Thursday, December 29, 2011

Thrifted Thursday...

The other day B came home with a sack and said, "I was at the mall and I picked up a couple of things for you."  It wasn't Christmas, or my birthday...just because.  As a matter of fact, he was supposed to be shopping for himself, but ever the thoughtful guy he is, he moseyed on over to the ladies section to scout things out. He bought me two of the softest henleys in my favorite colors: grey and a light pink that's a cross between pink and lavender.  

B has impeccable taste, so I always trust his purchases.  But, what made it even better was his thriftiness...he bought them both for ten bucks total!  So, today B gets all the credit for Thrifted Thursday!
Oh, and on an unrelated topic, I'm dubbing December, 'No Coat December'...lately the weather has been unseasonably warm in Iowa.

shirt: gap ($5)
jeans: limited (thrifted)

Bracelet: forever 21

necklace: forever 21 ($1!!!!!)

Happy Thursday!!!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Barely Functioning...

The last few days has been brutal for two members of the Jackson 5...and I'm not talking about the wee Jackson's. 

The little Mr. has been bouncing into our room between 5:00 and 5:30 am, requesting everything from a lost stuffed animal to breakfast and everything in between.  At some point he recruits his sister to join him and before long, our bed has gained two new members along with jabbing knees and elbows.

I adore my children, I really do.  But, I believe this nifty device will be making it's way into our home in the very near future...

Please Lord...I just want to sleep until 7:00 am.

The mommy of early risers

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Thrifted Thursday: Mathematic Equations...

One pinstripe shirt +sweater+comfy jeans= my new favorite outfit.
I wore this outfit to church on Sunday, and loved it so much that I wore it again on Tuesday.  I'm pretty sure I'm going to wear it next week too.  I would have NEVER done that back in high taboo ha!

sweater:  target (really old)
pinstripe shirt: gap kids (thrifted)
jeans: the limited (thrifted
shoes: urban outfitters
vest:  fossil

But who cares right?  Why not wear something you love over and over (washing in between...or not...your choice) because it works for you and you love it?  

Happy Thursday friends!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Traumatized By A Christmas Tree...

Every year as we place the first ornament on our Christmas tree, B and I often ask one another, "Remember our first tree?"  And then we laugh and laugh and quickly reiterate our vow made 10 years ago, "We will never again have a real tree."  

The year was 2001.  We were a couple of newlyweds celebrating our very first Christmas married.  We were wavering between a real or artificial tree, when a sweet couple at our church offered to let us cut down a tree from their acreage...for free!  We were way excited about that, so we drove B's little Chevy Z-24 to their farm loaded with some rope and bungee cord, and set out to find our tree.  It all seemed very nostalgic and romantic and I have to admit, B was pretty handsome playing the role of lumberjack.

With the help of our friends, we loaded up the tree (on top of our teeny car) and headed home after receiving a bit of advice:  place the tree in a bucket of water and let it sit outside overnight so the scent isn't overpowering.  No problem.

After letting the tree sit overnight...

We brought her in and decorated her...

A few weeks went by, and we were still congratulating ourselves on a job well done.  One evening, I was sitting near the tree admiring the lights, when I noticed a fine white thread in the branches.  I reached up to remove it, when I noticed another thread.  
And another. And another.

Upon closer inspection, I realized the tree was covered with the threads...or webs.  And then I saw it...a teeny, tiny, spider lowering itself from a silken thread.  But there wasn't just one spider...he brought along several of his spider friends and they were partying it up in my tree.

Apparently, the spiders were hibernating in the tree for the winter, and had mistaken the warmth of our home for summer and decided it was time to come out and play.  Gross.

I ran to get B and screamed that spiders were everywhere and that I was pretty sure they were now crawling all over me.  Probably an exaggeration.

So, B carried the hulking tree back outside, with me doing the hebejebe dance behind him. We took ourselves down to the local hardware store and purchased a few bug bombs to set off in the apartment while we left for a few hours to make sure the little beasts were gone.  We came back to a nasty, foggy, mess and began a lengthy clean-up process.

I'm pretty sure this is the reason you're not supposed to just go and chop down some random tree out in someone's field.  I mean, that is why there are tree farmers and little stands set up in abandoned parking lots with perfectly fresh trees that I imagine are debugged as a free service to all paying customers.

So, while you're enjoying the fresh Christmasy scent of your live (bug free) tree, I'll be bringing out the box containing our tree, and place the 'branches' in the little metal slots. Then, branch by branch I will fluff it out, trying to convince myself of how 'real' it looks.  
Yeah.  Not even close.

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Meatless Monday: Roasted Vegetable Pizza...

Hi friends!  I hope you had a wonderful weekend!  We sure did in the Jackson house!  Friday night we attended a Christmas party with all of our international friends and had an awesome time!  Then Saturday, B and I had a Christmas shopping date while the kiddos played with friends.  We topped it all off last night with a trip in the car with the kiddos to look at Christmas lights in a few neighborhoods around town.

Weekends usually mean a departure from healthy fare for us, so it's always nice to start Monday off with a meatless meal.  A dear friend  brought this roasted vegetable pizza to us shortly after one of our kiddos was born.  Is it sad to say I don't remember which kiddo for sure?  Anyway, it's super easy, and if you don't want to make your own crust, you can just buy one of the prepared pizza crusts at the grocery store, and I won't even judge you!  But, I will give you bonus points for making your own alrighty?
Let's get started.

Roasted Vegetable Pizza

1/2 an eggplant, diced small
1/2 red onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
3-4 roma tomatoes, diced
1-2 garlic clove(s), minced
sprinkling of kosher salt and pepper
drizzle of olive oil
sprinkling of Italian seasoning (optional)
2-3 Tbs prepared basil pesto
8 oz pkg mozzarella thinly sliced (I don't use pre-shredded, but you can if you'd like)
1 recipe pizza crust (recipe below) or store bought pizza crust


Preheat oven to 475 degrees.  Chop all of the vegetables and place in a metal baking pan.  Drizzle with olive oil and season with kosher salt, pepper and Italian seasoning (all to taste).  Toss to coat all the vegetables and roast in the oven about 25 minutes or until vegetables begin to brown.

Spread pesto over the bottom of the *pizza crust making sure to spread to the edges (you don't want a thick layer of pesto, just enough for flavor).  Place roasted vegetables over the pesto (you'll have some vegetables left over).  Top with mozzarella cheese and bake 15- 20 minutes or until cheese begins to brown.

Pizza Dough
4 1/2 C. flour
1 3/4 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp yeast
1/4 C. olive oil
1 3/4 C. cold water

Stir together dry ingredients.  Add oil and water and mix with a mixer using the 'dough hook' until ball forms (dough will be very sticky).  Oil a bowl and let dough sit covered with a towel for about an hour before using.  Divide dough for pizzas (can make 2 large or 4 small) pressing out onto a pizza pan or aluminum foil.  You can crimp the edges to form and edge crust like the picture above, or simply pat it out thin Neapolitan style.  Top with toppings and bake.  Mid-way through baking, remove the pizzas from the baking pan and bake directly on the rack (about 10 minutes) to crisp up the crust.

*If using homemade dough, pre-bake the crust for 10 minutes before  putting on toppings, as the roasted vegetable toppings are heavy and can tear the dough.  After you've topped your pizza, bake for another 10 minutes or so on the baking sheet, then slide pizzas directly onto the oven rack to bake another 10 minutes to crisp the crust.  

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Thrifted Thursday...A Haiku...

I'm out of words today.  So here is a haiku:

Wide leg jeans.
So roomy and so comfy.
They were out,
Now they're in.

denim jacket:  gap (from high school--does that make it 'vintage'?)
cardigan: AE
striped tank: target
wide-leg jeans: thrifted (Limited)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Christmas Decor and Little Fingers...

If your kiddos are like my wee ones, then your tree has been decorated and re-decorated several times over already.  Can I get an amen?  A couple of years ago, I actually swapped out all of my gorgeous glass ornaments for plastic balls in a similar color.  It just wasn't worth the risk of breaking glass, and selfishly, I just wanted to enjoy the tree and not worry about little hands moving things around when I wasn't looking.  Thankfully my little ones mind the 'no touch' rule in other people's homes (so please still invite us to your Christmas parties).

This year we got the kids their very own tree for their bedroom.  It's just a little pre-lit table-top jobby (for around $8 at Wal-Mart), but they love it!  I knew this tree was for the little ones to have fun with, so I decided soft and safe would be our motto.  I found these really great handmade ornaments for inspiration on pinterest and loved them:

I had some scrap felt leftover from a previous project, so using the Pinterest board for inspiration went to work to create a similar look for the kid-tree.

I decided against traditional Christmas colors and just worked with what I had, but I loved it in the end.  All it took was a little hot glue and some quick hand stitches (on the trees--purlbee has an easy-to-follow tutorial) and the ornaments were finished in a few hours time.  The little boy and girl skaters were scored on the cheap at Walgreens of all places.

It turned out to be a fun little project and the kids are having a great time moving the ornaments around on their tree.  I think we may have found a new tradition of making new ornaments for their tree each year!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Meatless Monday: Roasted Vegetable and Blackbean Enchiladas...

**I made a correction to the recipe below...please note that you should use 2 pkg of baby bella mushrooms (8 oz each).

Is it Portabella or Portabello?  I googled the fungi, and it came up that both were I'm going with Portabella in this post.

Either way, I tend to prefer meat in my Enchiladas...usually chicken, but occasionally beef.  But, then I came across this recipe on Pinterest, and knew I had to give it a go for Meatless Monday...oh, man are they good.  Unfortunately, my camera battery was dead to capture the enchiladas in all their glory, so you'll have to drool over these delicious photos from Perry's Plate...

I made a few changes from the original recipe.  I didn't have time to make my own enchilada sauce, so I used two cans (one mild and one medium) of enchilada sauce, adding sauteed shallots, garlic, cumin, paprika, and a roasted poblano to give it a bit more flavor.  I also roasted the red bell pepper for the filling right along with the mushrooms and onion to save myself a step (I didn't have a jar of roasted red peppers on hand).

Overall these were a hit!  I hope you enjoy them!

Roasted Vegetable and Blackbean Enchiladas
adapted from Perry's Plate

For the Sauce:
*One poblano pepper 
(roasted until blackened over the open flame of a gas stove)
 2 Tbs vegetable oil
1 small shallot finely chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp paprika
2 cans enchilada sauce
1/2 cup fresh cilantro for garnish
4 oz Queso Fresco 
1/4 cup shredded cheddar/jack

2 red bell peppers, seeds removed and finely chopped
2 pkg (8 oz. each) baby bella mushrooms, thinly sliced
1/2 red onion, diced
olive oil for drizzling
kosher salt and pepper to taste.
1/4 tsp cumin
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
12 corn tortillas (I used white corn)


In a large roasting pan, add chopped red peppers, mushrooms and onion.  Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt pepper and cumin. Roast for 10-20 minutes at 475 degrees or until vegetables are brown and tender.  When vegetables are done, transfer to a large bowl and stir in blackbeans.  

Using tongs, roast poblano until blackened on all sides over the open flame.  Place in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap and set aside to steam for about10 minutes.  Rinse poblano under water to remove blackened skin.  Remove stem and seeds and chop finely.  In a saucepan, saute shallot in olive oil until tender.  Add garlic, poblano, cumin and paprika and cook for about 30 seconds.  Add enchilada sauce and reduce temperature to a low simmer.    

Spray a 9x13 pan with nonstick spray and spread about 1/2 cup of enchilada sauce in bottom of pan.
To assemble enchiladas, warm tortillas in microwave about 20 seconds.  fill each tortilla with about 2-3 tablespoons of filling, roll up and place seam-side down in baking pan.  Repeat with remaining tortillas.  Pour remaining enchilada sauce over enchiladas and top with cheddar/jack and crumbled queso fresco.  Bake in a 375 degree oven about 25 minutes or until golden and bubbly.
Top with chopped cilantro and serve.

*If you're not a fan of poblanos, you can certainly skip want to make sure to roast them completely and remove all seeds as they can pack a little punch in the spice department.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Ideas For An Engaging Advent...

Hi friends!  I can't believe it's the 2nd of December already!  The last several weeks, I have been pinning ideas on Pinterest to come up with a way to incorporate Advent in our family.  In the past we did sort of a countdown to Christmas, but this year our wee ones are old enough to really get involved.  I wanted the celebration to be Christ centered, and really focus on what this season means for our family!  I really wanted our Advent celebration to be about loving Jesus, serving others and having fun as a family.

I saw so many cute Advent ideas, but ultimately decided on a simple (and free!) paper chain printable from here.  

I decided against printing on both sides of the paper, and instead hand wrote our Advent activities on the unprinted side of each slip of paper.

I searched all over the internet for activity ideas, but really sort of struggled coming up with an exhaustive list. It took a while, but we finally came up with some activities that are a good combination of just plain fun, and some that are meaningful for our family!  We started yesterday with Day 1, and our kids are already having a great time!  I am happy to share how we are celebrating Advent, and maybe something will be a good fit for your family this season!

Day 1...Each child pick out a new toy to donate to another child     for Christmas.
Day 2...Make Christmas cards and send them to grandparents.
Day 3...Make gingerbread cookies.
Day 4...Watch a Christmas movie in our jammies.
Day 5...Learn about Christmas celebrations around the world and pray for the various countries.
Day 6...Have an indoor picnic dinner.
Day 7...Make a card and gift for teachers.
Day 8...Visit our friends at the nursing home.
Day 9...Watch a Christmas movie.
Day 10...Take a drive and look at Christmas lights with our international friends.
Day 11...Make an ornament for the tree.
Day choose dinner!
Day 13...Play board games with mommy and daddy.
Day 14...Read the Christmas story from Luke 2 during bedtime devotions.
Day 15...Go to the library to check out Christmas books.
Day 16...Make cupcakes to celebrate Jesus and share them with friends.
Day 17...Go to an indoor play place to have some fun.
Day 18...Make a card and Christmas treats for daddy's work.
Day 19...See mom for a special treat after dinner.
Day 20...Act out the Christmas story.
Day 21...Drink hot chocolate.
Day 22...Pick out food to donate to the church food pantry.
Day 23...Make a nativity craft.
Day 24...Listen to Christmas music and have a dance party.
Day 25...It's Christmas!  Spend the day praising God for our Redeemer!  

Happy Friday friends!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Thrifted Thursday...Those Boots Again...

I don't remember with whom I was having the conversation...maybe my grandma...maybe my sister, but it went something like this:
"I love your boots!"
Me gloating grinning: "Thank you!  They're thrifted!"  
My gloating ended as B piped up, "Yeah, and she'll never take them off of her feet as long as the weather is cold.  I can bank on not seeing her calves until Spring."
Not only is he handsome and insightful, but sarcastic as well.

He's right's yet another thrifted outfit post with my boots as the main attraction: thrifted.  Garden...dead.

Anyone know how to get rid of the boot muffin top?  I tuck and tuck my jeans in all day and still they stretch out and over-floweth.

Paisley scarf: via swap party

Wrap bracelet: Wal-mart
Watch: Donna Karen

Happy Thursday friends!