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Monday, December 31

No nonsense Leggings/Tights Review

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of No nonsense for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

I can't believe it took me so long, but it wasn't until this year that I found out how amazing and comfy leggings are! I tend to keep things pretty casual, and I found them to fit in with my style very well. I can dress them down with just a long tee and sweater or easily dress up with a sweater dress or nice tunic over them. I've been wearing them so much this winter both at home and while out running errands. 

When No nonsense asked me to review some of their leggings and tights, I was more than happy to try them out!  I received my No nonsense tights and leggings few weeks ago - a pair of black leggings in a medium and a pair of red tights in a small. Here's what they looked like:


The first thing I noticed was how soft they were. Both had a nice non-binding waist band that helped them stay in place at my natural waistline.  Unfortunately, the leggings were a little too big on me since I'm normally between a size 4 and 6. The length was ok (I'm about 5'6"), but the knee and thigh areas were pretty loose.  

So instead of trying them out for you, I put together an outfit that is actually something I've been wearing A LOT this month with my black leggings - long tees with extra long thick cardigans, a pair of my favorite studs, a simple bracelet and my Sanuks. I don't own that lovely Kate Spade bag, but I can dream can't I? ;)


To be honest I wasn't that excited about the red leggings, although the small did fit well on me. I'm more into neutrals (did I mention earlier that all my leggings are black???), but I did have fun putting together an outfit for them. It turned out kind of festive, but still cute don't you think? :)


No nonsense leggings are super easy to find and very affordable as well. I've seen them at a lot of grocery stores and major retailers like Target and Walmart and even at drugstores. The leggings start at only $12.99 and the tights at $6.99.

For more information on their other styles, check out No nonsense on Facebook and follow them via Twitter. Check out this video too featuring Jill Martin, the new No nonsense Brand Ambassador and Emmy Award-winning TV personality and co-author of the New York Times bestselling style guide, “I Have Nothing to Wear!”

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Thursday, December 27

FLUFFY PUMPKIN PANCAKES



This past week I kind of went a little overboard with making breakfast foods. Just a little. I'm not really sure where the motivation came from, but perhaps the craving for dutch babies started it all. ;) The other morning, I found a can of pumpkin puree in our pantry and decided to make some pancakes with them. I used this as the base recipe and just added my puree with it.  They turned super fluffy and was big hit with E and my husband. :)



Ingredients
1 C pumpkin puree
1.5 C milk
2 T apple cider vinegar
2 eggs
2 C all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda 
1/2 tsp salt
3 T oil

Directions
Combine the vinegar with the milk and let it sit for 5 minutes. Meanwhile mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a bowl and set it aside. 

Once the milk is ready, whisk in the eggs, oil and pumpkin puree. Slowly mix in the dry ingredients until there are no lumps. Do not over-mix!

Spray a light coat of cooking spray on a cast iron pan and set it on medium-high heat. Once the pan is hot, start ladling in the batter to the desired size and flip the pancakes once the batter starts to bubble. Cook until the other side is brown. 



And now I'm officially out of eggs...;) 

Until next time,

Sunday, December 23

DUTCH DUTCH BABY!



Also known as a German pancake, the first time I tried this yummy breakfast dish was at the Original Pancake House. This past week I started having major cravings for it every night. I'd go to sleep thinking about it and wake up debating whether or not we should make a quick trip to the pancake house. After finding a pretty simple recipe like this one, I finally decided yesterday to give it a try.


Ingredients
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 C whole milk, warm
1 C all-purpose flour
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 T butter

Directions
Place a 12" cast iron pan in the oven on the medium rack and preheat the oven to 475 degrees F.

In a large mixing bowl, pour in the eggs, milk, flour, salt and vanilla and mix everything at high speed (using an electric mixer or blender) for about a minute. Your batter should be light and airy. 

(Side note: It is important to use warm milk and room temperature eggs or the pancake will not rise well. For the milk, I heated it in the microwave for about a minute. For the eggs, I placed them in a hot bowl of water for 5 minutes.)

Once the oven is ready, reduce the heat to 425 degrees and carefully take out the pan. Melt the butter in the pan until the insides are all evenly coated.   

Pour in the batter and quickly return it to the oven to bake for 12-15 minutes until the sides are puffed up and golden brown. 


Once it's done, you should be able to slide it right off onto a large plate. Serve immediately!


I personally like my dutch baby with some melted butter, lots of powdered sugar and freshly squeezed lemon juice. For my husband, I heated up some thinly sliced apples (while the pancake was baking) on a separate pan with melted butter, brown sugar and a pinch of cinnamon. Maple syrup or whipped cream with fresh fruit also make great toppings! 




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For a more crepe-like version of the dutch baby, I really liked this recipe from a Beautiful Mess. Set the oven at 350 instead to preheat the pan/oven and bake at the same temperature.

4 eggs, 2/3 C flour, 2/3 C milk, 1 T sugar, 1/2 tsp salt, 2 T of butter 
between 2 small cast iron pans




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Our family loved this dish and we will definitely be making it often. It took only a few minutes to whip up and the rest of the work was left to the oven. Unlike regular pancakes, I don't have to stand by the stove the whole time and worry about burning or messing them up. Plus I don't have to worry about the pancakes getting cold while I make the rest of them.  

P.S. This recipe would typically serve about 4 people. However, we have big eaters in our family and it fed the 3 of us (2 adults and a toddler) perfectly! ;)

Do any of you share our love for this yummy breakfast dish?? 

Until next time,




Friday, December 21

BEAN SOUP WITH BACON AND KALE




We woke up to a chilly morning yesterday and it put me in the mood for some hot soup!  Most kale bean soups ask for onions and celery, but in our house those ingredients are forbidden - per husband's request. ;) Here's a quick and easy recipe using bacon and tomato as the soup base that will be sure to keep you warm this winter!

Ingredients
4 strips of thick smoked bacon, diced
1 bunch of kale, leaves chopped finely
1 15 oz. red kidney beans, drained
1 15 oz. cannellini beans, drained
1 15 oz. garbanzo beans, drained
1 28 oz. plum tomatoes (do not drain), diced
4 C of water
1 tsp dried Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp red chili flakes (based on personal preference)
salt & pepper to taste
grated Parmesan (optional)

Directions
In a large pot, cook the bacon over medium-high heat. Once the bacon starts to brown, add the kale and stir until the leaves start to wilt. Add the tomatoes and beans. Add the remaining water and stir. 

Once the soup comes to a rolling boil, turn the heat down and let the soup simmer for another half hour. Add red chili flakes, salt and pepper. Puree half the soup with an electric hand blender. Stir everything together and let the soup simmer for another 10 minutes to help the soup thicken.  Top with grated Parmesan before serving. 


Thursday, December 13

MAKE YOUR OWN CALMING JAR



Hi everyone! :) I'm very excited to be back and thanks so much for all the support these last few months. Your comments, emails and Facebook messages really meant a lot to me. I'm feeling a whole lot better and happy to get back to my normal routines again! 

Before I share this fun DIY that E and I had made, I wanted to pass this little enjoyment of the Lord to you all first. 

Yesterday my husband shared with me about how much we need to learn to enjoy God, be filled with God and to rest in Him. Most of the times we're always toiling (Matthew 11:28-30), trying to work or be "successful" in our work for God by ourselves. This often results in spiritual death and the loss of the fellowship in the Body. However according to the principle of the Sabbath (Exodus 31), God wants us to enjoy Him first and be filled by Him before we do anything else. If we come to be refreshed by Him first, everything we do will be just to please Him and to do His will. We wouldn't be worried about being "successful" or needing to see outward "results." Our work wouldn't be to glorify ourselves. We'd be satisfied just to please Him.  

The Lord really touched me about how often I rush to do so many things and end up getting burnt out and overwhelmed. I often think that rest comes AFTER everything's done. But God doesn't work that way... He wants me to stop everything and come spend time with Him first. To stop all my working, my "good intentions," really just "myself," and come to Him. Only then will the work glorify and honor God. :)

Have any of you ever had similar experiences? 


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Ever since I saw this calming jar back in April, I've been wanting to make one for myself E. ;)  Last night we had some time to spare before dinner so we decided to give it a try. Instead of using glitter glue, we substituted it with some clear liquid glue and glitter that we already had. We also used a combination of fine and coarse glitter and were quite happy with the results!

Supplies: empty glass bottle with a secure lid, clear liquid glue, food coloring, glitter, bamboo stick for stirring (optional), and distilled vinegar (optional)




Directions: 
  • pour about 2/3 of the liquid glue into the glass bottle (the more glue the more suspension)
  • fill the rest of the bottle with warm water up to the neck
  • add two drops of food coloring and stir everything together
  • add 2 - 4 teaspoons of glitter
  • secure the lid and shake it all up! 
Side note: Some people recommend adding a few drops of vinegar to keep the water from molding.



E and I couldn't stop staring at it the rest of the night.  And to be honest, it WAS quite calming to watch all the sparkly glitter slowly floating around...

Until next time,

Wednesday, November 7

POPPING IN TO SAY HI! :)



My dear readers, I am so sorry for neglecting my blog this past month or two. I haven't been feeling the greatest and need some time to recuperate.  I cannot wait for things to pick up again though and get back to all that I love doing and sharing them with you all! :)  

I'd like to leave you with a hymn that I've been enjoying lately from 2 Corinthians 3:16...


Whenever the heart shall turn to the Lord,
The veil shall be taken away.
So turn your heart to the Lord all the day,
And the veil shall be taken away.
Now the Lord is that Spirit,
And where the Spirit of the Lord is,
There is liberty—such liberty!
Whenever the heart shall turn to the Lord,
The veil shall be taken away.

Wishing you all the best these coming months with your family and friends!

Much grace,

Friday, November 2

FRESH AS THE DEW + FRIDAY TREATS




Fresh as the dew of the morning,
Bringing a sweet rest unheard,
Christ, in the gentle anointing,
Whispers His comforting word:
Stand till the trial is over,
Stand till the tempest is gone,
Stand for the glory of Jesus,
Stand till the kingdom is won.

Lord of all hope,
O how sweet is Thy voice,
Making my heart
In Thy presence rejoice.

If in the test of my trouble,
Faint be my spirit and heart,
Faith, with the star of hope glimm'ring,
Shall all be taken apart,
May then Thy faith with Thy life-pow'r
Over me hold its full sway
That all Thy riches of glory
Now I may share and for aye.

Lord, as the morning sun dawning,
Chase all my darkness away,
And with Thy kind wings of healing
Turn all my night into day.
Come Thou, O come, Lord of comfort,
Come to my sad, weary heart,
Come, O Thou blest hope of glory,
Never, O never depart.




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Create shiny DIY artworks with metal repair tape...




Great binding idea to keep it all from going crazy!




E would totally love this PB&J sushi...




a modern new look given to vintage pieces...





I'm pretty sure this is bound to happen one of these days... good to know!





Tuesday, October 30

CHIHULY



It's been so long! How are you all doing?? This month has been quite busy for us - with family and friends coming to stay with us every weekend. As crazy as it's been though, we had such a great time with everyone and loved having all this quality time with them. :)  

This past weekend, we went a local arboretum and enjoyed the beautiful Chihuly glass exhibit that was there. It was amazing to see all these intricate sculptures spread around the gardens. Here are a few pics I snapped for you all...







I've kind of hit a wall with DIYs lately. Honestly just haven't been very inspired to work on anything. Have any of you experienced this before? Hopefully this little lull doesn't last too long! 

Until next time,

Friday, October 19

FRIDAY TREATS + THE GIFT OF RIGHTEOUSNESS



   




foldable cardboard play tent (unable to find the correct source)   //   luscious lemon delight  //  



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The gift of righteousness is measured in abundance,
The depth of His love I'll never understand.
His love reaches me and you;
His mercy goes farther too.
The One on the throne of God is called the Lamb.

So, why not open up and call His name, "Oh Lord!"
Find your spirit where His grace has been outpoured.
Call His name, taste His grace, exercise before His face
He's longing and yearning.
He's hoping and waiting.
He's ever desiring for you...
To turn to Him.

He knows your deepest thought,
Your every situation.
He understands your heart,
He knows your history.
There's nothing in His way,
He's just waiting for you to say
"Lord Jesus, my wandering heart
I give to Thee."





Tuesday, October 16

SHADOW PRINTING WITH INKODYE



I first heard about Inkodye through the very talented Jessica from How About Orange. It is a light-sensitive fabric dye that works on natural materials like cotton, linen, silk, suede and even wood. The dye goes on clear, but as soon as it hits direct sunlight, the colors start appearing in an instant! After checking out all the fun designs that Jessica had made, I couldn't resist and purchased a 4 oz. bottle online. It was a quick and easy process, and I received my dye in the mail pretty soon after. 

For my first project, I created a simple "smile" print on a pillow cover. 
  • I used a 1:1 ratio of dye to water to make the dye stretch a little more.
  • Working in a dimly lit room, I spread the dye evenly over the fabric with a foam brush until it's fairly saturated. Then I blotted any excess dye with a paper towel.
  • I laid my "SMILE" block over the fabric before placing it under direct sunlight.
  • After 10 minutes, I took my fabric inside before removing the block. Then I immediately washed the fabric under hot soapy water to set the print. 

It was kind of disappointing when my finished product turned out so streaky. I'm thinking of using a foam roller next time to help the dye spread more evenly.  Or I may need to just practice on a smaller surface area first. 

I did like Inkodye lot better though than regular fabric dye, because it didn't leave the fabric stiff after I washed and dried it. Plus it was super cool watching the fabric change right before my eyes. It's kind of addicting. ;)

Have any of you ever tried Inkodye before or seen any interesting projects made by it? I'd love to hear from you. :)

Monday, October 15

A LOVELY SHOWER


Sorry for disappearing for a week again! My parents came to visit and we had the best time with them. :) Whenever we're together, we usually spend our time around food - hey our family just really likes to eat. ;) We ate somewhere different almost every meal. So whenever they come, I get a complete break from cooking. I know. It's GREAT. SO GREAT. 

This past weekend I also attended a lovely bridal shower for a friend of mine. Here are a few snapshots of all the yummy treats served. :)


Oh and if you all have a minute, check out this post from Grace Full Mama. I can almost repeat everything she shared word for word for myself.  

Take time to slow down today! :)

Sunday, October 7

FALL INSPIRATIONS WITH MIRACLE-GRO AND THE GARDENIERES

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Miracle-Gro for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

Gardening has always intimidated me. I can hardly keep indoor plants alive never mind trying to care for a home garden. Lately, however, I've been giving it a little more thought because of E. (Funny how much more we notice once we have kids, huh?)

Ever since he started eating with us, I've been a lot more conscious about the foods we eat. For almost every item I pick up, I'm flipping it over to read where it came from, what ingredients are in there, whether there's MSG or not, etc. Even with produce, I get scared thinking about the amount of pesticides I've ingested over the last two decades. Of course getting everything organic would be ideal - if only it weren't so expensive...

I know a few people who have their own vegetable gardens and that seems to work really well for them. It's nice that they can go into their backyards and pull everything they need for a salad. Whether it’s herbs or peppers, they have everything fresh, organic, and right at their fingertips.

(1) Miracle-Gro

This week I was introduced to an awesome site powered by Home Depot and Miracle-Gro called the Gardenieres. Led by William Moss, a master gardener, and his handpicked team of Gardenieres, this site gathers together real-life experts from all over the country inspiring people to get out and garden this fall. You can check out this site or their YouTube channel for all kinds of helpful videos based on their own gardening experiences. You can also chat with them on Miracle-Gro Facebook page if you have any questions or encounter unique challenges in your gardening project.

While scanning their site, I came across a great video on ways to build a raised garden bed that I could possibly start out with. With the help of Miracle-Gro's organic garden soil and Liquafeed-their watering and feeding system all in one, plus some bricks for building a retaining wall, this vegetable garden may work out after all. Be sure to also check out West Coast Gardeniere Teena Spindler's video about how to manage edible gardens.


So go check out the Gardenieres and "like" Miracle-Gro's Facebook page to chat with fellow gardeners and share your experiences! 

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