He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart;
he gently leads those that have young
. {Isaiah 40:11}

31 January 2011

I have a decision to make...

To get it out of the way... no, it's nothing serious and yes, I'd love some input.

Fact: Baby Bean will  be here in 4 months. That may sound like a lot but the reality is that time flies and I will be screaming for an epidural in no time!
Fact: Miss Mak is currently in her own room...
Exhibit A:
Fact: Across the hall from Mak is CJ's very own room
A Slightly Outdated Exhibit B:
Fact: Baby Bean needs a home. Miss Mak is moving into big brother's room and I have no idea what to do, if anything, to merge the two monkeys. Oh yeah... and should I do anything to make Baby Bean's room her own? {I'm a HUGE fan of making everybody feel special and I don't want Bean to someday ask my why she didn't get her own room and had to live with Mak's hand-me-down-room. Things like the furniture, paint, and possibly the rug will stay {though I have a couple other rugs I can try out instead}, but I'm wanting to make her her own quilt soon and wondering if I should change curtains or anything else to match and make the room "hers".}

28 January 2011

Other People's Genius {Valentine}

I'm constantly in awe of what other people come up with. I realize that "there is nothing new under the sun" but these people... oh they're just too crafty for me. I wish I had time and purpose for every cute thing I come across but I don't. However, that doesn't mean I can't love it and share it with you! 
Have a wonderful weekend and don't forget about the Baby Bundles for Haiti... {more info is right up there on the top left}
super sweet love note from Flamingo Toes 

easy custom notecard idea from Twelve Crafts Till Christmas
{you could stitch around the edges of your pictures for a little extra summin' summin'}

inexpensive and simple paper hearts from How About Orange

sweet paper valentines from MADE

super cute and ridiculously simple heart-paperclip from How About Orange

couch decor for the lovey day from Just Another Day in Paradise

the easiest heart garland ever Made By Rae

cute embellished onsies from Noodlehead

"hello dollar store flowers!" with The Idea Room

c'mon! exploit those kiddos! {in an insanely cute way, of course} with 27-7-365

sweet pillows from V and Co.

fabric decor {anyone have an old red tshirt they're not using?} with BloG'n TeLL

I've seen coupon books but THIS is commitment! Tatertots and Jello

get it? "i. dig. you.?" from In Place of Her Crown

super cute and from Crap I've Made

27 January 2011

{A.T.K. Pizza and Cricket's Garlic Rolls}

Wow! These were a winning combination for sure!
We made the ATK pizza for dinner the other night. Next to Ina's grilled pizza dough, this was definitely my favorite. Not only was the flavor really tasty but the method was so quick and easy to clean up after. Hello, food processor! I paired these with Cricket's Cafe's garlic rolls. Oh.My.Goodness!

America's Test Kitchen Pizza
{photo courtesy of Home Cooking In Montana}
What You'll Need: {makes two average sized pizzas}
4 1/2 c bread flour or all purpose flour
2 1/4 t {one envelope} of dry active yeast
2 T olive oil
1 1/2 t salt
1 1/2 c warm water

What To Do:
Pulse 4 cups of flour, the salt, and the yeast in a food processor fitted with a dough blade until mixed. While running, add oil and water through the feed tube on the top. Mix until a rough ball is formed (30 to 40 seconds). Turn off the mixer and let sit for two minutes. Then pulse for another 30 seconds.

Turn the dough ball out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until a smooth ball can be formed (about 5 minutes). Form into a ball, place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic and let it sit in a warm spot until doubled in size (about 1 1/2 hours).

When ready, punch down dough. Turn out onto work surface and cut in half. Roll or stretch the dough to fit your pans and top. Bake at 500 until cheese has melted and crust just starts to brown.

Don't have a food processor? No problem! Head over to food.com to see how.

Cricket's Cafe Garlic Rolls

What You'll Need:
4-9 fresh cloves of garlic, minced
2T Dried Parsley
1T Dried Thyme
1 Cup Olive Oil
2 packages of Pillsbury Bread Sticks {I used 1 package of crescent rolls}
Kosher Salt

What To Do:
Add first four ingredients into a glass jar and share to mix. Let sit. The longer the better. {I let ours sit for a couple of hours but I'm guessing you could go days.}
Open your package of bread sticks or cresent rolls. Seperate the pieces and, if using bread sticks, cut into three strips. If using crescent rolls, cut triangles in half to make two skinny pizza slice shapes. Tie into knots.
Bake as directed until lightly browned but not overdone. Using a basting brush, brush on the oil mixture and serve hot.

You can find the original recipe and others like it at Cricket's Cafe

26 January 2011

Why Women Rule!

My wonderful friend, Natalie, shared this with me yesterday
and I had no choice but to pass it on. 

1. I give this man serious props for being willing to try and 
2. I think sweet hubs needs to see this A.S.A.P.!

25 January 2011

Baby Bean Needs a Blanket

Sweet Pea number three is well on her way. Oh yeah... did I mention it's a "her"? I'd love to share the pictures of our little beauty however she was just plain shy and hid everything but her face during our 20 week ultrasound. {She's has some sturdy lookin' ribs and an adorable little behind, that's for sure!}
None the less, she's coming in just a few months and I'm finally starting to think about what to make her. If you remember, I made Miss Mak's quilt less than a year ago and I LOVE how it came out. Now I'm ready for another but I don't want just any quilt. 

The Problem: Many MANY quilt patterns are country looking and very structured. I most definitely prefer modern takes on vintage patterns.
The Solution: I stumbled onto Film in the Fridge today... now THIS is what I'm talking about!Ashley not only has pure sewing and quilting talent, she has beautiful taste in fabrics... I'm coveting big time, right now.

I'm particularly fond of her Starburst Quilt
and her Flea Market Fancy Quilt
and... her Wonky String Quilt 
ahhh!!! and her Spotted Squares Quilt
aaaand this... which I can't find a name for but love it all the same... 

Okay... I'm seriously so excited and inspired by these quilts that my hands are shaking! It's a good thing it's snowy out there because JoAnn's would be a very dangerous place for me to be right now!
Now... which to make?! 

24 January 2011

Baby Bundles for Haiti

My dear cousin, Jake, and his wife, Wendy, have taken on a beautiful task since the earthquakes of 2010. Jake and Wendy had the intention of starting their own orphanage in honor of their daughter, whom they lost tragically during the summer of 2009. Through their research it became clear that many of the orphanages already existing in the area desperately need assistance and they opted to work to bring the current facilities back to working order and even improve them to fulfill their mission.

Sometimes missions and projects like this seem so far away and easy for others but, in this case, the reality is that you can get involved. As always, your monetary support is welcome and you can check out their site for more information. However, this time there is another way you can get involved. Wendy is collecting Baby Bundles between now and the first week of March to bring down for the orphanages and for new mommies in the surrounding villages. If you are interested in donating items, you can do so in the New England area by getting in contact with me or, if you're in the Delmarva area, by connecting with Wendy through their site. If you'd like to donate funds for Wendy to purchase the items you can send your $15-20 donation to: 
65 Knights Island Rd. Earleville, MD  21919 or, again,  through their site.

If you want an excuse to shop, the ingredients are as follows...
2 receiving blankets
2 infant hats
1 pkg small onesies
1 bar of baby soap
1 bottle of hand sanitizer
1 baby rattle
Place all items in the center of one of the receiving blankets. Use the sides to "wrap" it like a present. Use a ribbon or a string to wrap around the bundle to secure it. Please be sure to remove all tags, stickers, and packaging. Also, place the hand sanitizer in a small ziplock bag. All items should be new or gently used.

22 January 2011


Okay... only because I know that you're DYING to know...
I'm ALMOST done!

As promised... the name has changed as has the look. I needed this desperately.
I'm still working out a few kinks {the blurry header picture that I can't seem to "un-blurr"} and a few little tweaks here and there.
Overall though, I'm happy with where this is going.

Whew! I know far too much about HTML now, though. I wish I could have paid myself to do this..
"Ooooh, Dear Hubs!!"

Yeah right.

20 January 2011

Bare With Me, Please

So... I'm thinking about making some changes...
I've been working on my blog for about a year now and feel as though I finally have a good sense of where I'm going with all this...

The name will change...
The look will change...
There's a chance that over time, the look will change again...

My mom said I'm allowed to change my mind because I'm a woman.

If you're worried... the content will be more of the same.
I'm just finally adapting to what this has become.

I hope you'll continue to take the ride with me.
I promise, I'll try to avoid any toss-ups like this in the future.

Maple Snow Candy

Okay... I'm taking a sort of break today because I had to share this from Rosy-Posy... 
 C'mon! How cool is that?! 

19 January 2011

Buying Organic on a Budget

To put it simply... there are certain fruits and veggies that either have more pesticides used on them or absorb more pesticides when they're sprayed. It's ideal to buy organic but it's usually not the most budget friendly way of eating so if you're overwhelmed by the price tags and aren't sure where to start... here's a good place.

A couple general rules that I'm familiar with are:
1. Plants absorb nutrients through their leaves and roots so things like lettuce and carrots make sense to buy organic. 
2. Non-organic potatoes are often heavily sprayed to keep them from producing roots in storage. There is so much good nutrients in the skins of potatoes but if they're sprayed it's best to peel them.
3. If you have the chance, buy local. When buying at a local Farmer's Market you are much less likely to run into any of the unnecessary pesticides generally used for preservation and are way more likely to find heirloom varieties which haven't been genetically modified.
4. Look for the seal. In order to be Certified USDA Organic a product must not contain synthetic pesticides, bioengineered genes, petroleum or sewage based fertilizers. You can read more about their requirements at the USDA's Organic Certification website.
5. Don't be fooled! Be sure to carefully look over the labels. When something is labeled organic but lacks the seal from the USDA, it may not be as organic as you may think. {Same goes for "All Natural"}. According to the USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service requires that in order to be certified a product must be 95-100% organic. In order to claim that a product  is made with organic ingredients must be at least 70% organic but will not bare the seal. For items that consist of less than 70% each individual ingredient will be listed as organic.

18 January 2011

{Tomato Basil Soup}

{Pardon the blurry picture... I was so excited to eat it I didn't check to make sure the picture was good}
Okay, I'm a huge fan of plain ol' tomato soup with nothing but fresh goodies from the garden. No salt. No seasoning. However, I was told by a dear friend of mine that her sister had a recipe for an amazing soup so I gave in and gave it a try. This. Is. Delicious! I mean, SOOO good! It tastes like a soup you've find at an upscale bistro. {The key here being fresh ingredients.} Thank you, ladies, for sharing!

What You'll Need:
4 cups fresh tomatoes, cored, peeled and chopped (8-10) or four cups canned whole tomatoes, crushed
(I vote to skip the canned goods and go fresh. ALWAYS tastes better!)
4 cups tomato juice (or part veggie juice/part chicken stock)
12-14 basil leaves, washed fresh
1 c heavy cream
1/4 lb sweet unsalted butter
1/4 tsp cracked black pepper
lemon juice (optional)

What To Do:
Combine tomatoes, juice/and or stock in saucepan. Simmer 30 minutes.
Add basil leaves in and puree. (You can do this in small batches in a blender, food processor, or better yet, one of those handy hand-held food blenders, right in the cooking pan.)
Return to saucepan and add cream and butter, while stirring, over low heat. Garnish with basil leaves and seve with your favorite bread. 

17 January 2011

{Joe's Potato Cheddar Soup}

I had Joe's soup once and I couldn't get enough so I asked for the recipe. We've made it several times in our home and with all that snow piling up outside it seemed like the perfect time to share it.  

According to Joe...
"It all started at a small restaurant on the square in Murfreesboro, TN.  All Souped Up, now Stones River Grill, created some of the most delicious soups I've ever tasted including a tasty creamy potato.  Before we moved to Massachusetts, I tried to get the owner to reveal his secret recipe with no luck.  So began the search for my own recipe of a creamy potato soup that could compare and this is it.   I've been making it every fall and winter since and have brought it to our church's soup luncheons which is where Krystle experienced this perfect cold weather comfort food. Unfortunately I don't remember where I found this recipe, but it has been tweaked so much that I now call it my own. Fortunately for you, I'm not keeping it a secret... So Enjoy!"  

Joe's Potato Cheddar Soup

 {takes a little over an hour from start to finish}
What You'll Need:
6 pieces of bacon (or more), chopped
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
30 oz. chicken stock {I found that I needed a large 48 oz can}
4 medium yukon gold potatoes, peeled and diced
1 1/2 c milk
1 package country gravy
1-2 carrots, shredded
3/4 lb shredded sharp chedder cheese {Joe recommends Hoffman's Super Sharp White Cheddar at the deli}
What To Do:
In a sautee pan, cook bacon until brown and crispy. Using a slotted spoon, remove the bacon to a paper towel to dry.
Add onion and celery to the bacon grease and cook until onion is brown. Meanwhile, pour the chicken stock into a large soup pot and bring to a boil. Pour about a cup of hot stock into the sautee pan once the onions are done and bring to a boil. Add sautee pan ingredients to soup pot. Add potatoes to pot and simmer for 20 minutes until potatoes are soft.
Warm milk in the microwave or on the stove top and mix in the package of gravy mix {our family likes it a little less peppery so we only use a little less than a full packet}.
Add gravy mix to pot after the 20 minutes of simmering is up and stire. Slowly mix in cheese and stir until melted.
Finally, stir in carrots until well mixed and simmer for another 15 minutes, stiring occassionally.
Sprinkle with crumbled bacon before serving.

14 January 2011

{Pork Chops with Cran-Orange Sauce}

Psst... this is really another ATK recipe but I couldn't find it anywhere online. I did, however, find one so close to identical that I'm thinking it's the same one with teeny tweaks and I'm can all but promise that the results will be the same.
I only made this recipe because I thought Hubs would like it. We both ended up loving it! {I wouldn't share it with you otherwise.}I served this with quinoa that I cooked in one can of chicken stock plus 1/4 c water and 2 diced mushrooms with a pinch of salt. The sauce was amazing with this!

Sauteed Pork Chops with Cranberry Orange Sauce
What You'll Need:
For the pork:
4 boneless loin chops, 3/4 inch thick, brined if desired
salt and ground black pepper
1 Tbs. vegetable oil
For the sauce:
1 medium shallot, minced
1 1/2 cups orange juice
1 cup fresh or frozen thawed cranberries
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. minced fresh thyme
1 tsp. lemon juice

What To Do:
Pat the pork chops dry with paper towels, then season with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Lay the chops in the skillet and cook until light brown, about 3 minutes. Flip the chops over, reduce the heat to medium, and continue to cook until the centers of the chops register 135 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, 5 to 10 minutes.
Transfer the chops to a plate, cover with foil, and let them rest until the centers reach an internal temperature of 145 to 150 degrees (5 to 10 minutes).
While the pork chops rest, add the shallot and 1/4 tsp. salt to the oil left in the skillet, return to medium low heat, and cook until softened, about 2 minutes. Stire in the orange juice, scraping up the browned bits. Stir in the cranberries, broth, and sugar, bring to a simmer, and cook until the mixture measures 1 cup, about 8 minutes.
Pour any accumulated pork juices into the simmering sauce. Off the heat, stir in the thyme and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Spoon the sauce over the pork before serving.

13 January 2011

It's About Stinkin' Time!

I must apologize for just one second here... I have been a bit of an embittered New Englander. I grew up here. I left here for 5 years to the south for college and a year of married life. Then I moved back up here with the great anticipation of good winters with real snow. It may have taken me nearly four years to get it but here it is!!! 

Okay, griping over! 
From here on out it's nothing but appreciation and childlike giddiness! 
Enter gratuitous pictures of snow-laden goodness.  Enjoy!
 This is what two feet of snow looks like...
CJ couldn't stop eating the snow. Goob.
so daddy have to give him a lesson... "do NOT eat yellow snow!" "
What a stud!
 Deep, soft snow equals face full of fail!
 "Don't they know it's cold out there?"...
 it's far better in here with Opa!
We all warmed up with hot chocolate, freshly baked cookies, and a roaring fire all thanks to Oma!


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