Monthly Archives: November 2011

Thanksgiving {Desserts}

We travel just about an hour and a half to my grandmother’s house for Thanksgiving. Even in her 80s, she still makes the turkey, homemade noodles & chicken, rolls, mashed potatoes, a few other sides, and a pumpkin pie. Other family members bring side dishes and desserts as well. My aunt always brings her cheesy baked vegetables….every year…because everybody LOVES them. But I don’t have a “usual”. So, this year I have decided to try a new dessert that I found on My Blessed Life.

Pumpkin Gingerbread Trifle 

The photo alone had my mouth watering. I just have to try it. I love pumpkin and gingerbread and whipped topping. So, its perfect 🙂 And the recipe is simple enough!

The other dessert recipe that I considered trying this Thanksgiving was one that I pinned on Pinterest a couple months ago and kept meaning to make, but never did…..

Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars from The Girl Who Ate Everything

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What’s your favorite Thanksgiving dessert?? Are you a traditional pumpkin pie lover? sweet potato pie? Or do you look forward to something completely different?


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Filed under Seasonal & Holidays, Yummy in the Tummy

Christmas Card {Photo}

Part of the {joy} of the Christmas season is Christmas cards!

I love receiving Christmas cards! Starting the first week of December, I rush to the mailbox everyday eager to open the green and red envelopes…. to see photos of my family and friends… to read their Christmas letters recapping the year’s events…. to know that my family is a little part of their holiday season.

I love sending Christmas cards too! Planning the holiday family photo is one of my favorite things….shopping for & coordinating outfits for the 5 of us and scouting out locations. The only part that I don’t like…. trying to get everyone ready the day of the photo session. Mostly because I worry way too much about every little detail….are the clothes too wrinkly? is Harper’s headband on correctly? did I remember to put on both earrings? will all 5 of us smile at the same time? Etc etc etc.  But when I address all of the envelopes to my loved ones, it all seems worth it.

Here is a sneak peek of the family photo that we’ll be using for our 2011 Christmas Card:The photo was taken by Kazoo Photography on the property of Zac’s family’s business, Prochaska Farm and Greenhouses. I was thrilled with the location! And I was pleasantly surprised with the weather. It had been forecasted to rain, but ended up being an unseasonably warm and sunny day in late October. Despite the fact that Harper was fussy, Dylan had teenage attitude, Lincoln peed his pants and I was stressed out worrying about every little detail… I think everything turned out pretty good. I love this photo! (and I think Jess the photographer is pretty awesome too!)

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At Home {Barista}

I love the Salted Caramel Hot Cocoa that Starbucks adds to their menu in the winter months! But what I don’t love is bundling up in my coat, hat & gloves, waiting for my minivan to warm up, and driving 15 minutes to get one. (especially when the roads are snowy and icy)

So, you can imagine my delight when I spotted a box on the shelf at Target…8 single serving packets of instant Starbucks Salted Caramel Hot Cocoa for $5.99….right next to the box of Swiss Miss hot cocoa that I was going to purchase. I let out a happy little squeal and quite possibly clapped my hands like a small excited child. Luckily, nobody heard or saw me since it was 8am and I was one of 3 or 4 shoppers in the entire store. Of course, I headed right over to the dairy case for a can of Reddi Wip whipped topping. And then rushed home to try it.


Delicious. Yummy! Oh, what a treat! That’s all I can say after finishing my mug of chocolaty, caramel goodness.

Now, when I want to indulge in this delicious Starbucks treat on a cold Iowa morning (or evening), all I have to do is walk into my very own kitchen. And I’m the barista.

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Pumpkin Pie {Play Dough}

With Thanksgiving just over a week away, Pumpkin Pie is all I can think about. Well, not ALL. But it is on my mind, along with pecan pie and turkey and my Grandma’s chicken & homemade noodles and my Aunt’s cheesy vegetable bake…..

Sorry…easily side-tracked….. back to Pumpkin Pie.

To get my two little kids in the spirit of Thanksgiving and to give Lincoln something to do other than throwing Thomas and the other trains off the train table at his little sister, we made Pumpkin Pie Play Dough.

What You Need:

  • 2- 1/2 cups Flour
  • 1/2 cup Salt
  • 3 tbsp. Oil
  • 1 tbsp. Alum
  • 2 tbsp. Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • 2 cups Boiling water
  • Optional: Food Coloring (I used red & yellow because I couldn’t find orange)

Step One: Pour flour, salt, alum, and pumpkin pie spice in a mixing bowl and stir.

Step Two: Add oil and stir.

Step Three: Adults – Pour the boiling water in and stir. (needs to be boiling, not just hot)

Step Four: Put play dough on cutting board (or directly on the table, if your cutting board is in the running dishwasher at this very moment…lol) and knead the dough until smooth.

Optional step:  Add food coloring, if desired. (I added 10 drops each of red and yellow) Knead into play dough.

Step Five: Allow play dough to cool. About 30 minutes.

Step Six: Play and enjoy!!

When done playing… store play dough in a ziplock bag or Tupperware container in the refrigerator. Lasts several weeks.

Linked to: Home Decor and Organizing Link Party at Organize and Decorate Everything, Sundae Scoop at I {heart} Naptime, DIY under $5 at A Little Tipsy


Filed under Fun for Kids, Seasonal & Holidays

Etsy: Fabulous {Shopping}

What do I do while laying in bed with the stomach flu? Sip Gatorade, nibble on saltine crackers, watch re-runs of  “New Adventures of Old Christine”…. and Shop on Etsy.

This adorable red & green Holiday Bloom skirt from Twirl Away  is probably my favorite find of the day. Harper will wear it in her Santa photo session. So adorable! I was tempted to buy a couple more skirts. Instead I added the shop to my favorites and will visit it again soon.

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Then, I had to find a tie for Lincoln to wear in the Santa photos. I found several that I liked….polka dots, stripes, snowflakes… but I finally made up my mind. I ordered this red and white damask print tie from The Belle and The Beau.

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Then, I found a great Christmas gift purchase…. the Oh Snap Mini Wallet by knitty bitties. Perfect $10 gift for stocking stuffers, Secret Santa exchanges, babysitters, hair stylist/ massage therapist, neighbors, etc.

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This Vintage Typewriter Key Bracelet from Keys and Memories was a must-buy. Now I just need to figure out who is going to be the lucky recipient of this funky gift. Maybe my new sister-in-law??

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I didn’t buy this sterling silver Christmas Tree Peace ring from Tinahdee, but I did add it to my Favorites list. I love it but just don’t know who to gift it to. My brother??

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I didn’t buy this cute and whimsical Ponytail Knit Hat from knitwitwoolies… at least, not yet. But I do believe that Harper needs it.

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And then I remembered my favorite Etsy purchase ever…. the damask minky blanket  from Simply Plush  that I bought Harper before she was born. Now, 20 months later…she adores that blanket and takes it EVERYWHERE!! So glad they’re still available, just in case I need a replacement. Or a fabulous baby gift.

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Well, all of this online shopping has wore me out. It’s definitely time for a nap and then maybe some chicken noodle soup.

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“Give Thanks” Cardstock {Banner}

I absolutely adore fabric pennant banners / buntings! Especially hanging from the curtain rod above the sliding glass door in our diningroom. When I took down our Halloween fabric pennant bunting that space felt “naked” but I didn’t have a replacement for Thanksgiving/ Autumn. What I do have, however, is a plethora of scrapbook supplies. So, I decided to make a cardstock banner……

I started with eleven 6in x 6in fancy cut, caramel-colored, simple-patterned cardstock “squares” from my local scrapbook store. Then, using the Cricut Base Camp font, I cut out 3.5 inch letters from chocolate brown, patterned cardstock.

Using scrapbooking adhesive, I attached each of the 10 letters to the “squares”… leaving one square blank for the space between the two words.  Then, I used a basic hole punch (98 cents at Wal-Mart)  to punch a hole in each of the upper corners of the squares.

I had planned to leave the space square completely blank. However, I happened to find a random cardstock embellishment in my scrapbook supply “stash” that seemed perfect.

Finally, I strung the squares on string from my local scrapbook store and tied each end to the curtain rod. Such a simple and inexpensive project!

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 Here are a few other Autumn/Thanksgiving banners that I love:

Check out the Autumn Fabric Banner tutorial at Craftiness is not Optional.

Love the leaf and button details on this Thankful Banner from Seabrook Designs.

Burlap… love it! Check out the Harvest Burlap Banner at Dream Book Design.

Linked to: Frugal Friday at The Shabby Nest , Weekend Wrap Up Party at tatertots & jello, Frugalicious Friday at Finding Fabulous for less, Tip Me Tuesday at Tip Junkie, {Our} Home for the Holidays Party at One Artsy Mama


Filed under My Projects, Seasonal & Holidays

Thanksgiving Dinner {Tablescapes}

I have packed away the Halloween decorations and am ready for the next holiday. Since I’m not a retail location, I don’t jump right into the evergreens, ornaments, tinsel and stockings that they rush to display while the rest of us are still recovering from trick-or-treat candy sugar-comas. Instead, I am decorating for Thanksgiving and reflecting on everything that I am thankful for this year.

As I decorated the dining table with my Autumn/ Thanksgiving centerpiece and place settings, I thought about how thankful I am to share my life with my loving husband and my 3 amazing (and healthy) children. They are the center of my existence. And I am thankful for the meals we share together around that dining table, a warm home, and  plenty of food. (which reminds me, I need to get my donations ready for the church’s food pantry)

Our Thanksgiving Dinner Table 2011

Autumn/ Thanksgiving centerpiece

Place setting with Fiestaware, wine cork placecard holder and homemade cloth napkin

I am also thankful for the inspiration of others. Here are some of my favorite Autumn/ Thanksgiving centerpieces and tablescapes that gave my creativity a boost this holiday season:

From Sweet Something Designs I think I need a cornocopia!

From SAS Interiors Check out the tutorial!


From    I love the cattails!

From Shindig Parties To Go! 

No matter how you decorate your table for Thanksgiving dinner, I hope you are able to enjoy a big meal (turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, etc) with loved ones!

Linked to: Frugal Friday at The Shabby Nest 

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