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Favorite Food Finds

2014 April 18

#oikos jalapeño dip

One of my newest food obsessions is Dannon’s Oikos Dip in Jalapeño and Salsa.  I go through about a tub a week.  My husband loves it too!  The dip tastes great with pretzels and chips or if I’m feeling really healthy, vegetables.  Sometimes the vegetables are in the form of veggie straws (I’m not sure if that counts as a vegetable).  Oikos Greek Yogurt Jalapeño & Salsa Dip is creamy with a little kick and will jazz up your snack foods. It makes me feel like I’m being decadent without all of the calories. read more…

Deviled Egg Topping Ideas

2014 April 16

My friend Angela loves to cook and try new recipes. She gets her love for cooking and sharing meals from her mother who is an excellent cook.  I’m happy to announce Angela will be a regular contributor to my blog.  At my recent ladies lunch, I sampled her deviled eggs topped with smoked salmon and capers and another with pesto and green onion.  Angela has inspired me to try some new combinations on top of my deviled eggs for this years Easter dinner.  I love taking an old classic and giving it a new twist.  I hope you enjoy her deviled egg topping ideas and instructions for boiling the perfect egg below.

 

#deviled egg topping ideas

 

read more…

Fairy Houses Spread Joy

2014 April 14

 

#log fairy house

 

It was a beautiful spring day last Thursday and I decided to skip the gym and go for a walk instead.  My friend and I walked a nature trail which backs up to a little farmstead called Deanna Rose which is in the middle of suburbia.  When my kids were younger we visited the farmstead at least once a week. I could write a whole blog post about Deanna Rose Farmstead, but today’s post is about little treasures I discovered on my walk.  These treasures are little acts of love and kindness that someone (or possibly several people) have left along the nature trail.  We came across about five or six fairy/gnome houses built inside trees and hollowed out logs.  Several had positive messages written on stones or inside the house. I had my iPhone with me and snapped tons of pictures.  I was so excited to come across these little houses that I knew I had to share them. read more…

Spring Tablescape & Tips for Table-Top Styling

2014 April 11

 

#spring tablescape

 

Spring is in the air!  I feel like we’ve finally turned that corner where it feels like spring is here to stay in the Midwest and not just teasing us.  I love entertaining pieces and styling food in different ways.   I recently hosted a lunch at my house with some of my friends who’ll be contributing recipes to my blog.  I was able to focus on decorating the table instead of worrying about preparing the food and put some of the things I learned from the online  Skillshare Class: Table-Top Sytling by Justina Blakeney.  I’ve enrolled in a few classes now through Skillshare and loved them.  The classes I’ve taken are mostly for fun and are inexpensive, quick and you have access to the material at any time. read more…

Asparagus Toasts

2014 April 9

 

#asparagus toasts

 

Asparagus season is upon us! This recipe for asparagus toasts is from my friend Kristin.  I’m excited to announce that Kristin will be a regular contributor on my blog and sharing some of her favorite tried and true recipes.  Kristin loves to cook and peruse recipes. She often adds or subtracts things to them to fit her own tastes.  She found this recipe for asparagus toasts in an issue of  Everybody Cooks from Dierbergs Family Markets several years ago.  She added the ham to the recipe and has also used a partial packet of ranch dry dressing mix in place of the Italian in the past.  I tasted the asparagus toasts with the Italian dressing and they were delicious. read more…

Wellness Tips for the Mind

2014 April 7

 

#breathe quote

source of quote

I love this quote I came across in the February issue of O Magazine by Oprah, “A healthy life is one that’s lived with the goal of making your body and mind feel nourished and alive.”   I started a weight training program several weeks ago with a friend and I’ve been trying to eat a little less sugar.  I still have room to improve on some of my eating habits, but I’ve tried to be a little more conscious about what I’m eating.  I still enjoy sweet treats  just not several times a day, seven days a week which used to be my norm.  I’ve noticed that I crave sweets when I’m feeling anxious, stressed or depressed.  The fact that I’m a woman and have hormones which fluctuate every week doesn’t help matters.

I’m very blessed in many ways, but I’ve been feeling stressed out this Spring.  My son will be graduating in May and in addition to all of my usual spring projects like planting flowers and sorting through closets, I have a party to plan.  If you need motivation to get some long overdue projects done in your house, just plan a party.   I can never focus on one thing at time so I’m redoing my half bathroom, purchasing new patio furniture, redoing my gallery wall in my upstairs hallway and have piles of things to get rid of in my basement.  In the meantime I receive a new email every day about a deadline that needs to be met for graduation.  I’ve also been scanning Pinterest for graduation party ideas.   My head has been swarming with to do’s, deadlines, and ideas.  I’m also attending the SNAP conference, doing a makeover on the look of my blog,  and celebrating a few family birthdays these next two months.

I’ll have lots of things to share in the coming months, but in the meantime I’ve learned I need to work on my mind and achieving some calm in my life. I need to release the need for perfection and just be present to enjoy working on those projects that bring me joy.   I also need to spend less time thinking and more time doing.  I wrote a post last spring titled Spring Clean Your Mind.  I went back to revisit some of the thoughts I want to release and those thoughts I want to nurture. 

Many people are busy during the Spring season.   Mom’s, accountants, pastors and teachers all have extra activities and things that need to be done.  It’s  important to work on nurturing your mind as well as your body.  When my mind is stressed out my body feels it.  I get backaches and my blood pressure rises.  A few things that help calm my mind are: prayer, journaling, creating to do lists, reading inspirational books, talking to friends or my husband about my worries, enjoying a glass of wine and engaging in a mindless activity like watching TV or a movie.  As far as physical activity goes I really enjoy yoga.  You can read about some of the many benefits of yoga here.  I’m also enjoying doing the following video from time to time because it only takes seven minutes and forces me to focus on my breath.  I discovered it from a post by Jess Lively on How Presence Can Be Strengthened.  She gives great examples of strengthening your intangible muscles.

 

 

What are some ways you cope with stress this time of year?  Please share in the comments.

10 Adorable Easter Ideas

2014 April 4

#10 Adorable Easter Ideas

Easter is in a few weeks and Pinterest has been flooded with of all sorts of Easter and Spring ideas. These are 10 of my favorite ideas which I’ve come across during my many hours of pinning things on Pinterest. read more…

Why I’m Not a DIY Diva

2014 April 2
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bookshelf

 

It brings me joy to browse Pinterest and look at all the creativity in this world.  I’m in awe of the many DIY bloggers who have the ability to turn trash to treasures.  Truth be told, I’m also JEALOUS.  I don’t love to paint and I’ve never used a power tool.  I also don’t have a lot of patience.  However, I frequently like to change and spruce things up around my home, especially this time of year.

Last spring I was inspired by these spring projects.  I completed project two which was spray painting my black metal bar cart a bright red.  What seemed like an easy project was actually time-consuming.  I primed it white first and kept seeing little bits of white in the tiny grooves.  I spent a lot of time trying to cover up little bits of white and still didn’t manage to get them all. At this point I should add perfectionist to my list of attributes.  I’ve learned DIY and perfectionism don’t mix.

Project one was adding fabric to the back of my living room bookshelves.  They are painted a dark brown (hired someone to paint them) and since I’m in a burlap phase right now I thought it would be cool to add burlap to the back of the them.  I thought I’d be clever and use glue dots which I use for scrapbooking instead of hot glue.  This was the result.

 

Bookcase DIY fail

 

The burlap didn’t even stay up for 24 hours.  In hindsight, I was fine with it because I needed a more contrasting color.  The burlap just blended in with the bookcase.  I haven’t attempted another makeover, but I’ve used the burlap for several other projects here and here.

A DIY Diva I am not, but I’ll continue to share easy projects and crafts that don’t require power tools.  I also have a great handyman who brings many of my ideas to life.  In the meantime, I’ll keep dreaming, hiring and sharing others work that inspires me like these:

Thistlewood Farms: hanging jewelry orgnanizerbookshelf hutch, chalkboard calendar

Liz Marie Blog: DIY Rustic Wood Tray, DIY Tea Towel Art

Shanty 2 Chic: Farmhouse Table, DIY Wall Art, Chalkboard Serving Tray

 

Linking to: Ladies Only Blog Share

 

Breakfast Pizza

2014 March 31

 

#breakfast-pizza-recipe

 

My family loves to eat breakfast for dinner.  I love it because it’s an easy meal to make and often economical.  As hard as I’ve tried in the past, my kids rarely eat breakfast in the morning.  They just aren’t hungry first thing in the morning so we rarely eat breakfast as a family unless my in-laws are in town for the weekend.   The other exception is when my husband picks up Chick-fil-A chicken biscuits.  I’m also not a morning person and don’t care to cook that time of day.  However, I do like casseroles I can assemble the night before and just pop in the oven.

 

#breakfast-pizza

 

This breakfast pizza recipe is easy to assemble and makes a hearty meal.  You can pair it with some fruit or a smoothie for a complete and budget friendly meal.  This recipe is part of a budget friendly family meal recipe exchange I’m participating in.  For lots of other budget friendly meal ideas check out the links provided.

 

Breakfast Pizza
5.0 from 1 reviews
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Recipe type: breakfast or dinner
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 lb. sausage
  • 1 pkg Pillsbury crescent rolls
  • 1 c frozen hash browns, thawed (I used the shredded)
  • 1 c sharp cheddar cheese
  • 6 eggs
  • ¼ c milk
Instructions
  1. Cook sausage and drain.
  2. Separate rolls and press into ungreased 9×13 pan. Press together and up sides.
  3. Spoon sausage over crust.
  4. Sprinkle on potatoes and top with cheddar cheese.
  5. Beat eggs and milk and pour on top.
  6. Bake at 375 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes uncovered.

 

#15 Budget Friendly Family Recipes

2.  Mommifried - Easy Beef Stroganoff
3.  City Girl on Hicks Farm - Honey Garlic Pork Chops 
4.  One Tipsy Chick - Turkey Tostada with Avocado Cream 
5.  Baking in a Tornado - Individual Taco Pies
6.  From Foreclosure to Frugal - Deli Sandwich Roll up
7.  PinkWhen - Baked Pork Chops
8.  Joyful Scribblings –  Breakfast Pizza
9.  Adventures of a Jayhawk Mommy –  Sweet & Sour Pork Chops and Outback Baked Potatoes
10.  Working on Working Mom –  Homemade Vegetable Stock
11. Foody Schmoody - Crock Pot Chicken Caesar Wraps 
12.  (a)Musing Foodie - Baked Ziti
13.  Stop Lookin’ Get Cookin’ - Marinated Grilled Chicken
14.  A Peek Inside My Paradise - Weight Watchers Supreme Breakfast Biscuits
15.  Close to Home - Stuffed Peppers

 

 

Easy 50th Birthday Party Ideas

2014 March 28

#birthday-cupcake-display

 

I recently hosted a 50th Birthday party for my friend Christine.  We had a fun girl’s night with lots of laughs, an assortment of appetizers and cocktails.  I consulted trusty Pinterest to help me plan for the party, but was a little disappointed in that I just didn’t see anything that wowed me.  I also made a trip to Party City for inspiration, but once you turn 40 everything is Over The Hill and in black.  I wanted this party to be fabulous, personal and rustic glam. read more…