Winter Fun For Kids

My son, Eugene, is obsessed with snowmen lately, and no, not because of Frozen.  Wisconsin got dumped on with snow once so far this year (odd) and I took Eugene outside to make a snowman.  It was roughly 2 inches in totality (the snow was not packing snow) and melted within the week.  It hasn't snowed since, so paper snowman crafting it was!! We had a blast making this and Eugene is very proud of his work.


Coffee Shop Drinks at Home

If you're anything like me, you love coffee shops and all they have to offer.  But let's face it, we don't always have the time (or the money) to go that often.  I've never invested in fancy coffee makers (aside form my espresso pot) or those hand-held frothers so I couldn't believe how awesome this latte turned out today. 


1. Make espresso on stovetop (or brew strong coffee in a coffee pot)
2. Heat 8 ounces of evaporated milk (I used 2%) in the microwave for 2 minutes
3. Pour heated milk into blender & mix on high for 1 minute (letting steam out the top as it froths)
4. Combine the espresso & milk, spooning foam on top

That's it!!! You can add caramel or chocolate sauce to the evaporated milk before microwaving for added flavor.  I prefer my coffee less sweet so I just added a little sugar to the blender mixture.  You could also add any flavor coffee syrups to this drink as well as sprinkling/drizzling anything in your pantry to the froth if you are feeling creative.  This tastes amazing iced, as well!! Enjoy.


Holiday Art Print

I have been working on designing our Christmas cards this year- as in, I am creating the artwork for said card in Photoshop.  I finished the design and loved it so much I went ahead and turned it into an art print available in my Society6 and Etsy shops. This would make a great gift for a buddy or to put on your own holiday wish list.



Simple, Four Ingredient, Buttercup Squash Soup Recipe

Finally the days are cooling off and sweaters, boots and winter gear are slowly finding their way out of storage and onto us.  Chilly nights call for warm, hearty soups and fresh baked bread.  You will not believe how easy and fast this delicious squash soup is to make.  Using 4 simple ingredients and then pureeing the mixture in the blender results in the most rich, velvety, tasty soup.  

Simply halve a buttercup squash (not to be confused with a butternut squash, although that would certainly work, too) and roast face-down in a 350 degree oven for about an hour or until very soft.  At the same time, roast a pan of orange, red and yellow peppers for about an hour or until slightly charred.  When peppers are done, throw them into a paper bag, close bag and let sit for at least 10 minutes.  This will make removing the skin very easy.  After removing the skin and seeds/innards, throw the squash and peppers into a blender and add 4 tablespoons of butter.  Stir butter until it melts.  Lastly, add 2 cups of milk or cream and puree until you reach a soup consistency.  Add more liquid as needed.  Soup is now ready to eat.  If the soup has cooled too much from the cool milk, warm soup on the stove.  You could also make this soup vegan by omitting the butter and adding vegetable stock instead of milk/cream.  Add croutons, chopped nuts, seeds or Crème fraîche to soup. Enjoy!


Super Easy Apple Bread

Hello, world.  Did you go to the apple orchard yet this season?  Are you having a hard time coming up with yet another apple recipe?  Are you sick of apple crisp? I did, I was and I am.  So, I made some apple bread that is so easy a kid could do it.  And then I let my almost two year old practically do all of the work.  He had blast.  I even had a mini bread pan (shown in pic) so Eugene could have his own loaf.  This is one of those awesome dump all the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, add the apples and almonds, stir and bake kind of recipes adapted from here.  In this recipe, I used all white flour, used applesauce instead of apple butter and used brown sugar-glazed almonds.  It is so soft and so, so good!  Enjoy!


Bat and Owl Buddies: Printable Tracing Templates

Greetings friends! There is nothing too spooktacular (sorry!) about the owl and bat that Eugene and I created one rainy afternoon.  However, I like them because it is a good reminder of how simple materials such as paper, glue, scissors and sequins can come together to result in an awesome, fun project.  Not very crafty?  Not to worry, here are free printable bat and owl templates you can trace to make this project even easier.  Cut a bunch of these guys out and make Halloween garland to hang around your home.  Enjoy and have fun getting creative, friends!


DIY Rolling Wood Stump End Table

A long time ago my husband and I spotted a large stump-round on someone's curb.  I begged Josh to haul this 70 pound beast into our trunk and he did because he is awesome.  We got busy removing the outer layers of bark with a crow bar.  When the bark was gone we sanded the stump until it was very smooth.  Then my dad and FIL dropped by and requested a project to do for us so we had them add casters to the bottom.  I recommend using 4 of the locking casters- they will add balance and stability to the table in case there are children around who could knock it over onto themselves.  Then it turned bitter cold in Wisconsin and we left the beast on our porch to dry out/winterize.  And then I had baby Elsa and forgot about said stump.  Fast forward to a gorgeous fall day (yesterday) when both kids napped for a very long time (4 hours).  I was finally able to paint and finish the stump.  Hooray!! I used painters tape to block off triangles of different widths.  I just eyeballed it and didn't measure, but if you're a perfectionist, by all means measure.  I used some fun paint colors to jazz up our front porch and then I sealed the table with some spray varnish.  I am so happy to have this project done in time for my favorite time of the year when front porch sitting is at its finest! Happy DIY-ing, friends!


DIY Clay Pumpkin Patch

Most days lately, Eugene excitedly runs to the doors that open to the art/activity supply storage extravaganza and yells, "MAKE, MAKE!!" until I agree that it is indeed time for a creative activity.   He also happens to be obsessed with pumpkins currently.  Almost every day he insists that we make or draw something pumpkin-y.  Today we made these clay pumpkins.  Eugene helped by rolling the clay into pumpkin shapes and coloring a few of them orange with oil pastels.  Eugene helped me find a little stick from outside and then helped paint it white.  After the stick was dry, I simply broke it into a bunch of tiny pieces which became the stems for the pumpkins.  This is an easy, fun, fall activity to do with or without kids. Enjoy!


Autumn Fun: Leaf Art Project for Kids and Adults

It's that time of year again...YAHOOOO! The leaves are turning colors and are beginning to fall from the trees.  Why not grab a few of them next time you are outside for this fun sensory project?  You can go also on a nature hike to gather leaves/weeds which is what we did.  Leaf art can not be any easier to do with your wee ones.  Eugene dipped the leaves in paint and went crazy.  We leaf-stamped, used the weeds as a paint brush and got messy with the paint.  The point of this project is to use different textures to create a design and introduce your child to using nature as a tool.  The end results are always awesome.  I ended up framing Eugene's work and he is so proud of himself! Enjoy 


3-D Hanging Bird Project for Children

Hi friends! I have another fun and simple project that you can do with your kids. These will be sure to brighten your child's day and your house.  Enjoy!

To assemble birds start by cutting out various bird shapes using any cardboard type of material (we used a cereal box).  Paint both sides a fun color and let birds dry.  Poke a small hole in the middle of the bird and insert feathers on each side. We added sequins for the eyes and then hung them using lace and washi tape.  Eugene is loving pointing to them and saying "birdie".  Another fun project would be to make a bunch of trees that could house your birds.  The possibilities are endless!


Paper Bag Owl Craft Project for Children

This is a pretty self-explanatory activity to do with your littles.  It turned out really cute and was easy enough that Eugene, who is 22 months old, was able to help.  I started by tearing two holes where the eyes would go and tearing the wings out from some scrap paper.  Eugene and I used a glue stick to attach the wings.  I let him go crazy with the pink paint (acrylic...gasp! It's not washable but we were careful, sort of).  I let Eugene scribble all over the owl and I added the details using a black Sharpie.  Any number of materials can be used, including kid-friendly ones.  You could get über creative and add sparkle, sequins, feathers etc...


The Ultimate 10 Minute Hummus

I know what you are thinking. You have made homemade hummus before and it always turns out grainy. Or hummus tastes better store bought. Nonsense!! Not only is this recipe super easy and fast (10 minutes, tops) it turns out rich and velvety. How, you ask? The microwave! Nuking the undrained chickpeas with their skins on and with the garlic cloves makes for an amazing hummus. You will want this in your party repertoire to impress all your people! I am not kidding. Enjoy!

***If you have extra time and want to bring this hummus up to an eleven, take a square of aluminum foil, throw some olive oil and 4 cloves of garlic inside it, fold it into a ball and proceed to roast in the oven for 45 minutes on 375. Add this roasted garlic to the hummus instead. Or you could add roasted red peppers, Greek olives, cilantro or roasted jalapenos to the hummus.


Father's Day Caramel Pecan French Toast

Father's Day is this Sunday! Do you need an easy, delicious brunch idea for dad?  This french toast is awesome and will be sure to wow your dad/husband/anyone.  Both my dad and my husband love sweets and this recipe gets nothing but praise from them.  It is basically your regular old french toast with some pecans, powdered sugar and warm caramel sauce thrown on top. You can also butter the toast if you dare!  For the caramel sauce I just use the microwaveable Breyer's caramel sauce that is intended for ice cream. Super easy and so yummy. Of course if you are feeling super ambitious feel free to make some caramel sauce from le scratch. That is not happening over here. My no fail secret for the best french toast is to use good bread.  Do not go with that cheap white bread nonsense. Instead, go to a bakery or the bakery section of your grocer and buy the crusty, fresh, expensive (not really, it is like $3.75) bread. Get a nice sized loaf and if you ever find a pecan loaf buy that. You can thank me later. Happy Father's Day to all you awesome dad dudes out there. You all rock!!


Food | Blueberry Coconut Energy Balls

Do you ever experience the afternoon slumps?  Is it just me because I have two kids, one who I am nursing still?  Well, these easy-to-make balls will help you get out of any energy crisis.  My husband went to seminary in Vancouver, B.C. and he refers to these as "Vancouver Balls," insisting they taste just like Vancouver.  That is a compliment, right?  So, the husband claims to like them, Eugene (our son) loves them and I need them. 

To make: Throw a large handful of each of the dry ingredients plus 2 tablespoons of honey into your food processor.  Pulse the mixture until a clumpy mass forms.  Roll the mass into bite-sized balls.  Brush each ball with honey and roll them in sweetened or unsweetened coconut (the honey helps the coconut to stick).  These will keep in Tupperware in your fridge/freezer for a good while and are awesome to have on hand for after a workout, to put in the diaper bag or to snack on whenever.  Enjoy!

You can make these with any dried fruit or nuts that you have on hand- I even use raisins to add some fiber to the diet.  You can also add your preferred nut butter to them or add flax/crispy cereal/anything else in your cupboard you want to get rid of to the recipe!!  Just be sure to add more honey if the mixture will not form into a clump.  I would love to hear your ideas on what to add into the recipe.  


Salad | Strawberry + Spinach

Spring is here and that means the farmer's markets are just about in full swing!  Here is a tasty salad to make with some fresh farmer's market finds.  Pick up your favorite Balsamic Vinaigrette dressing (or make your own/use any vinaigrette dressing) and toss it with the following ingredients: 

To make candied walnuts (or pecans) melt 1 Tablespoon of butter in a frying pan and add 2 tablespoons brown sugar to pan.  Add walnuts after the sugar is dissolved and fry for a few minutes, careful not to burn the sugar.  Cool on wax paper until set.  Toss in sugar to coat.  Let harden for at least ten minutes/try not to eat them all.  Enjoy and happy hunting!


Mother's Day

It finally warmed up a bit in Wisconsin so we ended up having a picnic outside along the shores of Lake Michigan to celebrate Mother's Day.  Elsa slept the whole time, Eugene played on the playground, we all went for a walk along the harbor, we picnicked and thoroughly enjoyed the sunshine.  We only got yelled at once by the rent-a-cop for not having Cali, our dog, "on our person at all times." Laugh, cough.  I would say all in all it was a beautiful day celebrating motherhood.  I hope you were blessed as well!  


Mother's Day Brunch

Mother's Day is quickly approaching so why not show mom some love by throwing her a Mother's Day brunch!  I have put together some ideas to make a pretty, easy and affordable brunch for mom. Enjoy! 


Fruity Italian Cream Sodas

I was in the mood for something exotic (ha, ha) and fruity.  This Italian cream soda made with a fresh mixed fruit syrup was just the ticket! It is so easy to make.  I suggest making these for a party and wowing your guests. You could make the syrup days ahead of time, just be sure to pop it in your fridge.  If you have a wedding coming up, this would be a fantastic mocktaill.  Or add booze and sip on the ultimate wedding cocktail that is gorgeous and fresh!  


Spring Love

1. Fedora 2. Margarita 3. scarf 4. Brass Earrings 5. Floral Art 6. Skirt 7. Bag 8. Umbrella 9. Sunglasses

Well, it is not exactly warm in Wisconsin, but on those random sunny/nice days this is what I will be dreaming of.  I hope your corner of the world is delicious + Springy!  


Elsa Joy

Welcome to the world our sweet girl!!!! 
You were due March 23rd, mama had a C-section scheduled for March 18th + you made a very unexpected (yet so welcomed) appearance on February 22nd, 2014.  You were 4 weeks + 1 day early. To say I was surprised when my water broke early that Saturday morning would be putting it mildly.  On paper, we were not ready for you, but in our hearts we couldn't have been more excited to meet you.  As the medical team rushed about to get you out via an emergency C-section your father leaned over to ask me if I could feel all the joy in the room.  I could.  And so my beautiful Elsa, that is how you got your middle name, by bringing immeasurable joy to us that cold, winter, February morning.
We love you so much + look forward to everyday spent with you. 


Elsa's Nursery Art

Lately, I have been getting ready for Elsa's arrival which is SIX weeks from today!!!  This is also the reason I have been pretty non-existent from the blog-o-sphere.  What I have been up to however, is making Elsa some new artwork for her nursery, which I will call a huge accomplishment!  I would love for you to see what I have designing.  I hope you enjoy my work & feel free to comment.  You can also follow on Instagram, where I post a lot more often! Thanks for stopping by.

Available for purchase on Society6

Available for purchase on Etsy