Monday, April 15, 2013

What You Missed-Part One

  Happy Monday, Loves!

I swear to God, I do have some ideas for more creative blog posts rolling around in my head. Unfortunately, today's post is not one of those. 

Before I get to the really good posts, I feel compelled to fill you in on what you missed while I was away on my strange blogger's block hiatus....somehow, my weird OCD (or whatever this is) won't let me get passed recapping those 4 months before I can move on. I'm not sure what's up with that. I'm thinking that it's entirely possible I'm just certifiably crazy. It's not likely, cause I'm pretty sure someone would have said something to someone on my behalf in the last 36 years if that were the case, but you never know. Perhaps everyone I know has been wringing their hands and having whispered conversations like, 
 
"She knows she's crazy, right?" 
 
"I don't think so...someone should tell her." 
 
"That's awkward. I'm not going to tell her. You tell her." 
 
"Dude. I'm totally not having that conversation with her. What if she snaps?"
 
"She'll probably figure it out on her own eventually, right?"
 
"Probably. I mean, how can she not see how crazy she is?" 
 
"Yeah, you're right. Wanna go get some pizza?"
 
  I have issues...let's just leave it at that.
 
So, anyway. I believe I left you right after Thanksgiving.  Here's a recap of the first few months after that...
 
December
 
Christmas  came and went and we had a lovely holiday.  I got a new SLR camera and have been having loads of fun learning how to use it since then. Trust me, it's still very much a work in progress. 


There was cookie baking...
 
 


 
And sledding...
 
 
 

And lots and lots of snow....






And presents and celebrations and love...


January
 
 
Pretty much nothing except this happened in January. Seriously. I live in the frozen freaking tundra. You missed nothing.
 
February
 
February was a little bit more exciting (to be fair, it really had nowhere to go but up).  
 
 
 
 Husband and I went to New Orleans for the Super Bowl!! Well, I went to New Orleans to tag along with Husband who had tickets to the game but, that's a minor detail. This is us in the French Quarter.




 Jackson Square
 
  And with a drunken Homer Simpson on Bourbon Street
 
 
 
And with a sober (I'm assuming) Aaron Rodgers at the NFL Honors Award show. This is a picture of a the screen on someone else's camera. Sorry for the ghetto quality of the photo. 
 
I'm working on an entire post on NOLA...stay tuned.  
 
 
 Out of interest for your time, and (let's be honest) my shear laziness, I will save the March/April recap for another day.  
 
On another topic....it appears that while I was away the blogging Gods have decided to do away with GFC/Google blog reader?  WTF??  This is disconcerting.  I'm all confused and frightened now.  I guess I need to get my cookies moving on this.  So...I'm linking up with  the ladies at Northern Belle Diaries and Postcards From Rachel for their I heart Bloglovin' link up. 
 
 



So, that's that!

Enjoy the rest of your Monday!

xoxo,


 

Monday, April 8, 2013

Hi. I'm Not Dead.



Imagine, if you will, that I am sheepishly poking my head into the room and waving a small, embarrassed hello. Cause that's what I'm doing in my head.

So, let's get the awkward explanations out of the way right off the bat. I was unexpectedly gone for a while.  A long while.  I'm not sure why, other than I tend to do that.  Fall off the face of the earth, that is. 

Nothing horrible happened, my family is fine. I'm fine. We're all fine.  I just needed a little break from blogging that I meant to last just through New Year's and now, well, it's freaking April.

Oops. My bad.

I get a little reclusive in winter...kind of like a crabby, hibernating bear. When I'm in that state, I feel like nothing I could write would be fun or funny or interesting and it all seems like way too much work anyway.  (Hmmm...depressed much, Jen?)  Yeah...if I'm being totally honest, I believe I do have a touch of Seasonal Affective Disorder. (It's a real thing. I swear. Go Google it.) But the sun is slowly coming out and the snow and ice are finally gone and I can feel myself coming back to the land of the living.

I live in the wrong part of the country, that's for damn sure.  I dream of living in Southern California someday where I hear they have things like plants and sunshine and temps above 7 degrees between the months of November and April and all the people there walk around feeling all superior what with the sufficient levels of vitamin D coursing through their veins and all. Hell, I could move to Southern Ohio and have less of a barren winter wasteland to contend with than I do here in the fair dairy state of my birth...

But, that's neither here nor there. I am back now and I can already feel my blogging mojo returning. Just the act of logging back into my account and dusting off the cobwebs has triggered a whole slew of future post ideas.  Thanks to all of you who stuck around and to all of you who subtly and not so subtly (I'm talking to you A) pushed me to get back into the game. And thanks in advance for being patient with me as I find my voice again.  

This post is definitely sub par but I have to just write something and slap it up there or I'll never be able to start again. I was just reading back some of my old posts and I was relieved to realize that I'm not as big of a no talent ass clown as I thought. So, there's hope for better posts to come. I promise. 

Incidentally, I've always wanted to work the phrase "no talent ass clown" into a post....Yes! I AM back!

See you all (very) soon!

XOXO,



Sunday, November 25, 2012

Thanksgiving Recap

Hey, Loves!
 
Just wanted to let you know that I survived Stressgiving. And it turned out to not be so stressful in the end. Chaotic? Yes, but in a good way. It wouldn't be a holiday with my family if it were anything less. We had a lovely time and ate some pretty yummy food {if I do say so myself}.
 
 

 Does it get any better than matching brother/sister turkey hand Thanksgiving outfits? I think not. 



 
The table...simple and lovely.
 
 
 
 
My sister and Husband. He was hard at work carving the bird, I think she was a little drunk. She had just finished explaining to me that she was going for "Modern Pilgrim" with her outfit. Let's just say it was a fun Thanksgiving...
 
 

 
XOXO,
 
 
 

 

 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Happy Stressgiving

Hey, Loves!
I had a different post planned for today but I just haven't gotten to it yet. I'm hosting Thanksgiving this year and as much as I promised myself not to get stressed out....I'm totally freaking stressed out.

As of right now, I have to take the dog to the groomer, go pick up my turkey, go get my phone off my desk at work where I left it last night (doh!), make one more stop at Target for a few last minute things including a replacement for the doughnuts that were supposed to be for Friday morning that my children just sniffed out of their hiding place and snarfed down while I was upstairs starting the 5 loads of laundry I have to finish by tonight.  I also need to change all the sheets, mop the floors, dust, vacuum, clean the bathrooms, put away laundry and start cooking. And it's not that I've been procrastinating, honest. Last night I was up late, grocery shopping, cleaning out the fridge, the pantry, and the linen closet in the guest bathroom. That's when all the lights in the guest bathroom decided to short out and explode. So my family will be peeing and showering in the dark while stepping on tiny shards of glass. Awesome.

Oh, and Husband casually announced that he was going to go out after work tonight with some co-workers and would be home late.  I gave him that look. You know the one? The blank stare down, "So help me God I will end you. Just try me." look and so I think maybe he'll be home on time. 


Other than that...I'm totally freaking jazzed for Thanksgiving. Truly, I am. Or, I will be. As soon as I start drinking.....Is noon too early? Noon seems about right. 

A glass of wine or four two and I'm sure the scene around here will start looking like this in no time.



But for real, I'm really grateful for all my blessings. Like all the extra wine I have in my fridge right now. And my family. But mostly, right now it's the wine.

Happy Thanksgiving! 


And by the way, make sure to head over to Carly's blog Lipgloss and Crayons today! I did a guest post featuring a delicious holiday side dish recipe....and a yummy, festive cocktail! While you're there, look around Carly's blog. She's my fashion idol. And even though I was in middle school when she was born, I totally want to be her when I grow up. 


XOXO,

Monday, November 19, 2012

DIY Glittery Thanksgiving Garland

Hello, friends.

I have a really cool little DIY Thanksgiving project to share with you today. I'm seriously in love with the way it turned out. Like, I keep walking past it and stopping to admire it and then I say to whomever is standing within ear shot, "I really love that. Isn't it cool? I'm so proud of myself." By now my family's eyes have begun to glaze over and they just reply with a patronizing, "Yeah. It's great." 

That's why I'm so glad I have you guys. You'll understand. It's a glittery Thanksgiving garland for the mantle. I really love it. Isn't it cool? I'm so proud of myself!

I found my inspiration here via Pinterest.





Here's how you do it:

You'll need wood letters, glitter, Mod Podge (or just regular school or craft glue would work too), a paintbrush or sponge applicator,cup cake wrappers work great for holding the glue and glitter, hemp twine, and a hot glue gun (I just got a mini one and it worked fine).




That's right you guys, I bought my first glue gun. Crap just got real up in here. I'm a real crafter now. You better watch yourselves.





Apply a generous coat of the glue to one side of the wooden letter. If you'd like to be neat an uniform I would suggest doing that yourself. If however, you prefer to have glue all over everything I recommend finding a four year old to handle that job for you.





If you can find one with a strange hand tattoo even better.





As soon as you're finished applying the coat of glue, generously sprinkle on the glitter.
 




Just a tip: If you're still utilizing that four year old from the last step, don't say the phrase "use a lot of glitter" out loud. That will result in approximately 257 times more glitter than is necessary being used. It will also result in finding glitter in strange places all over your house for approximately the rest of your life. You've been warned.

When you've coated the letter shake off the excess glitter and reapply to any bare spots. I found that it helped to kind of press the glitter into the wet glue before shaking the rest off.





Incidentally, this is the glitter I was using. I actually found a mix called "Autum Leaves." It was red, orange and green. Perfect!  And sorry about the creepy eyes of General Petraeus staring at you from behind the glitter.  That has got to be the strangest sentence I've ever typed. There are so many jokes hidden in there but I will leave it alone. This is a Thanksgiving craft post on a mom blog, after all.


Moving on...





After all of the letters are sufficently glittered let them dry for awhile. We ended up getting busy with other stuff and waited about two hours but that was probably way longer than necessary.


Cut a piece of the hemp to the length you want it and tie a loop at each end.






Grab your trusty hot glue gun, flip a letter over and apply a line of glue along the top. Then adhere it to the hemp. This stuff dries super fast so you have to work quickly. Hence there not being a picture of the actual gluing of the hemp step.





That's how they'll look once they're glued on. I recommend stretching out the twine and lining up the letters the way you want them with the correct spacing so you can just go down the line, flip each letter over, apply the glue and then stick it on the string.

Then that's it! You've got a perfect, sparkly Thanksgiving garland to enhance your holiday decor! 




Here's a close up of the finished garland. Have I mentioned how much I love this?

I've already planned out another one for each holiday..."Believe" for Christmas, "Be Mine" with a wooden heart in the middle for Valentine's day, "Lucky" with a wooden clover for St. Patrick's day, and of course, "Happy Birthday", "Happy Easter"...the possiblities are endless. 

Endless just like this post if I don't wrap it up.



 Have a sparkly Monday everyone!

XOXO,


Sunday, November 18, 2012

A Peaceful Fifteen Minutes

 
Happy Sunday, Loves!

So, this morning I attempted to do one of those photographic "day in the life" journal post things to share with you. I got through the first 15 minutes of my day and then I sorta forgot to keep taking photos. So I gave up. That totally sucks for you because my day has been pretty exciting. Not really.

For reals though, I'm going to attempt to do it again sometime. It looks as though I'm going to have to work my way up to the whole day. The level of motor planning involved in photographing your entire day is clearly beyond me at the moment. 

For now, I present to you a photographic journey through the first 15 minutes of my day...

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
  
My day started at 7am.  Normally, the kids fend for themselves for a good hour before Husband and I decide to roll out of bed on the weekends. It's our passive aggressive way of getting back at those punks for all the sleep we missed out on when they were infants. We figure we've got a good year of sleeping in on weekends left before we're even. At least.

But, this morning Mr. Man had a friend sleep over so I felt the need to act like a normal mother and actually wake up before the kids. Ugh.



This was the lovely view from the deck bright and early this morning. The sky was just beautiful today.



 
This was another view from the deck. My dog doing her morning business. Just keeping it real.




When I was finished taking in the lovely view and Skyler was finished with her morning routine, we headed inside. I managed to brew a cup of coffee, take one sip of that and one bite of a doughnut before the kids came tearing down the the stairs. And that was the end of the peaceful part of my day. It was fun while it lasted. *Sigh*

Later in the day I did manage to unleash my inner Martha so I'll have a cool Thanksgiving DIY situation to show you tomorrow. How excited are you? You should be very excited. Glitter was involved. And a glue gun. That's all I'm saying.
 
How was your day, everyone? I hope you all got a chance to reflect and relax. 

{Even if was only for fifteen minutes}. 



XOXO,

 


Friday, November 16, 2012

A Classy Thanksgiving-The Reprise

 
 Hey Guys. So I'm a big cheater cheater pumpkin eater today. I'm reposting a post from November of last year. I figure I can get away with it since 99% of you were not FUMC readers at that time. Heck, I barely read this blog back then. Also, this is a great green bean casserole recipe and I thought you may like to have it before Thanksgiving this year. You're welcome.
 
xoxo,
Jen
 _______________
 

I had a wonderful Thanksgiving, and I hope all of you did too!  The best part of my holiday is pictured above...Oh, Mr. Man-please stay six forever...

Unlike last year, I did not host 237 people at our house. Instead we went to my in-law's house which meant I had blissfully little responsibility around the whole event.  

All I made was this, my favorite Thanksgiving side dish...


It's my version of Classy Green Bean Casserole 
found on my go to cooking website, Allrecipes.com 


You read that right, it's green bean casserole-only classy.  How great is that?  I feel like maybe Ron Burgundy submitted this recipe...

It's actually a really great version of green bean casserole.  And I have to say, the way I make it ups the "Classy" factor ten fold.  No canned green beans for me, thank you.  That's not classy enough.  I like to use whole fresh green beans and then I blanch them.  Also, I keep the crushed butter soaked buttery crackers on top but I don't leave out the french fried onions as in the recipe.  I feel without french fried onions, green bean casserole has no reason to exist. I mix them into the casserole itself.  When I serve this to my father-in-law I also add shredded cheddar on top. ( The man won't eat vegetables unless there's cheese involved.  We live in Wisconsin so that's really not that weird, I guess).  In the version pictured I also threw caution to the wind and risked making this recipe too classy by using whole wheat butter crackers instead  of the regular kind.

Class...it's my new thing. (Name the movie!)

So here's my version of the allrecipes recipe:

Classy Green Bean Casserole

2 pounds fresh green beans, ends trimmed
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 cup sour cream
1 container french fried onion
1 sleeve buttery crackers (like Ritz) coarsely crushed(use the whole wheat variety if feeling extra classy)
2 Tbsp butter melted
1 cup shredded cheddar
salt and pepper to taste

After washing and trimming the beans, dump them into a large pot of boiling water for a minute or so then remove and immediately rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process(in other words, blanch the suckers).

In a large bowl, combine the beans, soup, sour cream, fried onions, and salt and pepper. Transfer to a 9x13 inch pan.

Top with shredded cheese and then the crushed crackers soaked in the melted butter.

Bake for about 30-35 minutes at 350 degrees or until the casserole starts to bubble and the crackers are browned.

Sadly, I didn't get this post up before Thanksgiving so it's too late for you to enjoy this deliciousness.  However, there's no reason you can't have yourself a Classy Little Christmas by serving this dish at Christmas dinner, now is there?

Right now, however, I'm actually making my other favorite dish Hamburger Noodle Pleaser to bring to my brother and sister-in-law's house tomorrow...they had a baby boy last week and I can't wait to drive down to Illinois so we can squeeze meet him!  The Pleaser is a perfect "Hi! You Just Had a Baby! Here's some Food!" dish to bring new parents on account of the way it freezes so beautifully, just FYI.

Once again, I hope you all had a wonderful, classy Thanksgiving and that your hearts are all filled to the brim with thankfulness...I know mine is.

xoxo
Jen



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