Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Crock Pot Chronicles {Nutella Hot Chocolate}

If you were my facebook friend then you would see my frequent posts involving the word Nutella. I have somewhat of an obsession with the treat and I am finding excuses to put it in just about everything.

If you haven't had Nutella, then I advise that you step away from your computer immediately and make it a top priority to acquire a jar. Then pay that information forward. We have a responsibility to share the good things in life and Nutella is definitely one of them.

So I've combined three of my very favorite things to create something I'm dreaming about when I'm not drinking it.

Crock pot + Hot Chocolate + Nutella = Christmas, Your Birthday, and unexpectedly finding a twenty in your pants pocket all rolled into one. 

Being able to throw all the ingredients into the crock pot before heading out to play in the snow with my boys, and then coming in to warm cocoa is nothing short of amazing in my book.

Now where is that snow?? Not that I ever need an excuse to drink hot chocolate.

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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Grateful Hearts {Teaching Gratitude to our Children}

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November and December are months where most of us stop and consciously pause to reflect on the things we are thankful for. Most notably at Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner, over hoards of turkey or ham, dressing, and sides. This time of year is a great time to openly celebrate with our family how fortunate we really are. I love this time of year for that very reason.

As parents though, my husband and I are largely concerned about instilling real gratitude into are children all year around.We are personally grateful for so much; a healthy family, a warm bed, food in our fridge, clean water, and the list goes on. The basic necessities that can often be taken for granted. We see ourselves as lottery winners of sorts, to be born in a country such as ours with the freedom, opportunities, amenities, and overall abundance living in America provides.

I've been told that raising children with a grateful heart starts with self-awareness. In a culture where the Hiltons, Kardashians, and Jersey Shore cast are among the role models exposed to our children, this can be hard. Extravagance, materialism and self-entitlement is the constant theme being sold in main stream media. Having excessive value on wealth, power and popularity does not only promote an inferior view children have of themselves, but also a loss of real genuine perspective.

Perspective can always adopt gratitude. Gratitude always parents joy.

Having nice things is of course nice, but truly finding meaning and fulfillment in the most simplistic of things fosters real joy.

Expecting and encouraging gratitude with our children is really two different things. Instilling gratitude in our children is an on-going work in progress. Intentionally practicing gratitude, modeling gratitude, and spreading love and generosity as a family can really make a difference. Here are a just a few things that I've found that can be done through the year to do just that.

1. Every birthday and each Christmas have children choose one of their older toys to donate to charity for each new toy they receive. Then let them be apart of the actual delivering to the family or charity.

2. Participate as a family in a giving/angel tree program where you pick a child or family to buy gifts for. Make sure your child learns about the child they are buying for and then allow them to do the shopping. If possible be apart of the delivering so they can further feel the joy that comes from the giving. (a place that does this is my church,

3. Sign up as a family to feed a family for Thanksgiving either by putting a box together or serving in a place like Gospel City Gospel Mission downtown. (Crossroads also does this)

4. Make cookies or crafts together and then take them to a nursing home. Your kids will be a welcome sight there.

5. Have your children write thank-you notes often to people in their life like their teacher, the mailman, their grandparents, even the Easter Bunny after he delivers the loot. 

6. Most importantly model gratitude. Tell your kids you love them, tell them why and tell them often. Let them see you writing thank-you notes, spreading love, and being generous. 

See you later in the week for a fun Thanksgiving grateful craft!

Recommended Reading:  (amazing site!)

Have the Guts to Do it Right: Raising Grateful and Responsible Children in an Era of Indulgence by Sherri Moskowitz Noga

Growing Grateful Kids: Teaching Them to Appreciate God in Ordinary Places by Susie Larsonpost signature

Monday, November 14, 2011

Grateful Gobbler

Long time-no see! Here we are propelled into the holiday season already! Got all your Christmas shopping done? Yeah, me too. 

New happenings around my neck of the woods include my new gig as a contributing blogger for Cincinnati Parent Magazine! I've named it The Minivan Momologues. Catchy, huh? I'll be posting some crafty fun, thrifty tips and random mommy musings a few times a week there. I think that will force me to organize and structure myself to be more consistent in blog posting here and there. 

This last week was all about Gratitude and I found an inspiring craft to give-a-go myself and I just love how it turned out. I shared it over at MM and am jazzed to share it here to. 

This is a great craft to do with your kids in the month of November. Each day leading up to Thanksgiving have the members of your family write or draw on a feather what they are thankful for, and then add it to the turkey's bum. On Thanksgiving use the completed turkey as a visual aide to spark wonderful conversation at dinner as you celebrate the holiday. Saving the feathers from year to year will be a fun way of collecting memories and to catalogue your family's feelings of gratitude. 

{Grateful Gobbler}


2 styrofoam circles (1 larger than the other) 
4-5 sheets of brown felt 
googly eyes 
yellow and red felt for the beak and gobbler 
paper tape 
hot glue gun 


Turkey Body 
 Cut one sheet of brown felt into 1.5 inch strips for the smallest circle and another in 2 inch strips for the largest one. Glue strips around the sides of your circles. Trim as necessary. Lay styrofoam circles down on your brown felt sheets and trace. You'll need two for each circle size. Cut out and hot glue to each side. Trim again as necessary. Now glue the smallest circle onto the lower bottom of the largest circle to create your turkey body. 

Turkey Face 
Cut a small triangle out of yellow felt for the beak and a elongated heart shape out of red felt for the gobbler. Glue googly eyes, beak and gobbler to the smallest circle to create a cute little turkey face. 

 Cut feather shapes out of construction paper. I used orange, red and green. Tape toothpicks to the lower back of the feathers. 

I suggest sticking a couple toothpicks on the bottom of your Grateful Gobbler so he stays put and doesn't try to roll.

Enjoy the memory making!

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Monday, October 31, 2011

{Happy Halloween}

Happy Halloween Friends! I hope you have made the most out of the spooky season. My family and I sure have. By now we've all dressed up a few times for different events and parties. Here's a glimpse of some of the costume fun we've been having. 

First let's start with last year's Mad hatter and Queen of Hearts. Mostly because it's my favorite costumes to date. So I will be overly gratuitous with the pictures.

It took some thrifty finds, sewing & hot gluing, and  good 'ole fashion elbow grease to bring them both together. 

We even won best costume on a friend's party last year. 

This year we stuck with Tim Burton with Beetlejuice and Lydia. It made our 80's/90's hearts very happy.

This year I also went with a friend to a party and dressed as a Doll. She dressed as Cindi Lauper.

The make up was fun and only slightly laborious. 

My boys also dressed as Woody and a Ninja for HallZOOween this year. 

They have different costumes for trick or treating tonight that I can't wait to share. 

Truth is, I'd like lots more opportunities to create costumes and wear them. I guess I never really grew out of my dress-up phase as a little girl. 

So have a wonderful night of spooky treats, cute costumes and sugar induced comas!

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Sunday, October 9, 2011

Goblin Gear

Oh my friends, one of the greatest holidays of all is upon us. Halloween! In my house it is taken very seriously. Costumes are brainstormed, decided upon and mostly diy'ed. A true labor of love.

 Last year my two little goblins wanted to be Batman and the Joker. Of course my little Caleb was very specific about which joker he wanted to be. I felt I had my work cut out for me on this one. 

Purple trench coat? Not gonna find that at The Gap. I'm also not the most experienced seamstress, actually I shouldn't use that word. I can use a sewing machine, that's about it. My saving grace was seeing felt on sale at my local fabric store and rejoicing that the edges wouldn't have to be finished. So I purchased both purple and green felt at half off (so not a major loss if I botched the whole thing) and got to work winging it. 

Did I mention I like quick projects with instant gratification? Tedious detailed projects and I aren't friends.

I used a pair of Caleb's existing pants and long sleeved shirt as my patterns.

 For the coat:
 I folded the purple felt over to double it up and laid the shirt down on top making sure the top of the shirt was on the folded end. I traced using chalk around his shirt accounting for several inches for trench coat length. I then cut out and literally sewed up all the sides. I cut down the center from collar to end so he could put it on and folded back the upper sides to form a collar and pressed.  

 For the pants:
 I doubled the purple felt and laid his pants down, traced with chalk, cut out and sewed up sides. This technique is not going to win any awards, but it worked! 

 For the vest and tie: 
 I also doubled the green felt and literally free-handed with chalk a vest. I cut out and put it on Caleb noting how it fit and then adjusted. I cut a tie shape out of the felt and hand stitched it to a white t-shirt he wore underneath the vest. To be completely honest, all of this could have been done with a hot glue gun and some hope. Felt is the best. I found some purple gloves at the dollar store and cut the fingers. A bit of makeup and my little Mister was maniacal. 

 Batman was easy as I just used a thrifted costume and cut to fit my little Quinn. He would not allow additional fussing. Turns out kids waiting for mother-loads of candy don't nap well, therefore creating a case of the grumps.

 I'm not sure if the boys enjoyed wearing them more than I enjoyed the whole process. So what to do this year? Do I make it easy and go store bought this year for my guys? My busy schedule is making me feel the time crunch. Let's see what I can do maybe with some more felt and a hot glue gun. Stay tuned!

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Monday, September 26, 2011

{Weekend Adventure} Photography

I think I mentioned here about my new photography hobby. I have been really practicing and getting acclimated to my dslr as of late. I'm truly starting to feel like I am getting the hang of this wonderous little machine.

So when my cousin Kim  asked if I would take some fun photos of her and her husband to celebrate her baby bump, I of course said yes. After all, I desperately need the practice and they were so ideally open to a fun shoot with a range of Pinterest inspired ideas.

A local park and a few hours later we had some shots I just adore.

It was such a pleasure to photograph a beautiful couple who were so patient with my inexperienced-self. It was also a wonderful learning experience.

What did you do this weekend?

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Monday, September 19, 2011

{Crockpot Chronicles} Roasted Chicken

I could sing a sweet serenade of love to my beloved crock pot atleast once a week for saving me from the dinnertime blues. Really, what's better than forgetting you had dinner in the crockpot until you hit your front door and the aromas enter your nose. A huge sigh of relief always follows. 

It seems many others share my enthusiasm for crockpot cooking. Lately I've seen that the crockpot girls and skinny crock have reached a massive amount of followers who are also sharing their favorite tried and true slow cooking meals. 

My plan this fall and winter is to plow through as many of these recommended recipes as possible. I'll be sharing here as I try each one, reporting the low-down on how easy it was to to do and how delicious the results were. I'll start with one I've used several times over the last few weeks that is a real pleaser in my home: Lemon & Herb Roasted Chicken

Trust when I say that I may never roast a whole chicken any other way. I know the following picture may not look overly appetizing, but you would be so wrong. So very wrong.

Time for you to try this so you can sing it's praises as well!

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Thursday, September 15, 2011

{Pinspiration} Text on Canvas

My addiction to Pinterest no doubt has birthed endless inspiration to start multiple projects. The trick is completing one and actually liking the end result. Everything looks possible and flattering on a pin board. Case in point is one of my latest DIY art projects inspired by this pin of Alisa Burke and her canvas art she created with a shoe polish applicator.

So cute, right? How awesome does that look on her wall above her couch with all those beautiful pillows? All I could think was: want.want.want. must have. must have. 

E.E. Cummings writes poetry that speaks to me. This poem in particular has been a favorite of mine for as long as I can remember. 

Luckily because of my faithful thrifting, I already had a large canvas on hand to re-purpose that I purchased for a whopping $5. Looks like all I needed was some white paint to cover the current art on the canvas and some black shoe polish. Easy enough.

With a spare hour or so to myself in the front yard, I followed Alisa's directions and got this:

The shoe polish in the applicator was really easy to  write with. I did however misjudge my letters and spacing, so things got a bit cramped there at the end. There are really no rules with this type of art, so even-still I like the free spirit of it, especially the running of the shoe polish. 

Surprisingly my husband liked it too, but after putting it up over my coach in my own living room, I am not sold that its the best compliment to the space. So for now this canvas does not have a home in my home, but I enjoyed the process and know I will use a similar technique for future projects. 

So I say success!

What has Pinterest inspired you to do lately? It really has infiltrated my menu, my style, my home and my thoughts!

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Monday, September 5, 2011

A Summer Farewell

Howdy! Hope you are enjoying your Labor Day weekend. It is always bittersweet for me. I love the long holiday weekend, but am heartbroken that it signifies the end of summer.

Especially since the summer has been full of sun, water, trips and lots of laughter.

Farewell Summer. You will be missed.

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Wednesday, August 17, 2011


It's WIWW and I am again sharing some things I wore the past week. Unfortunately my photography of said outfits is yet to get better. Time my friends, is my downfall. In the spirit of keeping myself accountable for not being a frumpy Mommy, I'm posting anyway.

I went back in time recently with a friend. We hit a cute vintage boutique where I put on this frock that I actually considered buying for for a minute. In the end I walked away, but I've been thinking about that cute dress everyday since. Isn't the dressing room completely awesome??

I snapped this picture while on a break at work. Atleast my head is in it this week:)

top: kmart clearance ($1!)
cardigan: thrifted
skirt: Banana Republic
shoes: thrifted new

My color choices had me feeling like a Mortician all day for some reason. I wonder if it's all the Six Feet Under I've been watching. And as I look at that photo I realize that the fact that I put a skirt on most totally trumps the fact that it is more wrinkled than a Shar-Pei.

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Monday, August 15, 2011

{DIY Silverware Art}

I am having the hardest time finding art for my home that I can live with.  I've been scouring pinterest and the internet in general for inspiration. Somewhere along the way I saw some art involving silverware and adored it.

After finding a great color spray paint on clearance and realizing the multitude of canvases I have to repurpose, I finally had a direction.

Now for some cute silverware graphics. For weeks I put the project on the back burner while I try to figure that out. As luck would have it, last night I pulled out a Trader Joe's paperbag to put Caleb's school supplies in, and the spoon and fork on the outside of the bag said "here we are!".

I quickly cut out those cute little spoons and forks and modge podges their butts on to the freshly painted canvas that previously donned an Italian vineyard scene.

I'm gonna have to live with it a few days before I say "I do". But I think we might be long time friends.

What do ya think?

linking up:

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Wednesday, August 10, 2011


Another Wednesday sharing what I wore and linking up over at the Pleated Poppy for WIWW. This week has been as hectic as the last with trying to stuff everything in before school starts next week for my little first-grader.

Maxi dresses are the way to go when the legs are less than smooth and the constriction of pants is a solid NO for the day. Seafoam Target dress to the rescue. And it's true I might be obsessed with belting.

Maybe next week I'll get my whole body including my head in a shot. Maybe next week that mirror will be clean. Not if my kiddos have anything to do with it.

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Friday, August 5, 2011

{Apple Coleslaw}

In the summer, all I ever seem to want to eat are summer salads along with grilled meats. Light and yummy. My new thing is to make a couple vats of different salads on Sundays and keep them in the fridge, so that after work my husband can throw some meat on the grill and we have an easy and fast meal.

This new thing of mine has been rather successful in my house all summer. It has afforded me time to spend with my boys before bedtime where I would normally be cooking in the kitchen to get a meal on the table.

The yummiest one of all is my apple coleslaw. It's astounding how easy it is. You'll find yourself thinking "where's this been all my life?"

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Wednesday, August 3, 2011

{WIWW--Black & White}

That stands for What I Wore Wednesday. That's right, I decided to link up over at The Pleated Poppy today (as well as a few other places).

I've been tuned in every week to what the lovely Lindsey has been wearing and am totally inspired by how she keeps herself accountable for getting out of the disheveled Mommy look that we can all fall into sometimes. Like yesterday when I went a whole day bra-less in my pajamas with a side pony.

Last week I used my camera phone to snap a quick pic during a break at work in thinking I might start doing this on Wednesdays. It's ridiculously blurry.My apologies.

 The awesome news is that I've been seriously scoring thrift shopping lately and I'm loving it.

striped shirt, black cardigan, belt and shoes-thrifted

jeans-Gap skinnies

A less blurry picture of my hair accessory made by Moi. Easy to make and I love wearing it.

This morning I purposefully cut off my head because I hadn't got that far and was wondering if I actually would since I was already running late. Please also ignore the mirror smudges my children lovingly make by pushing their faces and tongues against it. I've given up on keeping it clean.

white dress - thrifted Forever 21

black cardigan & belt- thrifted

black tights and sandals- Target

and here's the cuff I'm wearing, upcycled by myself from a thrifted piece of leather. I adore it.

How do you keep yourself accountable for not looking like a hotmess Mommy most days? Let's be honest, it's so very easy to do.

Hope to see you next week for another WIWW.

edit: It seems that Wednesday in the blogosphere is the day to share what you are wearing! I'll also be linking up over at Wildflowers & Whimsy for Rock the Runway (I totally love that title!).

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Thursday, July 28, 2011

{Ode to Turquoise}

I've been addicted, obsessed and crazed with the color turquoise since elementary school.The intensity of my obsession hasn't waned a bit into my adulthood. If a room in my house isn't a shade of it, then the accessories in that room are.

I love to decorate with turquoise, wear it, accessorize with it and even eat it.

Let's celebrate the most beautiful color there is, shall we?

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Latte Wishes and Turquoise Dreams,

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