Monday, November 23, 2015

Handmade Christmas Invitations

One of the best things about living in a real house, as opposed to an apartment, is having reasonable space to host holidays for my rather large family. This year, we are hosting Christmas! And, to kick things off I wanted to make some handmade invitations.
All the materials and supplies I used were things I had here already. I'm in a bit of a "stash busting" season currently so it worked out perfectly. I started with a few sheets of an off white 12x12 piece of cardstock. I used a simple tree rubber stamp and a few shades of green and stamped a random "pattern" all over the page. Then I cut the paper to approximately 5.5in x 8inches and scored them so that the pattern was on the inside of the card.
Next, on a 5.5x4 pieces of subtly patterned paper, I used the same tree stamp to stamp trees in a row using the different inks. Then I got to work writing out the greeting. After all the trees were stamped and the writing was done, I adhered these front pieces onto the folded cardstock. On the inside, a little stamped and cut out banner label and more handwriting with all the details in black pen. I played around with a few different styles of writing.
After the cards were done, I had to figure out some kind of envelope. Again, I really wanted to use just what I had on hand but I didn't have any envelopes that reasonably fit. So I made them. We had a ton of brown paper sacks leftover from our wedding. It was as simple as measuring the length needed, stitching one end, putting in the invitation, and stitching the other end. I trimmed the excess, addressed and stamped them and sent them out.

So that's it! A small pile of handmade invitations done in a few hours time. It was a simple project that had a big impact that has me totally pumped for the holidays! I am so excited to have our new home filled with our loved ones this Christmas!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Friday Five | Things I Am Looking Forward To This Season

Tis the season! It is the most wonderful time of the year! Deck the Halls! Let it Snow Let it Snow Let it Snow!

Since I was little, I have always waited for this coming weekend with bated breath. Growing up, we were in year round school. Each "track" was in school for 3 months and then had a whole month's vacation with a two week summer vacation between school years. The track we were on had December vacation but with the holidays we were out of school the day before Thanksgiving and didn't go back until the first week of January. Who doesn't love having 6 weeks off of your job (or school in this case)?!

Of course as the years go by you get older and have other obligations that don't allow you to just take six weeks off. As such, the magic of the season had faded a little. It got muddled by everything else that has to be done in between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

This year is different though. I haven't been this excited about the winter holiday season for quite sometime. I am sure motherhood has something to do with it. Let's be honest. It has a lot to do with it. However, there are some other things that I am looking forward to and I am going to share a few of them below.

Thanksgiving Family Camp // My family has been doing some variation of a Thanksgiving Camping trip since my dad was a kid and this year we are joining them. I am so excited for this. I haven't been able to do this trip for over 10 years! Now it is something I get to share with both Berke and the baby. This usually ends up being a trip with several of our family and friends' families being there. Nothing makes it feel more like the holidays than being surrounded by those you love!

Baking // Our holidays were always marked by the baking of very specific recipes. These are treats that are only made this time of year. I am hoping that while we are visiting family we can do a great deal of baking. Also, Berkeley's 30th birthday is coming up and I have an awesome surprise in the works!

Seasonal Lay Off // I used to dread Berkeley's lay off at the end of Fire Season which could be any time between late September and early November. With his promotion in this past spring came the possibility of a longer season. He has worked later this year than any year previous and will be starting early than ever before. We were able to get enough saved to cover our needs during his seasonal lay off that he won't need to find a winter job unless he wants to. It will be the first time for us as a couple that neither one of us is dictated by having to work holidays. Once Berkeley is laid off, the rest of the year will be ours to what we want, when we want!

The Food // There is just something about winter to food that makes it so much better than food any other time of the year. No matter how fatty or healthy it is every fall/winter dish seems so warm and filling!

Christmas Morning // Between having the baby and not having to work Christmas this year, I am looking forward to Christmas Morning so much! I can not wait to pass along our traditions and family traditions to the baby.

That's my list. How about you? What are looking forward to this season?

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

November | Currently

keeping warm as winter is knocking on the door
preparing for the epic snow and wind that is forecasted
wearing flannels and leggings with boots
using our new library cards
bringing home piles of books for us all
loving our nightly baby bedtime routine
chasing the little army crawler back and forth across the living room
marveling at how fast he is growing up
celebrating TinyKrueger's half birthday
practicing new recipes
working on a couple different paper projects
excited to be sharing them soon-ish
drinking black coffee in the morning and red tea in the evening
looking forward to next week's festivities
searching for rugs for various rooms in the house
rearranging furniture to best host guests
writing Christmas lists
decking the halls with holiday decor
welcoming our first winter and holiday season in the White Mountains

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Around Here

Around here autumn has been shaping up to be one of the best yet. Teddy is just about 6 months and it has been the funnest age so far! He is moving all over the place between rolling and his little army crawl.

Around here Berkeley has reached the slow part of his work year which means he is getting home early allowing me all sorts of time for working on creative projects. Weekends are spent relaxing and slowly getting the odds and ends unpacked. Recently, we have become slightly addicted to playing Rummy.

Around here, Halloween is a big deal in the area, so we dressed Teddy up and braved the town-wide Trunk R Treat. The temperatures dropped suddenly so I gathered all the pieces for a handmade Hobbit costume. It was quite fun!

This has been such an awesome season for us, but I am looking forward to the magic of winter and the winter holidays.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Mushroom Whole Wheat Lasagna

We are big fans of lasagna over here. So when Inflenster and Ragu tasked me with creating a recipe using Ragu pasta sauce lasagna was an easy choice. For this lasagna, I chose to use mushrooms and bell peppers instead of ground meat. I am really happy with how this turned out. I don't normally use jarred sauce but with the baby I am always looking for ways to make things easier right now. The Ragu really helped speed things up as well as adding great flavored sauce!

Mushroom Whole Wheat Lasagna
  • 1 box whole wheat lasagna
  • 1 jar Ragu 
  • olive oil
  • 24oz white mushrooms, chopped
  • 2 bell peppers, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 24oz small curd cottage cheese
  • 1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3 tbsp parsley
  • shredded mozzarella
  • salt and pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain and lay flat on a sheet of aluminum foil. 
  2.  Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and cook for a minute. Add peppers and saute for another minute or so. Add mushrooms and cook for a few minutes. Let mushrooms cook until soft. Stir in sauce, salt, and pepper. Let simmer for about 20 minutes.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine cottage cheese, eggs, Parmesan cheese, parsley, and pepper. Set aside until ready to assemble lasagna.
  4. To assemble, spread a little of the mushroom and pasta sauce in a lasagna pan. Layer noodles in the pan, slightly overlapping them. Spread 1/3 of the cheese mixture on the noodles. Top with a layer of mozzarella. Add mushroom sauce mixture over the mozzarella. 
  5. Repeat the layering two more times. End with a large helping of mushroom sauce and a "layer" of Parmesan. 
  6. Bake at 350 degrees, covered in foil, for 20 minutes, then remove foil and continue baking for 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes before cutting and serving.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Friday Five | My New Mommy Essentials

We are 5 and a half months into this parenting gig and I wanted to share a few products that have been great for me. This list is secondary to all the typical post partum necessities of the first few weeks like peri bottles, witch hazel, etc. This is a list of five groups of things that have become essential to my new mommy life!

Friday Five: Mama Essentials

1//Find a Uniform - For the first two months I lived in a comfy black robe, nursing tanks, and comfy pants. I found what worked and then bought multiples. That "uniform" evolved into leggings, loose fitting v-necks and a cardigan when I ventured out. It was easy to grab, made nursing in public easy, and yet I still fit comfortable in my new "mom body".
2//Easy Beauty Products - Getting gussied up for day to day stuff has never been high on my list of things to do but when you have a baby, the time you have to spend on yourself goes down the toilet. I made sure to always have witch hazel face wipes, hair ties/headbands, and detangler handy. These three things made looking presentable for the onslaught of guests and leaving home during those early days so simple.
3//Fiber Choice Immunity Gummies - In addition to my daily vitamins and magnesium, I have added these gummies. Not only do they add a little bit of vitamin c, but they also help keep things a little more regular, if you know what I mean ;)
4//Stockpile of Snacks - I know my post-partum situation was a little different than most others being alone 10 days after the baby was born. For me, not having a second pair of hands meant that I often skipped eating. Having a small assortment of snacks and easy meals really helped. Even now, nursing sometimes has me feeling insatiably hungry so a quick snack between lunch and dinner is totally necessary.
5//Slow Cooker - When you first have a baby people are jumping at the chance to bring meals. Once baby gets a bit older, and in my opinion more needy, the meals taper off and that is where the slow cooker comes in! It is so easy to just throw stuff in and set it to cook. Even handier are the slow cooker liners that make clean up a breeze!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Pickled! Red Onions

Lately I have been craving the sweet and tangy flavors of a good pickle. Not just pickled cucumbers either, but real pickled vegetables! It is so weird because, unlike the typical cliche, they never even came to mind during pregnancy and now they are all I want to snack on. One downside of living in the mountains is that pickles are expensive. The same goes for most groceries but pickles are a few things that are really ridiculous!
So today is the first of a series of posts on pickles. We are starting with one of my favorites: Pickled Red Onions. They are so easy and so delicious! A note before we continue is that I am not canning/jarring these for storage. These are all "refrigerator" pickles for consumption within a week or two. I don't boil the jars or intentionally seal them after filling but I do sterilize beforehand since most of my jars are recycled.

Pickled Red Onion
  • 1 med red onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 c. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 c. water
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • peppercorns (optional)
  • coriander seed (optional)
  1. Slice onions thinly. Place onions and garlic into the jar. 
  2. Add the remaining ingredients into a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Once at a rolling boil, turn off the heat. 
  3. Pour hot brine over the onions and loosely screw on the lid. Leave out to cool. Once jar is cool enough to handle. Tightly screw on the lid and store in the fridge. Once cool, enjoy!

Friday, October 23, 2015

Friday Five: Podcasts I am Loving

Podcasts are quickly becoming the hottest new trend. So many podcasts are popping up each week and so many people are listening! Today I am sharing the five podcasts I am currently loving. Before I get to my list I wanted to say that I have been listening to podcasts for years. Earlier readers might remember the podcast that "sponsored" this blog for a year or so. However, the amount of time dedicated to listening has grown exponentially since last fall. Early trimester left me feeling pretty icky and I spent a lot of mornings laying around. Instead of wasting time vegging out on yet another round go Grey's Anatomy episodes that I have seen over 10 times, I went searching for new podcasts to fill in the gaps of what I was already listening to. Now I am listening to new episodes every morning of the week. Like all shows, there are "seasons" and natural breaks and content changes so this list is just what I am listening to and loving Fall 2015. 
 EarzUp! - If you have been reading here or following me on Instagram for any amount of time, you know I love Disney and Disneyland so it is only natural that a Disney podcast would make my list. This particular show is biweekly and features three Disney lovers from Northern California talking all sorts of Disney related topics. They are funny, knowledgable, and put on a great radio show!
 Undisclosed - I am sure you are all aware of the Serial podcast that started last fall. If you use the internet at all you have probably heard all about the Adnan Syed story. This particular podcast is three lawyers, including Rabia Chaudry, the woman that originally contacted Sarah Koenig with Adnan's story, looking at the case much deeper from the legal standpoint than Serial was able to. Not only does it look at the past evidence and the trials, it also looks at all the legal actions that are currently happening. Serial also led me to Truth and Justice (formerly The Serial Dynasty) which is worth a listen as well. Less legal and more commentary.
 The Longest Shortest Time - Appropriately subtitled "A 3:00 am Bedside Companion" this podcast is a perfect look at all different paths to and struggles with parenthood. I find each episode encouraging in a sense despite the topic.
 Elise Gets Crafty - A weekly podcast by Elise Blaha Cripe about creativity, motivation, small business, and all the topics that fall in between. She has had a great roster of amazing guests. Each time I listen I am inspired in a whole new way.
Podketeers - Surprise, surprise! Another Disney related podcast! While these Southern California based three guys tackle some of the same Disneyland related topics as EarzUp, Podketeers also discusses a lot of the tech and more "nerdier" aspects of Disney. 

So this is just my short list of what I am listening to right now. I am always on the hunt for something new to listen to! Do you listen? Which ones do you love?

Monday, October 19, 2015

October | Currently

feeling incredibly inspired 
making all sorts crafts
starting a number of projects
planning for something big
prepping a refresh of sorts
enjoying the urge to create
trying my best to focus my creative energy
watching the baby scoot and roll all over the living room
reading this aloud in the morning and this at night
working on getting the house squared away
finishing the baby's room
crafting the finishing touches
pulling out all his handmade blankets
searching for next year's planner
eating dinner as a family of three
starting to explore introducing solids to the baby
wondering (for the millionth time) where my newborn went
dreaming of the winter holidays
hoping to host our families for Christmas
thinking I may just be crazy.. but we'll see

Friday, September 25, 2015

Friday Five: Fall 2015 Wishlist

Friday Five: Fall 2015 Wishlist

H M pajamas /  Emerald Ring / Soho Ponytail Holder KAVU Flannel / Capri Leggings

Comfort is the name of the game this fall! Those H&M jammies look fantastically cozy. That emerald (May Birthstone) is a contender for a ring hand ring. Some fun hair ties! A great layering flannel for both home and venturing out in the woods. I recently found some awesome (and affordable) leggings from Kohl's that I am living in and I would love some capri length to wear with boots this fall. 
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