Thursday, November 29, 2012

my cyber monday deals

Sheaffer at Pinterest Told Me To is having her first linky party today, open for all to share great deals & steals on recent fashion purchases.  I am usually on a strict budget since I can’t quite justify new clothes as necessities, but figured Cyber Monday prices were too good to miss out on.  They may get wrapped up as our Christmas presents!

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So, I love the new JCP look, and their new brightly-colored, modern advertising.  In a small town with few shopping options, I am grateful to have a staple department store like JCP.  They have quality clothes for very reasonable prices.  Because of this, I went straight to their website on Monday to look for deals.

 
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I only paid $24 for this jacket!  I like the fancier alternative to my usual cardigan.

 
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Paid $20 (as of today, still the current price). Isn’t the color gorgeous?

 
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And only paid $15 for these almost leather-looking pants!

 
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The black jeans looked great on these mannequins at the mall! I had my eye on that gold sequin shirt too, but unfortunately it was sold-out online.
What would have been $89, I paid $59… with no shipping & handling fee, and no tax.
 
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And while I’m sharing, I bought Steve his first two pairs of American Eagle jeans, since his staple Old Navy ones are ripping.  They were on sale for $22 each, again with free shipping and no tax. :) 
 
That makes only $103 for four pairs of jeans, and a jacket.  Good, right?
 
Have a wonderful Thursday!
 
[You can also visit found in my closet, wine taste girl, and get your pretty on to see their fave deals.]

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

the mix-and-match bundt cakes

In July, I discovered Shay’s Mix and Match Mama blog.  Fascinated with the 45 delicious-sounding cakes that she had made each week since the previous August, I bought a bundt cake pan and set out to make my first for Steve’s birthday.  The dark chocolate bundt (see below) was the best cake I had ever tasted!  And I knew I had to try out more flavors.  I told Shay that I would be the Julie to her Julia (even though she keeps whipping out a new one every Sunday, so I may just have to pick my favorites :)  At this point, she has created 66 bundt cakes!  (Plus plenty of dinners and other desserts!)
 
Here are the [ten] that I have made since July:
 

 
 
 
 


 

 
 

 
Vanilla Bean Noel
Peppermint Mocha (mine ended up being more of a Crème de Menthe Mocha based on the ingredients I already had in my kitchen)
 
Sometimes her recipes call for a can of store-bought frosting, and other times she makes her own with butter and powdered sugar.  Now that I’ve tried the latter, I don’t think I am going back!
 
Shay, thank you for inventing these cakes!  I love reading your blog, and I wish you all the success and happiness as you build your dream.  And I really hope that your family is blessed by this huge experience of Sean becoming the Bachelor!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

cranberry & white chocolate oatmeal cookies

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My friend gave me the recipe for these gems a few years ago.  I remember I packaged them into clear bags with shiny green ribbon, and then I set them in front of our neighbors’ apartment doors as a Christmas surprise. 

Ingredients:
2/3 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 oz package dried cranberries
2/3 cup white chocolate chips

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, cream together the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy.  Beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well.  Combine oats, flour, baking soda, and salt in a separate bowl.  Add to the butter mixture, a little bit at a time, mixing well.  Stir in the dried cranberries and white chocolate chips.

Drop by rounded teaspoons onto ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden-brown.  Cool on wire racks.

Makes 2 1/2-ish dozen.

Monday, November 26, 2012

monday’s non-stagram

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This will definitely go down as one of my favorite weeks of 2012!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

a minneapolis thanksgiving

on Tuesday, we flew 900 miles away for my family’s annual Thanksgiving in Minneapolis.  It was such a life-giving time, and I wish we could have stayed longer!

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with my lovely cousin Katie.

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Nolan finally met his great-grandparents (my dad’s parents)!

 
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cousin Nathan, cousin Sam, Aunt Meg, cousin Chloe, and Uncle Brian

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cousin Jenna and her husband Tim, who so kindly opened their house up to us for 3 nights!

 
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playing games

 
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cousins Katie, Emily, and Kristine

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Aunt Yvonne and cousin Lindsay 

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opening a gift from Nolan’s second-cousins Liam & Donovan

 
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Uncle John & Aunt Evie

 
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Aunt Tina & Uncle Paul

 
(Even more family members were there; it was so wonderful to see everyone!)

 
Thanksgiving
“For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food,
For love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Monday, November 19, 2012

monday’s non-stagram

moments of our week:

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Christmas light-up-the-town parade

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box for Operation Christmas Child

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Sunday, November 18, 2012

flashback to last november

 I am in full Thanksgiving mode tonight, and so I looked back on the photos we took last November.  We had a 2-month-old, and he was (and still is!) the apple of our eyes.
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We went to the town that Steve’s parents and my parents live, and we had a very nice, low-key Thanksgiving.  Our Ivy girl was really sick that week, and that was super hard.  She had re-injured an old injury by running full speed into a glass door.  She had a difficult time bouncing back from that.  And we are thankful that she has recovered so well in the past year!
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I can’t wait for the second Thanksgiving with this cute little guy!

Friday, November 16, 2012

chocolate mint cookies

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This recipe came from my lovely friend Bethany.  We live far away, so we are “old-fashioned” pen-pals, and we send each other recipes along with our notes. 

This cookie calls for Andes mints (I didn’t find these in my store), so I substituted delicious Hershey’s Mint Truffle Kisses.  I think these are only available around Christmastime, so my other suggestion is Hershey Bliss Crème de Menthe.  Mmm!

 
Ingredients:
3/4 cup butter
1 1/2 cup brown sugar
2 Tablespoons water
2 cups (12 oz. package) chocolate chips
2 eggs
2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
package of mint chocolate candies

Directions:
Combine butter, brown sugar, and water, and melt over low heat.

Add chocolate chips.  Stir until partly melted, then remove from heat and stir until fully melted.

Pour into a large bowl and cool 10 minutes.

Beat in eggs.

In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking soda, and salt together.  Then add them to the chocolate mixture.

Chill the dough for 1 hour.

Roll the dough into balls, and place them on a greased baking sheet. 

Bake at 350 degrees for about 4-5 minutes.  (The bake time depends on the size of the cookie.  Don’t over-bake, but they should not look soupy either.)

Remove from the oven and immediately place 1/2 an Andes mint on top of each cookie.  Allow the mint to melt, then swirl with back of spoon.

Remove cookies from the pan and cool.

For me, this made 54 cookies.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

crib rail covers

 
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Here’s a little project I’ve been working on.  I knew at some point that I would have to cover the rails, but it really snuck up on me once Nolan got teeth!

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So I got online, and I quickly ordered a cover, and was disappointed when it arrived.  It didn’t cover the whole rail, and it peeled up within 24 hours.  Maybe it’s not meant for a round rail.

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I decided to go the fabric cover route.  Here is how I did it, in case you like the idea for sprucing up and protecting your crib!

Materials Needed:

  • 3 yards of fabric (I chose two different fabrics. I made the side rails from the same yard of fabric, and the front rail was made from a 2-yard piece)
  • one yard of fabric to make the ties
  • one yard of cotton batting (you could use quilted muslin fabric, but I found it more $$)

Step 1: Measuring the Crib

In order to start, I measured and found the lengths and widths of my crib rails—don’t use my measurements (unless you have the same crib), since all cribs are slightly different.  Our crib is a DaVinci Emily 4-in-1 that looked like this pre-covers.

I measured only the rails themselves, not the entire length of the sides. (Take a look at the picture of the finished product—notice how the guard doesn’t cover the entire side.)

To find the width, I wrapped the tape measure around the rail until it touched itself.
For the long front rail, my length was 51” and the width was 6”.  
My side rail lengths were 27”, and widths were 9”.

Step 2: Cutting the Fabric

I cut my three pieces of decorative fabric, after adding two inches to each dimension. The long piece I cut 53” x 8” in green & white striped fabric, and the side pieces I cut 29” x 11” and 29” x 11” in the animal print.

Then I cut the three pieces of batting to be the exact measurements of the crib rails themselves (so 51” x 6”, 27” x 9”, and 27” x 9”).  Since I only had a yard (36”) of batting, for the long rail, I had to sew two pieces together to make it long enough (I cut a 26” x 6” and another 26” x 6” and sewed them together, overlapping a bit to be 51” x 6”).

This photo shows my material for one of the side rails:

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Step 3: Pinning

I put the decorative fabric face-down onto my table.  Then I centered the cotton batting onto that decorative fabric.  I folded all four sides in a half inch.  Next, I ironed them so they would stay.  I folded the four sides in another half inch, over the cotton batting.  I ironed those folds, and pinned every few inches.

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Step 4: Making the ties

For the long front crib rail, I made 10 ties (to tie onto the crib in 5 places).  For each of the side rails, I made 6 ties (to tie onto the crib in 3 places).  22 ties in total.

I cut pieces of my blue fabric into strips.  I made 12 long ties, and 10 short ties.  The long ties were 3 x 20 inches, and the short ties were 3 x 10 inches.  I folded each over, lengthwise, and ironed them.  Then I sewed them shut, with a straight stitch down all of their lengths, plus one side, leaving the other side open.

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I turned them all inside-out (using a pencil), and they became round tubes, so I ironed them flat.


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Once the tubes were ironed, the long ones were tucked under the seams of each of the four corners, and the short ones went in the middle.  I pinned the long ones at a diagonal (see photo below of one of the side rails).  The middle ties are not perfectly in the center of the cover—this is because I had to measure where the ties needed to be on the crib, so that it was in an open spot between the vertical slats.

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Step 5: Sewing

I sewed all the way around the entire piece, straight-stitching close to the inside (the batting side).


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Then I removed all of the pins.  I flipped all of the ties backwards so that they were now stretching out like little arms and legs.  Then I sewed all the way around the edge of the piece a second time, this time close to the outside.

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Voila! Easy enough, right?

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crib rail cover tutorial

Then I tied them onto the crib.  The corner ties are long so they can be double-knotted and wrapped around the corners.

Also, I found out that he could still get at certain sections of the big rail, in-between the ties.  So I took a needle and thread and hand-sewed the holes shut.  It will be easy to snip off someday without ruining the cover.

Thank you to this post at “Baby Rabies” for helping me protect our crib from further teeth damage!

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He loves his newly decorated crib!

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