrange her schedule to be able to keep her on Mondays and Tuesdays! SCORE!!! When she texted me that she could possibly work it out I had tears run down my face. Yes I was at work! I couldn't stop them. Just the thought of having my little girl be with someone that I COMPLETELY 100% trust is beyond words. There is no price I wouldn't pay! (OK hopefully she doesn't read this... just kidding! I would be forever indebted to you!)

Please pray that we find what is right for us and what is best for Olivia. Until then I will be an utter mess!

I needed a smile and this picture always makes me smile!