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Wednesday, May 30

DIY STENCILED TEA CUPS


When I started blogging this January, I didn't really know what to expect or the relationships that would be formed here. This morning I woke up to the sweetest email from a blogging buddy that I've gotten to know and was beyond touched by her generosity and thoughtfulness!

Being new to this community, I was lucky to have "met" a few very successful bloggers. However, a lot of times you get the feeling that it's all just "business" which is totally fine. But once in a while, you stumble upon some who go above and beyond to reach out to you. Even though they're doing super well, they still take the time to help out newbies like myself. ;)

So thank you, dear friend! I am a thousand times grateful to have gotten to know you!

Ok, now on to my little project...


When my husband and I first got married and was living in the Midwest, we had a little apartment by the beautiful Lake Michigan. We made so many wonderful memories there even though our stay was very brief. 


Being newlyweds with our first *temporary* home to furnish, I we were more than excited and drove to the nearest IKEA (which was 2 hours away) the first weekend we moved there. We came home with a futon sofa, a dining table and a few folding chairs. Among some other smaller items I found was this tea cup set in the clearance section! It was marked down to only $2 because it was missing a cup. Not bad, huh? :)



I loved the fact that they were plain so that I could personalize them myself. However after 5 years, they were still hanging out in our cabinet untouched... until this week! :D

The Martha Stewart Craft collection has one of the best stencils I've seen. I'm pretty much in love with everything from her collection...o.O Most of her stuff are pretty pricey though, but if you have enough 40% coupons from Michaels, Joann's, and Hobby Lobby saved up then it's really not that bad.

For this project I used her typewriter adhesive stencils, foam pouncer, and multi-purpose satin acrylic paint in mace and surf (this paint works on everything... no need to buy different kinds of paint anymore!).




Simply adhere your stencils and dab the paint on with a foam pouncer. Peel off the stencils while wet.







On a cookie sheet, bake the cups at 400 degrees for half an hour to set the paint and you're done!







Wasn't that easy? I love how they turned out and use them all the time now! :) Have any of you stenciled anything lately? Love to hear from you!


Tuesday, May 29

GUEST POSTING @ OUT OF ALABASTER


Hi again everyone! Doesn't this look yummy?! Come find out how to make it at Out of Alabaster! My very sweet friend, Lindsey, is featuring me tonight. :D 




Have a great night and stay cool! :)

YESTERDAY :)


Hi friends! I hope you all had a restful long weekend. We've been pretty busy all week so I apologize for being a bit MIA. I needed a little break and some time to recharge. We finally had yesterday to ourselves and decided to take E out for some quality time... just the three of us. :)

My husband and I try to keep E's life as simple as possible. We keep a lot of things to a minimum - his activities, his toys, his clothes, etc. We want him to learn to be satisfied with what he has and not always in the mode of wanting more or needing to be entertained 24/7.

Once in a while though, we do take him out for something a little *extra* and yesterday was one of those days. :)

Since E LOVES animals, we decided to check out the gift shop outside the Rainforest Cafe. Yes you read right... the gift shop! No tickets required or the need to spend hours on the road. I know a it's not real zoo or museum, but really...

E's not even 2 yet. ALMOST... but not yet. 

Fake animals are less terrifying and overwhelming... 

Plus there were some pretty awesome aquariums inside the shop that E was just mesmerized with. Hey at least the fish were real. ;)

We learned about the different animals (elephants, birds, crocodile, gorillas, etc.) and used them to work on his counting and identifying the different colors.


He also found these little guys while walking around with daddy and had a blast playing with them - moving their arms and legs around, lining them up in a row, talking and smiling at them. His little friends ended up coming home with us...



We left shortly after and stopped for some lunch before heading back. We got home just in time for his afternoon nap.
It really didn't take much, but E was happy and that made us happy. :) As he grows older, we'll adjust of course according to how he is... but for now, this works for him and we're glad.

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By the way, have you all heard about the newly launched Better Blogger Network? I just joined and have been enjoying their posts so much! I especially loved this cute quote they shared last week:



Also one last thing. I usually dread asking for favors and even as I'm typing this I can feel my face turning red, but...

If you haven't already "liked" my FB page yet, I'd be so so SO grateful if you'd take a minute and do that for me. For some reason, FB requires me to have at least 30 likes before I can gain better access to my page. o.O

To those who already have, THANK YOU so very much!!! :) :) :)

Be back tomorrow with a fun DIY involving stenciling! 

Friday, May 25

FRIDAY TREATS


Yay for long weekends! Do any of you have any exciting plans? We're just taking it easy and getting some quality time with our little man. :) Here are some of my favorite links from this week:

Super easy way to whip up some "homemade" donuts by Make and Takes! Almost as easy as these "No Bake Cake Pops!"







This bottle cap lampshade would be a cool DIY for my closet...






Unfortunately unable to track its source... but isn't this neat?!



Check out architect Howard J. Backen's amazing bedroom. What a gorgeous view to fall asleep to everyday!





Thursday, May 24

BLACKENED SWAI FISH


I really like buying the pre-packaged frozen fish fillets for their convenience. Especially on those crazy days when I need something quick but still healthy. I can just toss them (in their packaging) into a bowl of warm water and they defrost in less than 30 minutes! 

Usually I just bake them with panko or I boil them, but if I'm extremely pressed on time then I make this delicious blackened fish. If you have the seasoning made beforehand, then this dish will soon be your best friend! ;) Leftovers are great for fish tacos! Plus the seasoning works great on chicken too.



Ingredients

2 Swai fillets (cut in half)
1-2 T grapeseed oil


Seasoning Mix
1 T paprika
1 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp salt
1 T cane sugar
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper


Directions

Mix all the ingredients for the seasoning into a small covered container. Shake up the container before each use.

Rinse the fillets and pat them dry with a paper towel. Sprinkle and rub the seasoning mix on both sides of the fish until they're well coated. Set aside.

Heat oil evenly in a cast iron pan on medium high heat for about 5 minutes. Once the pan is nice and hot, carefully place the fish into the pan. Cook for about 4 minutes on each side.

Serve with rice and a side of veggies. Enjoy!


Linking up with: The D.I.Y. Dreamer, Peas & Crayons

Wednesday, May 23

SHE LOVES ME, SHE LOVES ME NOT



Today I am joining Michaela's 3rd She Loves Me, She Loves Me Not Link UpHappy reading everyone! :) 

1) Grilled vegetables - My favorite thing to eat these days! 



2) Takeya Drink Pitcher - We've been looking forever to replace our glass pitchers 
because they dripped like crazy o.O. So glad when we found these at Costco! 

3) Sanuk's Yoga Mat Flip Flops - I cannot say enough great things about them! 
Seriously. The. Most. Comfortable. Flip Flops. 
I already have it in black, but totally eyeing this one in slate too!




4) Turquoise - I think I've found my color! How beautiful is this table 
setting created by Courtney @ A Thoughtful Place?!






Moldy fruit - I will save you all from having to look at pictures, but yes... 
I guess I've been buying too much and not eating them quick enough =/.




Tuesday, May 22

RIVERS OF LIVING WATER



This morning I really enjoyed seeing that not only do we have eternal life and enjoy it, but we can also minister this life to others! This eternal life is simply God's life within man. The day we received the Lord, His life entered into us. This life is likened to a fountain of water that has been put into us. Whenever we're enjoying and experiencing this life, it not only stays within us but flows out as rivers of living water into others and supplies and waters others with life! :)

DEAR CAST IRON PAN


Disclaimer: I was not paid to write this post, but just wanted to share this in case some of you also experienced the same frustrations that I had with cast iron. 



Dear cast iron pan,

You use to really scare me. You were super heavy, rusted easily and left black specks all over my food. I seasoned you over and over again, but food still stuck to you. You frustrated me so much that I quickly ended our relationship and put you away to never be seen again. For a while, Neoflam and I became great friends. I loved how light he was, his ceramic-based Ecolon non-stick coating and his super good looks.  He was really great in every way. 

Until last month...

While I was making honey buttercream, I turned on the wrong burner and accidentally melted a plastic spatula on top of him which quickly led to his demise...

I had just purchased him too...='(


Unwilling to spend another $30 and being that this was not the first pan I've ruined, I decided to give you another chance.  This time I researched more carefully on how to use you and how to take care of you.  

And now...

Now I'm your biggest fan! :) I totally don't know how I cooked without you all these years! I will never again have to worry about sending you to the trash can... plus I hear you just get better with age!



*   *   *    *    *    *


Hi friends! I know I'm late on jumping on the cast iron bandwagon, but I'm so glad I finally did. I bought my first pre-seasoned Lodge pan 5 years ago and was extremely frustrated when I saw black specks coming off onto my scrambled eggs. I researched about it online and found out that it was actually normal and safe to eat. But that just didn't seem "normal" to me.

I ended up putting it away until recently. After spending a little more time researching, it turned out that others solved the problem by scrubbing their pans bare (with a steel scrubber and soap) and then re-seasoning them again themselves.

Well I tried it and guess what? It worked out beautifully! No more black flecks and my eggs slid right off! Fried rice tasted so much better and pancakes came out perfect every time!

How's the maintenance? Well after every use, I immediately wash it in hot water with a soft sponge and a TINY drop of dish soap. I sometimes use coarse salt for the tougher stains. (Never soak the pan in water!) Then I dry it thoroughly with a paper towel and then put it back on the stove and heat it for about 3 minutes on medium heat. Once the pan is completely dry and the pores are open, I turn off the heat and then VERY thinly coat the inside of the pan with a 1/4 tsp of grapeseed oil (or any regular vegetable oil) on a paper towel.

I know that may sound like a lot of work, but it's really not that bad once you get the hang of it. And if you're still not convinced, here's some more reasons why cast iron's a great choice:

Pros:
Inexpensive
Offers a chemical free non-stick surface (if seasoned properly)
Conducts heat evenly
Can go from the stove to the oven
Increases iron consumption
Indestructible

Cons: 
Heavy


For more information, check out the links below:
video about seasoning and washing your pan

Do any of you already own a cast iron pan or are thinking about it? Please feel free to share any thoughts or tips! :)

Monday, May 21

NOT YOUR ORDINARY SHOW & TELL LINK PARTY!


Happy Monday! :]

Today I am so excited to be co-hosting at
 Melissa's Not Your Ordinary Show & Tell Link Party!

My FAVORITE from her party last week was The D.I.Y. Dreamer's Felt & Ribbon Bookmark! 
What an adorable craft to make with your kids to help encourage their love for reading! :)



Party Rules
1. FOLLOW your hosts:


2. Link up ANY blog post that you would like to show & tell 
from crafts, diy projects, recipes, etc. 

3. HAVE FUN and VISIT some of the other link ups! :)


You can also grab a lovely button and help us spread the word!



Melissa's looking for co-hosts for this party every week.
Email her at melissaenault@yahoo.com if you're interested!

Friday, May 18

FRIDAY TREATS



1) Carnations - I love that they last for 2 weeks and are an inexpensive way to bring some extra color into our home!

2) This sweet potato veggie burger looks so yummy... *drool*

3) I have this book on hold at our local library... Have any of you read it before?

4) Check out this sweet little mobile Christine just updated for her nursery! I love everything about that room!


Be back on Monday to talk about my cast iron pans! ;) Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, May 16

[NO MSG] CURRY WITH CHICKEN & SWEET POTATOES



A friend of mine recently asked me for this recipe, because she's trying to avoid MSG and preservatives. I thought I'd share it with you all as well. Unlike the curry recipe that I posted earlier in the year, this one's a healthier and milder version that uses sweet potatoes instead of plain ol' potatoes. Instead of using the S&B Golden Curry cubes that contain MSG, I just use curry powder and a light broth mixture. 


Ingredients
broth mixture = 2 C of water + 1 T of organic chicken broth paste

5 boneless skinless chicken thighs (cut-up into bite-size pieces)
1 large sweet potato (cut into large chunks)
1 T oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 T + 1/2 T curry powder
Cornstarch/Arrowroot Mixture
2 T cornstarch + 2 T water

onions* (optional)
ground white pepper* (optional)



Side note: I know that buying organic can get expensive and is not always possible financially.  However, I highly recommend this organic chicken broth paste that I bought from Costco.  This $6 jar can make a total of 19 quarts of broth (which at $3 a carton would've cost you $57). Not only is it HUGE in savings, but it's also a huge space saver! Costco also carries the beef version too.  

Also depending on the type of curry powder, it could affect how spicy your dish will turn out. Make sure to test it first before serving it to your kids! :)









Directions
Bring water to a boil in a small saucepan and add the paste to make your broth. Set aside.

Heat 1 T of oil in a large saute pan or wok. Sprinkle in the salt evenly on the bottom of the pan. Add the chicken and quickly stir it around. Sprinkle 1/2 T of curry powder evenly over the chicken. Cook for about 3 minutes.

(If you like onions, saute the onions first before adding in the chicken.)

Add in the sweet potatoes and stir. Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 T of curry evenly over the chicken and cook for another 5 minutes.

Pour in the chicken broth and bring it back to a boil. Cover with a lid (leaving a small opening to keep the sauce from bubbling over) and turn the heat down to medium low. Cook for another 20 minutes.

Bring the heat back up to medium high and add the cornstarch mixture. Stir until the sauce thickens (~1-2 minutes).


Serve over rice. Sprinkle on some ground white pepper for an extra kick! Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 15

CELEBRATION!





Hi friends! It's probably just another Tuesday to you all, but today marks my 100th post here at Enjoyer of Grace! It's been so much fun blogging and "meeting" so many sweet and supportive friends. :) Thank you all for sharing this journey with me. Your thoughtful comments and emails everyday have been such a huge source of encouragement!

I'd like to take a moment and reflect on what you all liked best these last five months:



Enjoyment: Running on Empty

Getting Organized: Pantry De-Cluttered

Has there been any other topics (diy, food, organization, christian walk - related) that you all would like to see more of or have questions about? Please feel free to leave me a comment or email me (whichever way you prefer) and I'd be happy to address them in future posts. :)

Thank you all again for your support! Be back tomorrow with a delicious curry recipe with chicken and sweet potatoes!