Thursday, November 29, 2012

Christmas Craftiness: Gumdrop branches

I recently went to a color workshop at Ethan Allen  and learned a few tricks about decorating and adding color and elements to your decor on a buget.  So here's one of those super easy, cheap and crafty ideas.

Grab some branches out of your yard and spray them. {any color you like}
Poke some dots or gumdrops on the ends.
Stick them in a vase, spread them out on your mantel, use them as a centerpiece...whatever floats your boat.


So fun right?!?!

Crusty Artisan Bread {Super Simple!}

Let me start out by saying that although it's true, I love baking, I am challenged when it comes to yeast breads.  They never seem to come out right.  So believe me when I say that this recipe is a good one, because even I can do it! There's no kneading, proofing or any funny business you would usually associate with baking bread, so just breathe and don't stress about it.
We love artisan crusty breads, and now that I discovered just how easy they are to make, I love them even more!

A heavy, enamel covered cast iron pot is recommended for this bread, but NOT absolutely necessary
 You can use anything with a lid that can take the heat.
3 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 3/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon yeast
1 1/2 cups water
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, salt and yeast.  
Add water and mix until a shaggy mixture forms.  
Cover bowl with plastic wrap and set aside for 12 - 18 hours.  
Overnight works great.  

Heat oven to 450 degrees.  
When the oven has reached 450 degrees place a cast iron pot with a lid in the oven and heat the pot for 30 minutes.  
Meanwhile, *if adding any “add-ins” stir in now*, then pour dough onto a heavily floured surface and shape into a ball.   The dough will be sticky, so don't be shy with the flour.
Cover with plastic wrap and let set while the pot is heating. 
 Remove hot pot from the oven and drop in the dough.  
Cover and return to oven for 30 minutes.  
After 30 minutes remove the lid and bake an additional 15 minutes.  
Remove bread from oven and place on a cooling rack to cool. 

Slice it up and enjoy!!!
Rosemary, Thyme and walnut pesto bread

**Ideas for "add-ins"**
*Add about 3/4 cup cranberries, orange zest from one orange and about 1/2 cups sliced almonds.
*Some chopped Rosemary and 1 cup Parmesan
*A few table spoons pesto and some sun-dried tomatoes
*Sliced Jalapenos and cheddar
*Raisin walnut cinnamon
*The list is really endless, have fun with it! 

Turkey Day Part 2

We went to my Dad's Thanksgiving evening and got to catch up with the Miller crew.  We haven't seen them in a while, so it was really nice to see everyone again.  I'm so thankful for all the hard work my Dad and Donna put in making this day come together.  Feeding the Millers is no easy feat!  They started cooking like 4 days before...but it was worth it!  Everything was scrumptious.
So here's Part two...
Dad making use of all of those burners...if our family gets any bigger, he's going to need to upgrade the stove!

Turkey carving and last minute touches.

The boys getting ready to go explore...
My brother Khris and my sister Julie.
Uncle Ben and Aunt Jenny.  It was so nice to see you guys!
Me and my sibs.
My cousin Sherrie and my Aunt Jenny
The Miller's.
 {Unfortunately, my camera was in the wrong setting and we have some blur going on.}
 A great time was had by everyone!
Thanksgiving always makes me realize how lucky I am to have such a wonderful family.

Turkey Day Part 1

 We had a busy, but great thanksgiving this year.  We normally just go to one house for the festivities so we can get some good quality time with the family and not spend half of the day in the car, but this year we went to my Mom's and my Dad's.
 So here's Part one...

Just had to start the day off two turkeys and Ginger warming up by the fire.
My Grandpa and Grandma.  I am so grateful to have them in my life.  We all just love them to pieces!  
My cousin Nick and the newest member of our family Jenae...They just got married the week before!
Jake, Scotty and Derek...loving their technology
Mister Ty Ty and his lovely camera pose.
Aaron and my Mom.  She did so much for our family feast and everything was absolutely delicious.  Thanks Mom!
Beckie and Marky.  My sweet little nephew...
Aaron checking out the Thanksgiving decor...or judging by that smile, maybe the jar of gumballs.
My aunt Tammy and her little fam.
We had a really nice time and I think my cousin Maddie hit the nail on the head when she said the nicest thing about getting together with our family is that we all just get along and love each other. 

Friday, November 23, 2012

Gettin' along

 There is nothing better than seeing your kids be sweet to each other and getting along. 
I just love days like this!
*Special thanks to Oma for these great magazines...the boys are just thrilled to see the new one every month!  ;)

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Full of Thanks...

I have to start out by saying that we have all been loving the whole thankful leaves idea.  There have been many days when I have wanted to write several things and its hard to choose.  I truly have so much to be grateful for. 

Our Thank yous have multiplied...

I am so grateful for the family that I have. Every last one of them.
 I truly believe that it does take a village so to speak to raise children and I don't know how I would do without any of them.
 I am so grateful to have such wonderful, supportive parents and in-laws.
 I have amazing sisters and a brother that loves rough housing with my active kiddos.
Speaking of kiddos, I just love my boys more and more each day. They bring more joy to my life than I ever thought possible.  They make me laugh daily and they are growing into such good, caring little boys.
I was given the gift of my precious surro-fam last year and I just adore them. I love seeing all of the shinnannigans going on in their little houshold.
 I have a beautiful home.
 I have fabulous friends that I can truly be myself with and I value their advice more than they will ever know.
Last but not least, I have a hardworking, handsome, supportive, loving husband. He is my rock and I lean on him probably more than I should, but he never complains. He works so hard for our little family and is always happy to help those in need. He is also an amazing role model for our little men.
I am truly grateful for all I have in my life...  
Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Always watching...

I have known this little guy is Daddy's #1 fan for quite some time.  I have also known that he watches EVERYTHING his Daddy does.  What I didn't know was that he was also doing this little routine...
I used my stealth skills to capture this little picture.  He ties his towel {like his Daddy} and puts on deodorant {also like his Daddy}.  I know kids watch {and listen to} everything, but wow!

Lesson learned...good thing this little guy has such a positive roll model.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Thankful Craftiness

  Unfortunately I have gotten out of the habit of blogging, and the longer I wait, the more overwhelming it gets.  For that reason, I'm not going to waste precious time with my Mom guilt...I'm just going to dive on in and play catch up.

No Better way to get back into the blogging spirit than to start with a thankful post.
This house has been really focusing on being grateful for everything that we have.  Not just this month, but all year.  So I thought since the spotlight is on thankfulness this time of year I needed a few things to really hit this idea home, not just with the kids, but all of us.

I started with this adorable banner as a daily reminder.  I found the inspiration, and FREE printable letters here.  Then of course I put my own twist on them and mounted them to thick card-stock in the shape of flags.  I love how it turned out!

My next little project was really fun for the kids.  Lets face it though, ANY time I get out the finger paints, they are SUPER excited!

I simply printed this tree {which can be used for so many things by the way} and inserted my wording.  Then I got out some fall colored finger paints and let the boys go to town with finger print leaves.  How cute is this?!?!

Last, and certainly the most fun and meaningful, I made a little garland on our chandelier.  Nothing fancy, but worth while.  Everyday each of us writes one thing {and it can be ANYTHING! }we are thankful for on a leaf, smear a little glitter glue on it and hang it with a clothespin.   
I can not tell you how much I LOVE LOVE LOVE this one!  You can make a fireplace garland a larger tree and "pin the leaf on the tree".  Whatever you do, this one is worth it.     

So now go ahead and show your gratitude.  

Friday, November 2, 2012

Grammy and the Grandsons

 This Grammy now has three grandsons!
They barely fit on her lap.
And yes, she had to bribe Ty with a dollar to pose for the picture.