Thursday, January 31, 2013

SPD: Strawberry Banana and Nutella stuffed French Toast

A few of my girlfriends and I decided to have an early Valentine celebration complete with Downton Abbey, Mimosas and breakfast for dinner. We wanted a delicious meal so we went where you go for any great idea...pinterest and started drooling over a recipe for Strawberry and Nutella french toast. Original pin found here. We looked up PW's french toast recipe because really where else do you go when you need a good recipe? We used her recipe for french toast found here and then to make it festive we cut the bread into heart shapes using a heart cookie cutter before soaking them.
Once we had our french toast hearts cooked, we stuffed each layer with nutella, bananas and strawberries and chowed down. We literally cleaned our plates! This was hands down the most delicious french toast ever!!!

Linking up with Katie and Steph!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Lately...

I saw this idea on Jennifer Blair's lovely blog and thought I'd try it out. Here are a few things I've been enjoying lately...

I've been sipping on...vanilla steamers. You know, steamed milk and vanilla? I'm a simple girl and easy to please. This is my go to drink at Starbucks when the holiday drinks aren't there to tempt me. For some reason drinking these reminds me of being a little girl and I find them so soothing!

I've been listening to...Audrey Assad's CD, Heart. It came out last Valentine's day and is one of my favorite cd's. This song is such a comfort to me.
Sparrow by Audrey Assad on Grooveshark

I've been reading...Kate Morton's newest book, The Secret Keeper. I loved her last book, The Forgotten Garden and have had to wait a month for this new one to come in at the library. (Yes, I'm one of those people who still goes to the library) It is a popular book apparently.

I've been watching...Parenthood and more Parenthood. I'm finally caught up and I just love it!

I've been experimenting with...mushrooms. (I just realized how bad that sounds...haha.) Honestly I never used to love cooking with mushrooms, but now...I'm in love! I am anxious to try this recipe for Mushroom and Bacon Spaghetti!

I've been trying...to stick with our budget. I haven't bought any new clothes this month! My secret...avoid Target at all costs.

I'm excited about...getting my Valentine package from my V-day swap buddy, Nicole!

I'm thankful for... a little brother who challenges me to think. We had a really deep discussion at Red Robin of all places and even though we don't always agree, I'm always challenged to dig deeper into my beliefs after talking with him.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Make banana pudding...pretend like it's the weekend

Sometimes you just need a little comfort food in your life. I like to make Banana pudding, listen to Jack Johnson's song about making banana pancakes pudding and pretending like it's the weekend. The recipe is below if you want to do the same. Hurry up Friday!!
Here is what you need:
-1 14. oz can condensed milk (I used Eagle brand)
-1 1/2 cups water
-1 (4 serving) package of instant vanilla pudding
-2 cups French Vanilla cool whip
-36 vanilla wafers
-3 medium bananas

In a large bowl combine water and milk, add pudding and beat well. Let this chill for 5 minutes. Then fold in the cool whip. Layer pudding mixture with bananas and vanilla wafers. Chill and then grab a spoon!
Original recipe found here.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Eat, drink and watch Mary...

one. Wine tasting at a grocery store...could we get any cooler?
two. Two of my favorite guys sipping on some beer.
three. Me with a new delicious wine.
four. The best burger ever.
five. You know it's a good girl's night when it ends with full bellies, slippers and Downton Abbey. Now do you get the "watch Mary" part of the title? I'm so clever. That or I had way too much time on my hands.
six. Strawberry Banana Nutella French Toast...don't worry the recipe is coming this week. YUM!
Hope you all had a great weekend!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Friday's Letters

Dear Jewel (my fabulous hair dresser), Why do you have to be on such a long maternity leave? I know you had twins and all, but I hate change and don't want anyone else touching my hair!! My gray hairs are taking over and my split ends are yelling at me to just stop being a sissy and go with who you recommended. I guess I'll have to give in, but please come back soon. Dear Sweet Husband of Mine, I'm really going to miss you while you are off having fun with the guys, but don't worry I'm having a Downton Abbey party with Bekah and Ellie while you are gone so I'll manage somehow. Dear "Short" week, Why oh why do short weeks always feel the longest? This absolutely makes no sense. Dear Indoor recess, We had you every.single.day this week and I'm about to pull my hair out! Dear Pizza Grilled Cheese, You were an amazing discovery! Yum! Dear Parenthood, I am finally almost caught up and I'm a hot mess. I still love you and think you are one of the greatest shows out there. Dear Sweet Husband (again), I'm excited for our wine tasting at Whole Foods tonight...who would have thought we'd be spending our Friday evenings at grocery stores so frequently?

Happy Friday friends!
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Thursday, January 24, 2013

SPD: Paint Chip Valentines!

The other night I was looking for a few quick and easy Valentine card making ideas and I found several ideas involving paint chips. Since paint chips are free I made a quick trip to Home Depot and acted like I really, really needed to find the perfect red-ish, pink-ish paint. I pretended to browse then stuffed my purse with tons of paint chips and high tailed it out of there. Here are a few of my paint chip inspired Valentines...
So easy and pretty adorable I must say. I can't wait to send out my Valentines!
Original pin from here.

Linking up with Katie and Steph!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Caramel Marshmallow Popcorn!

This makes the perfect sweet snack to munch on while you are cuddled up on the couch watching a movie. It would even make a fun Superbowl snack! Here's what you need...

1 bag microwavable popcorn popped
1 stick butter
1 cup brown sugar
2 Tablespoons Light Corn Syrup
1/2 tsp. vanilla
12 large marshmallows

1. Pop popcorn and remove any unpopped kernels (I used my Whirly Pop for the first time ever and it was amazing)
2. Melt butter in a saucepan on low heat
3. Add other ingredients and turn to medium heat
4. Stir until marshmallows are melted and mixture is blended
5. Pour the mixture evenly over popped popcorn in a separate bowl
6. Enjoy!
Original recipe found here.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Every weekend should be a 3 day weekend!

one. Took some cat naps
two. Ate Sushi
three. Got crafty and made some Valentine's cards with my friend Alison
four. Made my first pocket pie and loved it (recipe to come soon)
five. Out to dinner for a birthday celebration with Ellie
six. Max came to visit and my Mom and I enjoyed a walk in the sunshine
seven. Drew and Bear snuggling
eight. The remnants of Alex's bday celebration at a Japanese Bistro
nine. Happy 52nd (?) Birthday Alex

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Going on a first blate is like...

Going on a blate (blog-date) is a lot like going out on a real first date. You want to make a good impression so you have to think twice about your outfit, you want to be on time so you leave early, on your drive you start thinking about topics you could talk about in case of an awkward silence and then you start sweating because you are nervous and have to blast the AC, finally you pop in a piece of gum and head in...
As it turns out there was absolutely nothing for me to be nervous about because Erin was awesome and just as fun loving as she appears on her blog. We had planned on going to Ruby Tuesdays as a healthier option, but last minute decided Mexican would be much more fun. We ate chips and salsa, sipped on drinks and chatted non-stop like we were long lost friends catching up. We are definitely meeting up again, but next time we are roping in our husbands!
So far every single blate I've been on has been amazing. Have you ever been on a blate? Were you nervous?

Friday, January 18, 2013

Fridays's letter...and Floyd!

Dear Baby Kitties, I can't believe you up and took over Sarah's Floyd's blog today. I hope you said really nice things about me and didn't let all your sass shine through. You didn't tell them that we call you really silly pet names, or that we let you drink out of the sink or wave goodbye to you when we leave the house did you?! I love you either way though, really I do. Dear Weekend, Some cat naps are definitely in store for me this weekend, I'm exhausted! Dear Budget, You haven't been that bad...yet. I'm actually learning a lot. Please be nice to me. Dear Erin, I LOVED getting to meet you in real life. We are officially friends and I'm so glad!! No more "my blog friend Erin said..." Oh and you get your own post coming soon so don't be jealous that my cats stole the show today. Dear Season 3 of Downton Abbey, I already love you. Thanks for making me excited about Sunday nights! Dear Super Sweet Husband, Thanks for finishing dinner last night so I could get all my grading done. You are better than Nutella...and that's saying a lot from me. Dear Beer Bread, I've been dreaming of you since our last meeting. I will be making you and then eating you all in the same day. Watch out! Dear Blog Friends, You all truly are the best. Happy Friday!!!

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Make sure to stop by Total Basset Case to meet Sarah's dog Floyd and my little furbabies! Floyd enjoys a good cat nap too!
http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-l912Bfs7mxc/UDLe3ArkxnI/AAAAAAAAC_s/CObFmfpdkh8/s640/Favorite.jpg

Thursday, January 17, 2013

2 Valentine Banners, 2 cute displays...

Banner: Simply Burlap
Painting: Made by my oh so talented cousin
Books: My favorite books on the topic of love (The 5 Love Languages and Crazy Love)
Valentine Bags: Target dollar bin
Jars: Last year's Valentine's Day gift

Now hop on over to Kristen's blog, Ella Claire to see how she used her Valentine banner.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Random Wednesday...and surprise, surprise an outfit post!

In keeping with my New Years Resolution about being thankful for what I already have, I am trying really hard not to go out and buy new clothes, which means I have to get creative. I bought a plaid shirt from H&M a few months ago and loved the outfit I created with it for our Christmas card photo shoot and wanted to wear it again in a new way.
Here's what I came up with...and just a little disclaimer I am not a fashion blogger, but I did my best!
Linking up with The Pleated Poppy

Monday, January 14, 2013

3 Birthdays and a Baby Shower

This weekend was all about celebrating. My father in law, husband and Mom all have birthdays back to back to back, which makes for one tired daughter in law/wife/daughter! Seriously, I'm exhausted...and a little sick of birthday cake, but I love these people so much and wanted them all to feel special on their day.

Friday: We celebrated my husband's 29th birthday at Brew River Gastro Pub. He actually heard about it in Cincinnati Magazine and knew that was where he wanted to celebrate. It has a pub atmosphere, but they have their own chef and the food was top notch. We had a great time!
Saturday: I woke up early and made Drew Birthday pancakes. These are now officially a birthday tradition. Then I picked up my mom and grandma and we headed to my best friend's Baby shower. Her nursery theme is owls, which was carried over into the shower decorations. So cute! Saturday night I was beat so I caught up on Downton Abbey, baked a cake and worked on orders for my Etsy shop.
Sunday: Church and a birthday lunch with my family to celebrate my mom, grandma and Drew. We tried out a new restaurant, which was delicious and I made PW's Strawberry Shortcake cake for dessert. Honestly I've never had a better cake in my life. It's that good. PW knows how to make a cake. (Even if it did take me hours to make...it was totally worth it!)

I hope your weekend was fantastic!

Friday, January 11, 2013

A letter to my husband on his 29th birthday!

Dear Drew, Every year I spend with you I love you even more than the year before. When I met you at age 16, I never could have imagined how happy you would still make me all these years later. Not only are you handsome, but you have a beautiful heart. You love your family so much and would do anything for them. You want God to guide your steps and you desire to grow your relationship with him. You show me God's love and grace everyday. I couldn't ask for a better person to share my life with. You are my soul mate, my best friend, my taste tester, my partner in crime, my other half, my team mate, my comic relief, my support, my financial advisor, my Etsy shop assistant, my handyman, my prayer partner, my cheerleader, my massage therapist and my furbaby daddy. Thank you for being all that and more. Even when I'm a grumpster, you somehow find a way to make me smile!

We have so many fun adventures to look back on already and I know we have so many amazing adventures ahead of us. Happy 29th birthday hunny, I am so thankful to be your wife!
Love, Your Allie

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Thursday, January 10, 2013

"Go lower"



                                                                          Source: singingintherain.tumblr.com via Allison on Pinterest

Working with little kids every day I get to see their faces light up daily over the smallest things like new sharp crayons, being the teacher's assistant, pizza for lunch in the cafeteria, a letter from their teacher or a game of Math Baseball. I truly feel blessed to be around children all day for this reason among many others, but reading chapter 9 of Ann Voskamp's book One Thousand Gifts made me even more thankful for their endearing smiles and their sweet perspective on life. Kids really are smarter than we give them credit for!
As we get older, life seems more mundane. We have our routines and we end up putting God in a box along with all of our expectations. We go to work, we have to cook and do laundry, we have to worry about bills and home repairs. We forget how big and how amazing our world is and how amazing God is! "How much larger your life would be if your self could become smaller in it?" Remember when you first saw the ocean, had your first kiss or first tasted Nutella? It is "the joy of small that makes life large." We need to "go lower" and cultivate a perspective of smallness again. It is only when we live a humble life of constant surprise and gratitude that we can experience true joy. "God blesses the humble, for they will inherit the whole earth." (Matthew 5:5) So this week I'm going to watch my students and learn from them!

Don't forget to check out these wonderful gals thoughts on chapter 9 as well!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The Re-purposing Project Volume 1: Pipe Cleaners

In keeping with my 2013 goal of being thankful for what I already have, I am starting up a series called The Re-purposing project. I'm looking for things I already have around the house and finding new ways to use them!
While we were putting away all our Christmas decorations we went on a cleaning/organizing rampage and I came across a long lost craft bin full of supplies. As I was digging through it, I found a few packs of Pipe cleaners and decided that I needed to come up with a few ways to use them. The first way was inspired by an idea I saw on Pinterest and is an easy way to keep clothes from sliding off of hangers. We all know how annoying that is right? All you need are a few pipe cleaners and a plastic or metal hanger. Simply twist 2 pipe cleaners around each side of a hanger to make grips for your shirts. I tried it on a few of my shirts and it works like a charm!

Speaking of charms...with Valentine's Day coming up, instead of going out and buying wine charms to keep track of wine glasses, make your own wine charms with pipe cleaners. A heart is easy and perfect for any Valentine's day party you may be having! You could also make an X, O or an arrow!
And one last way to use pipe cleaners courtesy of my beautiful cousins...
Can you think of any other fun or practical uses for pipe cleaners??

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Beer Bread as easy as 1,2,3,4...

I know we have only been in 2013 for a few days, but I just discovered the best and most simple bread recipe e-v-e-r. It's as easy as 1, 2, 3, 4 because 4 ingredients are all that you need!
-3 cups SELF RISING FLOUR
-1 cup sugar
-1 bottle beer (any kind)
-3 Tablespoons of butter
Mix the first 3 ingredients (no butter) until just combined and pour into a greased bread pan. Put in the oven at 350 for 55-60 minutes. Remove from oven and pour the melted butter over it. The smell alone will drive you crazy so eat immediately.
See I told you it was easy. 
Now go make yourself some!