Friday, October 17, 2014

Holiday Baking Essentials by My Sweet Mission

I am so excited to have my husband's Aunt Heather join us today for a special guest post. She has an amazing food blog, that you must check out! She is also sharing with us today baking essentials and one of her gourmet cookie recipes! Her cookies, are the best cookies, I've ever had- hands down! Enjoy!

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Hello, I'm Heather and I blog over at My Sweet Mission. Michelle asked me to do a guest post on her adorable blog about my favorite holiday baking essentials and I was excited! Here's a little about me; Two of my passions in life are baking and missions and that's how I came up with the name 'My Sweet Mission'. My love for baking and cooking started at a young age. I'm the one that always brings the dessert and people ask for my recipes. My husband and I also love missions and have gone on mission trips to the Dominican Republic and Thailand. I've done several cookie fundraisers and because of our recent move from Michigan to Florida, I just ended a 2 year baking position at Baxter's, our church's restaurant. I would have to say, gourmet cookies are my specialty. So, today I'm sharing my favorite holiday baking essentials for making gourmet cookies. I'll also share our family's favorite Christmas Sugar Cookie recipe, just in time for the holidays!

Holiday Baking Essentials by My Sweet Mission
These cookies are my famous Chocolate Covered PB Cookies. My family loves these delicious cookies because they taste a lot like a peanut butter cup. Mmm...they're so good!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

6 Easy Gallery Wall Tips

Gallery Wall Ideas


I have been trying to get my entry wall revamped for some time now, and I finally did! Now, most of you haven't been to my house, but it's a very open floor plan, so lots of entry ways, windows and not a lot of blank wall space. Every house is different and you got to work with what you got!

So, here are 6 Easy Tips for a Beautiful Gallery Wall in any home.


1. Mix different shapes and sizes: Don't be afraid of that extra large frame or funky shape. The contrast makes it interesting.

2. Know your color theme: Are you going to do an all black and white wall, with black and white photos? A mix of bright colors, or more monochromatic? I chose to go monochromatic, with a dark black/brown frames to coordinate with our furniture in our front room. However, I did add a fun pop of color with an accent frame that coordinates with our rusty/orange accent chair across the room. The chair is not so close that it makes the room too "matchy-matchy" but rather pulls it all together.

3. Add fun accent pieces: Go for those out of the box pieces or the traditional accent pieces. Monograms and Letters are very "in" right now. My problem is that our last name starts with a "C" and 99.9% of the "C's" I find are too flowy. I loved the one I found at Hobby Lobby, because it was more boxy and fit nicely within my accent frame.

4. Don't just stick to frames for photos: Again, go outside the box and introduce a print on canvas. I love the one I got from Tiny Prints Home Decor. The quality was very impressive. The picture I ended up getting printed was taken with my phone too! Can you believe it? It looks really good, like a professional actually took it! I'm not trying to brag, I was just really amazed how well it turned out!

5. Play with textures: Mix up your textures, whether it's within the style of your frames or your accent pieces. I added a variety of frame textures and a few metal pieces; the "Key" and the "C" is a hammered metal.

6. Use paper and painters tape: when getting ready to hang up your frames. This way you can tweak your layout as many times as you like before putting holes in your wall. It takes some time, but will save you lots of time in the end. Plus, it doesn't have to look pretty! Not sure where to start hanging? Start in the middle and use that as your center line.
Gallery Wall ideas

Oh and don't forget to double check those measurements! ;)


Friday, September 12, 2014

7 Top Registry Picks for Baby #2

It's no surprise we are expecting Baby #2! And ITS A BOY!

Registering for baby #2 is a much different experience than your first. With your first, you literally need pretty much everything, your crib, high chair, stroller etc… so for your second baby you should be all set right? At least that's what most people think.

Now, a registry is usually for your baby shower guests to know what you need for your baby. However, even if you aren't having a shower or a "sprinkle" a registry is a good idea to keep a list of what you will need. Plus, most places you register at will send you a completion coupon of 10-15% off your registry items to get whatever else you need on your registry.

For baby #2 there will definitely be items that you will need. Especially, if the baby is a different gender.

baby #2 registry items
1. A good baby carrier: I wish I would've invested in one of these the first time around. Since we only had one, we just held her a lot. Now with two kids, I'm sure I will need a lot of hands-free carrying!

2. A Baby Book: You're going to want to keep track of all those milestones for every child!

3. Video monitor: More babies, means parents need more sets of eyes to watch over them. You will need another monitor to watch over the new little one.

4.  Nursing/feeding accessories: You may have a lot of these from before, but there is a lot that will need to be restocked and replenished. Such as: milk storage bags, nursing pads, extra bottles, new cleaning supplies.

5. Clothes: You may get lucky if your baby is the same gender and be able to use a lot of hand-me-downs. But even if your baby is the same gender, you may need certain season pieces if they are born in different seasons. This is a must for a new baby of a different gender.

6. Double Stroller: Another huge must, especially if you first is still small. Look for a stroller that will support your needs as your children grow together through different phases.

7. Diapers and wipes: This is another huge necessity. Especially if you aren't cloth diapering. Newborns go potty all time. I couldn't believe how many diapers we went through in the early months.

There are definitely other miscellaneous items you will need for another new baby. Little ones can tend to wear through stuff like crazy (or stain it permanently!) You may need to restock on items like crib sheets, burp clothes, wash clothes, body washes & lotions or possibly a new diaper bag.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Grandma's Swiss Cheese and Onion Quiche

best swiss cheese and onion quiche


Being pregnant with baby #2 I have had the hardest time eating eggs! I know they are so good for you, and usually I eat a lot of eggs in my diet. I decided to try and make my Grandma's quiche recipe and see if I would be able to eat (and enjoy) eggs.

So, I whipped up this recipe Saturday morning for myself and my husband, and Oh-my-word was it good. SO so good! Not only did I enjoy it, I had it again later for dinner and then finished the leftovers the next morning. My husband really enjoyed this recipe too- he had several slices! Between the two of us, we quickly ate all of the quiche!

I can't wait to make it again… will probably run to the store and get more ingredients this week! Hope you enjoy as much as we did!

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cup chopped onions
1 tbsp. butter
4 eggs
1 cup half & half (or milk)
1 unbaked 9 inch pie shell
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
1/8 tsp. pepper
1 tbsp. cornstarch
2 cups shredded swiss cheese

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a medium skillet, saute onions in butter until translucent. set aside. In a medium bowl beat eggs (brush a little on inside of pie shell) add half & half, and spices to eggs and beat thoroughly. Add cornstarch and cheese, mix well.  cover pie shell with onions, and pour over egg mixture. Dust with additional nutmeg.

Bake in center of oven for 35-45 until set, browned and puffy. Cool slightly and cut into wedges and serve.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Happy 3rd Anniversary!

Today is our 3rd Wedding Anniversary! 


I can't believe how fast time has gone by! A lot has happened in the last several years. We moved into and bought our first house. Had our first child and now have another one on the way!

Look at this guy! What a cutie!

On our Honeymoon in Mexico
 One of the best parts about being married has been starting a family. For us, God had us on the fast track, and we were expecting just a few months after our wedding. It was an unexpected, but happy surprise.  Elsa has been a huge blessing to us in this family. It's so true that the only thing better than having Chuck as my husband is having him as the father to our little girl. There is nothing that will melt your heart more or make you fall more in love with your spouse, than seeing them with your children.

I mean, look at this guy? He's such a good father and husband.  Always putting other before himself.

 He will even rub my feet on pretty much a daily basis. :) Ha ha.

He is what my mom calls, "a good one". But I think he's the BEST one!




So, for this anniversary we are on a bit of a budget saving for the arrival of baby #2. So we like to be creative with our gifts. Which can be a challenge, because he's like the most simple, down to earth guy there is. Doesn't want much or need much. PLUS, his birthday is a month before our anniversary (didn't think that through…) so all my bright ideas are pretty much spent. This year, Chuck kept telling me to just get him a card. Which is hard for me to do, because one of my Love Languages is gift giving. So in my mind, that's not enough! Ha ha. But I know he will be so satisfied with a heart felt card.

Thankfully, I received an email about Anniversary Cards by Treat. What could be more perfect to get the guy that is hard to buy for? I love that I could personalize it with our own photos. You can also personalize the message too. You can know for certainty that your card will be one of a kind, unlike the cards they have at the supermarket. The price is great too, it's the same price as your standard greeting card, or cheaper! They also have a digital copy format available if you want to choose that.

I could see using this for birthday cards, holidays, grandparents, etc. there are so many options and occasions to send someone a card!

I can't wait to see his surprised face when he gets his card this year!

Love you my dear husband!




Thursday, August 21, 2014

Shabby Chic Dresser Makeover!




Hello everyone! It's been a while and its been a crazy busy summer with a lot going on! My brother got married, Elsa had her second birthday, and we are expecting baby #2! So with all thats been going on, we have been trying to de-clutter and revamp Elsa's room and baby #2's room (which was formally our office!) There's been a lot to do and buy!

Thankfully, my parents gave us my old furniture from my room growing up, which I am going to use in Elsa's room. The only down side is that the furniture is a little bland and doesn't go with her room. So, we decided to give it a face lift!

This project was quite an undertaking while being pregnant and having a toddler to look after. There was a lot accomplished during her nap times. But with the extra energy of being in my second trimester, I managed to get it done in about 4-5 days (all by myself might I add! Go me!) I will give some credit to my husband who did the heavy lifting moving it out to the garage for me.

So for your Shabby Chic DIY Make Over you will need the following:

1 qt "White Truffle" paint, Semi Gloss (Behr)
1 qt "Wheat Bread" paint, Semi Gloss (Behr)
4-5 cans of white spray primer (flat white)
Sand paper (100 Grit)
Drop cloth
2 brushes
Polycrylic Finish Spray in Semi-Gloss
New Hardware (optional)


Step 1:
Remove all hardware from furniture. I lightly sanded to remove the shine and gloss from the stain, then used an old t-shirt to remove all dust. I did not fill in scratches because I wanted a worn look.

Step 2: 
Spray area with primer. Watch for drips and runs. It's better to use several light coats, then one heavy coat. Once dry, lightly sand any runs. Remove Dust. 



Step 3: 
Cover with base coat, white truffle. Allow to dry to touch.


Step 4:
Once base paint is dry, using a dry brush technique apply the "Wheat Bread" paint for a distressed look. A dry brush technique is to only apply a minimal amount of paint on the brush, wipe off extra if needed, and lightly brush to get a textured look on wood. Use sparingly, you can always add more paint. 

Step 5:
Allow paint to dry to touch, and apply Polycrylic finish. Allow everything to dry for at least 24 hours before putting back hardware, or drawers into the dresser. 





Step 6: 
Add new Hardware. I loved these I found at Hobby Lobby, I really liked to mix and match the colors too. 

Step 7:
Enjoy your brand "new" furniture!









Friday, May 9, 2014

Restless Bible Study: Review

Photo Credit: Christian Book.com


Are you Restless? Aren't we all a little Restless at times?
Desiring to be fulling our biggest potential? I know I am…


I was asked to review a new bible study from Jennie Allen called "Restless: because you were made for more". I was excited to give it a go, and see what this group study was all about. I called up my close bible study friends to see if they would be willing to do the study with me, and they were all very enthusiastic to join me when I told them about the study!

The format of Restless is similar to other bible studies that I had done before. However, there are some differences that I would say set Jennie Allen's apart from the rest!

The Restless Study kit comes with a  DVD, Leader book, Study Guide and Conversation Cards.

The Leader Guide is clear and simple to use. I've facilitated bible studies in the past where the leader guides gave over complicated, regimented instructions for each week. Which is fine for some, but I found that often the spirit of the Lord will direct the conversation in different ways. "Restless" is a perfect format for that.

The DVD has the weekly videos teachings on it, each video is about 20 minutes long. Jennie Allen speaks from her heart each week on the different topics, and you can feel her passion for the Lord. It's contagious!

The Study Guide is really unique too. In the past, the majority of bible studies I have done that are a DVD and work book format, have a "daily homework" feel to them. Which I have done, loved, and grown so much from. "Restless" has a Study Guide that is unlike any other I have done. It has a journal feel to it, with a creative side and gets you to think, dive deeper and write, doodle, journal, or whatever! The format is so open and creative! She breaks it out into a "study" portion and then a "project" portion. Which gets you thinking and processing through different and fun exercises. It's an exciting way to spend time with the Lord. I love the format, and wish more studies were like this!

The Conversation Cards are another favorite of mine. Jennie Allen allows for a lot of focus on discussion time. Which is another reason I love this bible study. With the videos being only 20 mins, she allows for 45-75 mins of discussion. The way the cards work is that each week there are a different set of cards with questions on them. Everyone in the group can grab a card and read their discussion question. It's a great way to get everyone talking! Which, with my ladies is NOT a problem, but it's a great way to discuss some great questions!

The content of the study parallel our spiritual journey with the Lord, with the story of Joseph. I have really enjoyed growing and learning with this study! I would definitely recommend it for anyone looking for "more". :)

God Bless!