Tuesday, November 30, 2010

One of the best parts about being an adult...

is that it is perfectly acceptable to have tomato soup and onion rings for dinner if we so choose.  :) 

After a few days of Thanksgiving leftovers, we were kind of over it, if that is even possible.  Neither one of us wanted to go to the grocery store and we both decided that we HAD to have onion rings.  This recipe is our go-to for "fried" veggies.  These are baked and perfect.  I actually prefer them over fried.  The actual recipe uses jalapenos and poblano peppers, but we used an onion and a zucchini.  The link also includes a recipe for homemade ranch, but we used this.  Here is the recipe, along with some bad photos...it gets dark too early now.  :)


  • 1 1/2 pounds jalapeños and poblano peppers [any veggie will do!]
  • 1 cup flour, divided
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons mustard, whatever variety you like
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs [We used Panko]
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • Salt and ground black pepper 
1.  Preheat oven to 400ºF. Set up 3 plates (we used bowls) on the counter; in one spread the flour, in the second beat the eggs with the mustard and about 2 tablespoons of flour, in the third combine the breadcrumbs, cheese and some salt and pepper.  [We added about a tablespoon of horseradish to the egg mixture for some kick.]

 2.  Coat the peppers in the flour, then in egg and finally in the breadcrumbs, pressing to make sure coating sticks. Roast peppers in the oven, turning halfway through baking until golden brown and crispy, about 18 minutes.

Serve immediately.  We also had this soup.  It was perfect:

Be sure to stop by tomorrow for some fun holiday gift ideas!  Have a great day!!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Eek!!...I love Christmas!

It's funny how things change. When I was a kid, the time from Thanksgiving until Christmas seemed like an eternity. Now it flies way too fast! Years ago, I never would have thought we would have a fake tree and would not even dream of putting it up until at least the first weekend in December...maybe the second.  Now, I am itching to get started before Thanksgiving. I did some decorating before Thanksgiving this year, but waited until this past weekend for the tree.  We have a mix of ornaments we have collected over the past few years, some from my college roommates, a few from when I was a kid, and a few I still need to make.

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!!  Ours was great!  I had fried turkey for the first time and can honestly say it was the best turkey I have ever had.  Now...off to sing Christmas carols!  :)

Happy Monday!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

*Our* Thanksgiving Table!

I have seen lots of tablescapes throughout the blogosphere this week, so I thought I'd share ours too!  We will be joining friends for Thanksgiving this year, but plan to have our own little family Thanksgiving meal on Friday!  Yay!!  If you remember, I mentioned I was inspired by this tablescape in the November issue of Real Simple:

I fell in love with the rather neutral color palette and since Thanksgiving food is full of color, I wanted the food to *pop*, not get lost in a sea of fall colors.  I know I am probably the only one who feels this way, but that's ok.  :)  ...and we need nothing fancy, just one plate, one fork, one knife, and one napkin each...simple!  Here is our dining space for Friday, inspired by the photo above:

our thank-you box, all ready to be opened after dinner

I am signing off for a few days.  Have a wonderful holiday weekend!...see you back here on Monday!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Just a little peek...

...at how I spent most of my Monday!  ...DECORATING for Christmas!!  Eeeeeee!!  I know I said I was going to wait until after Thanksgiving, but I just couldn't help myself!  I mentioned yesterday that this year I wanted a glam Christmas with lots of sparkle, so here is my take on that:

...more to come! :)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Four Things Currently Rockin' My World!

Happy Monday!  I hope you had a great weekend!!  I sure did!  Honestly, I am just giddy!  This time of year makes me insanely happy!  Family, gift-giving, parties, baked goodies...ahhhh...I just love it all!  With all that in mind, here are four things I am loving right now:

1. My family! :) I know I say how much I love them, but this photo was from last week and we were having the best day!  We went to the zoo during the week, no one was really there, the weather was beautiful, and it was a perfect day!  Too bad Connor was looking down!...this is perfect though, because I can never seem to get a photo of him.  He is always on the move.

2.  This tealight snow bell candle holder from Gold Canyon!  I went to my first Gold Canyon party this weekend and I think I may have found my new addiction!  I cannot wait for my items to arrive, so I can start continue decorating for Christmas!  This year, I am going glam...lots of glitter and sparkle!  :)

3.  Our filled shoe box that shipped yesterday!  Shoe box for what?...Operation Christmas Child, a project of Samaritan's Purse.  I don't think I have ever spoken about religion here, but this is just one of the fantastic organizations our church supports.  Their mission: "Samaritan's Purse is a nondenominational evangelical Christian organization providing spiritual and physical aid to hurting people around the world."  You can read more about Operation Christmas Child, here!

4.  I made the cookies I posted about last week!!  They were definitely great!  I still do not think I have found THE perfect cookie, but this recipe will be kept and used again for sure!

Have a great week!!...eek!!  It is almost Thanksgiving!  YAY!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Happy Weekend!

I plan to spend the weekend in the kitchen perfecting some recipes for Thanksgiving!  In my dream world, this would be my kitchen:

image source
The layout of this kitchen is really similar to mine, so this is now the inspiration I need to convince my husband that we either need to refinish, paint, or rip out our butt-ugly cabinets!...and while we're at it, buy all new appliances too...oh, and new lighting.  :)  I am going to pretend that this is my kitchen for the weekend and see how it feels.  I don't need anything super fancy...this one will do just fine.

Have a lovely weekend!!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Feeling crafty...

Can you guess how these were used?
As much as I wanted to hold off thinking about Christmas until at least after Thanksgiving, I am suddenly feeling crafty and want to do a few fun projects!  I have to think about them now because I need to have them finished in enough time to enjoy them for the entire month of December.  :)

I have fallen in love with the first project on my list and can't wait to organize my thoughts, gather my coupons, shop for supplies, and get started!!  Here we go:

1.  Make an Advent calendar.  We had a large one (made of felt, I think) on the inside of our front door growing up (I wonder if my parents still have it!  I may need to steal it if this project doesn't work out).  There was a large Christmas tree and a calendar underneath with tiny felt ornaments in each day's pocket.  Each day the ornament was placed on the tree.  I remember the ornament for December 24th was Santa Claus and that was my favorite one.  I remember being so excited each day as we got closer and closer to that Santa!  Since I am crazy about traditions, I want to start something similar for my son and any possible future children.

I have had this tutorial from The Purl Bee bookmarked for nearly two years and think I finally have the courage to attempt it!  Since I already have one sewing project under my belt, I think I am ready to at least give it a shot!  I can only hope mine will look even remotely as good as this one from The Purl Bee :

the materials

a close-up

Looking at the finished product, I feel confident that I can do it, but I have to admit that the step-by-step instructions are a tad intimidating.  I am hoping I can do it...or at least an acceptable version of it!!  This one is filled with sewing, quilting, and knitting supplies to be given to someone crafty.  I would obviously adapt this for our family...not quite sure how yet, but I will figure something out...some sort of small gift for each day.  We'll see.  Wish me luck!  Ha ha.

As soon as I get moving with this project, I will show more of my list!  :)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

On a hunt for the perfect chocolate chip cookie!!

[milk image source] [cookie image source]
It is no secret that I love to eat.  I could live on cheese, but I do not think I could live without a glass of milk and a batch of homemade chocolate chip cookies...I mean I could...but you know what I mean.  Every Christmas I make a ton of goodies for the wonderful folks who take care of our dog whenever we travel.  This year I want to find the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe and solely based on the photo above, I think I may have found it!  I came across this awesome blog, The Nerd's Wife (love the name, by the way!) and found this post about butterscotch chocolate chip cookies.  They look so perfect and I cannot wait to try the recipe!  I mean seriously, don't they look delicious?

Be sure to check out The Nerd's Wife!  And if you are as interested as I am, you can find the recipe for those cookies here!  I am hoping to try them out this weekend!...I will be sure to give an update.  :)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

I NEED an actual calendar...a paper one.

I used to carry a planner and I was attached to it.  I had everything written in it and never forgot a thing.  My husband kind of made fun of me and told me I needed to step out of the Stone Age and start using Outlook or some other online calendar that I could either access from our laptop or my phone.  I did that and since then, I have missed a few things!  I have either forgotten about appointments or double-booked us for things and it is making me crazy.  The problem is that I hated the reminders it sent me, so I turned them off and forgot to periodically check the calendar until it was too late and I had forgotten a birthday or missed a doctor's appointment.

I'm not sure if I want a desk calendar where I can see a whole month at a time or if a smaller journal-type planner would be best...but I do know that I need something where paper and a pen are involved...I guess I am just too old-school and I do not see that ever changing.  Here are a few that I find pleasing to the eye:

2011 Colorful Monthly Planner Box

2011 Calendar by The Fancy Lamb

2011 Quotable Calendar

2011 Paper Source Booklet Calendar
2011 Weekly Planner by Nicopapergoods
Yesterday morning my son had an allergy appointment and since my husband had taken the day off, we were all going to go together and then head out for some fun. The appointment was for 8am and for all of us to get showered, dressed, pumped full of caffeine, fed, and out the door it meant that I had to get up earlier than usual since I have to shower and do my hair and make-up before ever leaving the house. I applaud those who can roll out of bed and rush out the door, but I am just not like that (I got this from my mom.). Anyway, I got out of the shower, did my hair, yelled to my husband that he needed to get ready before our son woke up, went to make the coffee, and decided to check the reminder card to make sure that the appointment was for 8 and not 8:30. Well...it was for 8, but it was not for Monday morning...it was for TUESDAY!! Ahh!! We laughed about it and were both glad that I had gotten a jump-start getting ready since we had a fun-filled day planned after that appointment...but then got slightly annoyed because our son slept in til 8...which means WE could have slept in til 8, which hasn't happened in years!! Oh well..

Monday, November 15, 2010


Happy Monday!  I hope you had a fabulous weekend!  We had a great one and it is still going on for a few more days!  My husband took a few days off from work and we have been on a little staycation of sorts and have really been enjoying our surroundings.  I have to be honest, though...it is taking all of the restraint I have not to start thinking about Christmas preparations.  I feel like I start dreaming about decorations, gifts, and baking earlier and earlier each year and that needs to stop.

This holiday season I am determined to savor every single day and stay present!

click here for that fabulous gift wrap!
Each moment is like a gift and I am going to treat each one as such.  November has already been magical for us as a family.  As cheesy as that sounds, we have had so much fun being in the moment and enjoying each others company and everything around us...and some really great food and music thrown in there too.

Here is just a little glimpse into our lives over the past few weeks.  I just love my little family!

Great Cajun Cook-Off and Food Fest!...so much fun.
I mentioned here and here that we lived in New Orleans for nearly five years and miss that city terribly!  This festival took us right back!...and the proceeds went to five great charities!  It was great watching our son dance to the music and fall in love with Mardi Gras beads!

...then home to play with our doggie and chalk...and cars!

My birthday was perfect!
A 'Happy Birthday' message written in chalk, fun at the park, my husband's homemade Swedish meatballs (though he is not Swedish), and a red velvet cake from Nothing Bundt Cakes, complete with a tea light because my husband said I had to have a candle and he forgot to buy some = the best day ever!

at an art festival on the most beautiful day ever!...complete with funnel cakes and beer!
We learned a few valuable lessons yesterday at that festival...Never ever wear black pants on a day you plan to eat funnel cake:

 Also...do not attempt to get a family picture when your son is over-tired:

...And in case you decide it is a good idea to hang from a tree like a monkey, be prepared to have your hand ripped to shreds:

It seems like my life can sometimes just fly by without really enjoying it and I hate that.  I feel like sometimes I miss really fantastic moments because I am too focused on what's next..."What am I going to wear to that party?," "What am I going to bake for Thanksgiving?," "What color scheme do I want to use for our Christmas tree this year?"  ...but I can promise you one thing...none of those questions popped into my head in those moments pictured above...I was 100% present.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Starting a new family tradition...

(source of this fantastic piece)
I am slightly crazy when it comes to family traditions.  I want everything during the holidays to be the same as it was when I was a kid, is that too much to ask?  Sometimes it is...especially since I live on the opposite side of the country now.  Getting married and having a child and a dog certainly changes things and while I still hope to keep many of my family traditions, I also want to create new ones with my own little family.

Last week, I posted this collage of images I collected.  While it appears to be inspiration for a Thanksgiving table or perhaps just a bunch of random Thanksgiving items,  it's not.  By now, you know my mind works in weird things and seeing all of those things grouped together, actually inspired my new tradition:             Our Yearly Thank-You Box.

Here is the plan:

1.  For the entire month of November, each member of our family (my husband, my son when he is old enough, and I) will write down one thing each day (or every few days) for which we are grateful that year and place it in our thank-you box:

 2.  On Thanksgiving day we will open the box as a family and read what everyone wrote:


3.  Those will be recorded in our family gratitude journal under each year:

I am so excited to get this going!  I feel like gratitude should be a part of our daily lives and hope this little family project will help us to reflect back on the year as a whole and realize for how much we truly have to be thankful.  I also think it will be fun to look back at years past.

I do believe our dog is also interested in participating...

I am thankful that this blog is just my creative outlet and not my job because I am taking a few more days off without feeling guilty.  Have a great weekend!  I'll see you back here on Monday!  :)

[Sources for the images from the collage above can be found in this post.]