Monday, November 28, 2011

Love the Book!

This month's book club selection is one of my favorite books of the year. I have read just about half of the book, Pioneer Woman, and have loved every page! If you are looking for a great love story that makes you want to read page after page, you will love this book. This past holiday weekend was perfect for reading a book and catching up on some sleep. I look forward to finishing the book this week and will post a full review then. Stay tuned for my book club menu post later this week where I will be sharing lots of great recipes for next week's gathering. Happy Reading!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Be Thankful

Happy Thanksgiving! This sign says it all for a day full of cooking, baking, preparing the table, spending time with family, and feasting on a thanksgiving meal. This year will be my first Thanksgiving learning how to cook a turkey from beginning to delicious end. I look forward to waking up early and learning how to prepare everything for a perfect Thanksgiving meal at the end of the day!
I hope everyone has the opportunity to spend the day with the people you love! I am so thankful for my family, my friends, our home, my amazing job, and the joy that I have in my life. God has truly blessed me and I am eternally grateful for those blessings!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Homemade Laundry Soap

I have always been interested in the idea of making laundry soap from scratch, both to save money and to create a more green option for our household. While browsing Pinterest the other night, I discovered this blog with instructions from start to finish on how to make my very own laundry soap
This project only requires a few ingredients and a large bucket to mix everything in. This blog also suggests that you save milk cartons to bottle the batch of laundry soap (the recipe fills over 8 gallon milk cartons). I will be saving milk containers and laundry detergent bottles for the next couple months and then I should be ready to try this project. I am adding this idea to my winter to-do list and will post a review once I have made the laundry soap and tested it out.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Roasted Cinnamon Sweet Potato Fries

I have been in love with sweet potatoes for almost a year and love finding new and interesting ways to dress them up and enjoy them! This easy recipe came from Rachael Ray's magazine 'Everyday with Rachael Ray' and only needs 4 ingredients (sweet potatoes, EVOO, cinnamon, and salt/pepper).

Sweet Potatoes are on sale during the fall season in almost every grocery store and I was able to buy two large sweet potatoes for only 87 cents... a bargain! I enjoyed this recipe as a Sunday snack, but you could pair it with burgers, sandwiches, or leftover turkey this coming weekend. Another great note, sweet potatoes are the most nutritious vegetable you can find in the grocery store, so eat up!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Salsa Chicken Recipe

The recipe I made for dinner tonight was so easy and super delicious! This salsa chicken recipe is from and I found the link through the website Pinterest (I love love love this site).
I loved being able to use my homemade salsa in this recipe (see my post about making homemade salsa here). The salsa made this dish so moist and flavorful. I also loved that this recipe was healthy, each portion was only 287 calories and I served it with a small side of spanish rice. If you need an easy and healthy recipe, give this one a try!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Handmade Felt Christmas Bows

I love adorable craft ideas that are easy to make and very unique! These felt bows are from the blog Twig and Thistle and are perfect for holiday wrapping!
I will be visiting family for Thanksgiving weekend and these will be the perfect craft for my mom, my grandma, and me to make while the turkey finishes in the oven. The instructions are super easy to follow and the end result is a fun gift bow that can be reused for years to come.
If you are looking for a great quality felt to order for this project, check out Papertrey's website. You will need a rotary cutter, a cutting mat, a hot glue gun, and of course felt to complete this project. I can't wait to put together these precious bows and use them this year in my holiday gift wrapping!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Fabulous Party Supplies!

Planning and hosting parties is one of my favorite things to do! I love planning all of the details for a party and making sure each detail ties into an adorable party theme. There are so many great finds on the internet to go with your next themed party, and here are just a few of my favorites:
There are so many great party supply options online and affordable ways to add detail and the extra finishing touch to every party you plan. For additional party ideas, be sure to check out any of the blogs listed to the right (on my favorite blogs list) and enjoy planning your next great party!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Pumpkin Pie Bites

Sunday afternoons are perfect for baking and that is exactly what I have been doing today. It is cold and rainy outside and baking something pumpkin is the perfect fall treat and just the comfort food I needed.

These pumpkin pie bites were featured on my blog in September as part of my book club menu. I did not have time to make them then, but still wanted to put this recipe on my list of 'must try recipes'. This recipe was super easy (uses pre-made pie crust) and has built in portion control (bite size pumpkin pie instead of eating the whole pie). If you need an easy to make bite size treat for your next party, try these! Or just make a batch for yourself and have a few each day for a delicious fall treat... enjoy!

Adorable Pumpkin Craft

Do you ever encounter an idea or a project and wish you would have thought of it before someone else did?! Well, that is exactly what I thought when a friend made this adorable pumpkin for me. 
This pumpkin craft only requires a few supplies and the result is perfection! This pumpkin was made from a piece of dryer vent that has been spray painted orange and formed into a pumpkin shape. Then a few artificial leaves were adhered (a hot glue gun works best) to the top as well as a cinnamon stick and raffia. This diy project is super simple and very affordable. I love the unique look and who would have thought that a dryer vent would be the perfect crafting material?! I plan on making a batch of these next year as hostess gifts and last minute party decorations for all of the events and gatherings in the fall. Enjoy!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Homemade Salsa

About a week ago I participated in a Salsa Day at work with a few of my co-workers. We spent a Friday morning making batches and batches of homemade salsa. This was my first experience at canning and my first time making salsa from scratch. I really enjoyed the methodical process of canning and know that I will do it again. This salsa has been husband approved and has a good balance of heat.

Here is the salsa recipe for you to try: (recipe makes a batch for 11 pint jars)
  • 16 Cups of Tomatoes (peeled and cooked down) 
  • 4 Cups of Chopped Onions
  • 3 Cups of Chopped Banana Peppers
  • 3/4 Cup of Canned Jalapeno Peppers
  • 1/2 Cup of Oil
  • 1 Cup of Vinegar
  • 4 Cloves Minced Garlic (2 teaspoons)
  • 2 Tablespoons of Sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons of Salt
Scald tomatoes in boiling water and then peel and core the tomatoes. Place tomatoes core side down in a pan and simmer for 2 hours. Pour the juices off and chop tomatoes in the food processor. Then add the other ingredients and heat through in a large pot on the stove. Then follow the proper canning process and place the jars in a hot water bath for at least 10 minutes. 

Hope you make homemade salsa sometime soon! (It makes great hostess gifts with a bag of Tostitos Scoops and also a great Christmas gift for neighbors, coworkers, or friends.) Enjoy!

Friday, November 11, 2011

A Grateful Nation

Today is Veteran's Day and on behalf of my family, I would like to express a sincere thank you to all of the men and women that have served our country or are currently serving in the military. The freedoms we have as Americans should never be taken for granted and always remember, someone fought for you and someone died for you. Remember to thank a veteran or active duty military member today and each day you have the opportunity to. God Bless America!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

New Book Club Selection - 'Pioneer Woman: Black Heels to Tractor Wheels'

Book Club was great tonight, as always! We had a great time getting together and our host Sarah made cheese and chocolate fondue, which made the perfect dinner and delicious dessert combo! We also had a new member of the group join us tonight, Kristen. The girls loved her and I could tell that Kristen was having a great time chatting with our group. We didn't spend much time discussing the book Room since most of the girls were not a fan of this selection. We chose our next book (which I am thrilled about), and we will be reading Pioneer Woman: Black Heels to Tractor Wheels by Ree Drummond. I have been following Ree's blog for a few months (see my original post about her here) and have featured several of her recipes on my blog. I adored her Food Network show called Pioneer Woman (which will be back for a holiday special in December) and really enjoy her style of writing on her blog. I look forward to this love story book and can't wait to chat about the details with all of the book club gals next month. Happy Reading Ladies!

Book Club Selection Fail - 'Room'

Tonight is book club and I have to admit that I did not even make it through the first chapter of the book "Room". This book was horrible in my opinion... the style of writing was very difficult to understand and I could tell it was going to be a very dark book from the beginning of the first chapter. I am interested to see tonight if any of the girls finished the book and what their thoughts were. The perfectionist in me has a hard time not finishing a book before our book club meeting, but I had to finally call it with this one, give up, and not waste my time reading another chapter. I guess this is a great lesson in knowing that not all books will be great and readable. I am looking forward to seeing all the girls tonight and choosing our next selection!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Delicious Pumpkin Dip

I adore anything pumpkin this time of year and love new recipes that use canned pumpkin puree in new and delicious ways. This pumpkin dip is so simple and really delicious!

I love that this recipe only needs 6 ingredients... so simple! I served this dip with cut up gala apples and vanilla wafer cookies. If you need an easy fall recipe for your next party or family gathering, try this super simple delicious pumpkin dip! It is so good!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Favorite Craft Projects from Mish

One of my absolute favorite craft blogs to follow is called Mish Mash from Michelle Wooderson. Her creations are inspiring and truly amazing! I look forward to her blog posts on a daily basis and have bought several items from her Etsy shop to add to my handmade cards and craft projects. I wanted to feature a few of her craft projects that are my personal favorites and have inspired me to get crafty! Check out these amazing pictures and click on the link below each picture to find the detailed post and project instructions on her blog. Enjoy!
 Friendship Jar Fall Fillers Teacher Card - I love the wrinkle ribbon and the twine tied together!

Sparkly Holiday Gift Sacks - the glittered mini clothespin is my favorite and the jingle bell is the perfect finishing touch!
Tea for Two Pretty Paper Pouch and Card - this adorable gift pouch includes a card and tea bags for the perfect tea time gift!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Lasagna Recipes

Lasagna is a huge favorite in our house and I could literally feed my husband lasagna five nights a week. I love how you can make the traditional italian lasagna but then you can also make so many different variations on this classic. Here are few new variations on lasagna that I can't wait to try (and I am sure my husband will approve):
  • Petite Lasagna - adorable individual size lasagnas (perfect portion control too!)
I can't wait to try a few lasagna recipes that are different than the usual meat, cheese, and basil combination! I will post with a review once I make one (or all) of these great recipes... so stay tuned!