Friday, May 31, 2013

Friday's Letters {IT'S SUMMER EDITION}

Dear Sweet Second Graders, Today is our last day together. Most of you I had the privilege of teaching in kindergarten two years ago and now getting to teach you again in second grade has made me so glad. I had so much fun at our end of the year party yesterday at the park. I loved watching you play in the fountains. Your smiles and laughter are contagious and I will truly miss being your teacher!!! *insert sob here* Dear Drew, You are planning fun birthday surprises for me already and that makes me so excited. I love that you know how much I love my birthday. When I asked you why this one was special and required extra planning you simply smiled and said "because you are getting old." Haha. Love you too hunny and p.s. you are older than me. Dear Summer Vacation, You are here at last and I plan to enjoy every single second of you! Summer bucket list coming up next week.
Dear Summer eating,  I am kind of obsessed with all the fresh veggies out there right now. My summer meal plans are going to include fresh ingredients with lots of color. I've already tried out 2 pinterest recipes that screamed summer to me. You just have to try this one oh and this one. Dear Drew (again), I am so excited for what is happening with your job. I am so proud of you and can't wait to spend our summer "off" doing fun things together! Cheers to summer vacation


Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The time I took my students to the top of the Carew Tower...

One thing I absolutely love about my job is being downtown. I never in a million years would have pictured myself teaching downtown, but God knew what I wanted more than I did! My second graders have been studying community so instead of just looking at books I decided we needed to get out in the city ourselves. We had a field trip already planned to walk to the patent office to get some of their inventions patented so we went from there to the Carew Tower to get a view of our city! The Carew Tower is one of the tallest buildings in Cincinnati and you can go all the way to the top and get a great panoramic view. On the way to the Carew Tower the kids wrote down all the community workers they saw along with all the places that provided a good vs. a service. It was so fun to be out downtown with my students. Just watching them get excited talking about Skyline providing us with goods made my little teacher heart happy.
We were 49 stories up (574 feet above our city) and so many of my students and their parents had never seen this view of Cincinnati. It was amazing seeing their faces light up seeing the Bengals stadium, our school, the river, etc. I really wish I could share their sweet faces with you, but I think these pictures show you enough. We had an amazing time together and I can't believe how quickly my time with them has gone this year! We only have 2 1/2 days left and I am getting sad thinking about my kids moving on.

Do you have a place like this in your city? If you live in Cincinnati or ever visit I highly recommend taking in the view from on top of the Carew Tower!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Remixing Outfits 19-24

Happy Memorial Day lovelies!! I hope you all have your grills fired up for a cookout or your swimsuits ready to hop in a pool today. Summer is right around the corner and I couldn't be more excited. I'm going into my very last week of school and my last week of remixing THIS week. I can't believe it!

Every week I think okay this will be the week I get stuck and can't think of any other way to remix my closet, but somehow that just hasn't happened yet. Here are my outfits from last week including what I wore to a baby shower and a bonfire and my jeans finally make an appearance...
Tank top: Gap, Knit top: LOFT, Shorts: Limited, Booties: H&M, Bangle Bracelets: Banana Republic
Shirt: H&M, Belt: Limited, Skirt: Target, Wedges: Jessica Simpson-Dillards, Watch: Fossil, Purse: Fossil, Necklace: ATP
Shirt: Anthropology, Belt: Old Navy, Skirt: Target, Shoes: Sperry, Bangle Bracelets: Banana Republic
Shirt: JCREW, Skirt: JCREW, Shoes: Steve Madden, Scarf: Charming Charlie
Maxi: Whole Foods Belt: Francesca's, Necklace: Fossil, Booties: H&M
Tank top: Gap, Jeans: Lauren Conrad (Kohl's), Sweater: LOFT, Headband: Charming Charlie, Shoes: Sperry
See Days 1-6 here, Days 7-12 here and Days 13-18 here.
Enjoy your day off! I will be cooking out with my family and then watching the Bachelorette tonight!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Why I heart Cincinnati + an amazing Etsy shop!!!

There are SO many reasons I love Cincinnati. The people are wonderful, you get to experience all 4 seasons, we have our own MLB and NFL teams, our downtown is hip and up and coming, the food will rock your socks off, there are amazing parks and museums and it is home. I was browsing Etsy one day (dangerous past time) and looking for a Cincinnati print for our guest bedroom and I came across Farin's fabulous shop, Seaworthi. Farin is a graphic designer from Cleveland who obviously loves Ohio as much as I do because many of her prints show the amazing features of cities in Ohio. I love the mixture of different fonts and graphics. She captured my favorite Cincinnati spots perfectly!
She sent me this print and I'm in love. It comes in several different colors, but I had to go with Buckeye Red. I immediately went out and got my print framed and it is now in our guest bedroom so out of town guests can see how awesome Cincinnati is.
Now if you aren't from Ohio don't tune out because Farin also has some adorable prints for you non-Ohioans too! I love the Lumineers quote print below. Click here to see details about it.
So go visit Farin's shop now and then add Cincinnati to your list of places to visit...on your way to somewhere else. Haha. But really, Cincinnati is a wonderful place to live! What other city has a Purple People Bridge and Flying Pigs?

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

I'm a sucker for lost pets...

If you know anything about me you know that I have a HUGE heart for animals. My house growing up must have had a sign on it that said LOST PETS WELCOME because they all ended up at our doorstep. Well even after I moved out, somehow lost pets know where to find me. When I see a lost pet I have this problem...I have to stop whatever I'm doing and help it. I have been known to stop in the middle of intersections, run down railroad tracks and even stop on my way to a wedding in my high heels to save an animal. I just can't help it!  Read this if you don't believe me.

So this weekend we had a little visitor on our front porch and Drew and I were smitten with him...
Since we know most of the pet owners in our neighborhood we knew this little guy was lost so what did we do? We decided to take a picture of him and set off to find his owners as we would want someone to do for us! We walked door to door and collected clues about the mystery kitty. Have you seen this kitty?
After talking with about 5 people up and down random streets and knocking on about 10 doors, we hit the jackpot. We found the kitty's owner a few streets behind our house. We rushed home to make sure that the kitty was indeed still on our porch, which he was and we took him to his home. He was such a sweet kitty and my heart was full knowing he was back with his family safe and sound.
The next day a lost dog was walking down our sidewalk...I swear I let off some type of signal that says I'm a sucker for lost pets.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Swedish Meatballs + Cookbook WINNER!

Today I'm sharing another recipe from the amazing cookbook, Dinner A Love Story. Thanks to all of you who entered to win a copy. The lucky winner of this cookbook is....AMANDA! Congrats girl. Send me an email with your address and I will have Jenny ship out your cookbook to you!!

Ever since an IKEA moved in near my house, people have been talking about their Swedish meatballs. So when I saw a recipe for Swedish meatballs in Jenny's cookbook I decided it was about time I try them and I'm glad I did! Here is what you will need...
  • 1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
  • 2 1/3 cups low-salt beef stock, divided
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 cup minced onion
  • 2 thick slices bacon, minced
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 3/4 pound ground pork
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream, whisked
  • Lingonberry preserves (found at IKEA) 

-Start by mixing the breadcrumbs and 1/3 cup beef stock in a small bowl. Set aside. 

-Melt 1 Tbsp. butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until browned, about 10 minutes. Transfer onion to a large bowl
-Wipe out pan and return to medium heat. Add bacon and cook until crisp. Using a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to bowl with onion. (Reserve bacon fat.) 
-Add next 8 ingredients to bowl with onion mixture, mixing with your hands to blend. 
-Fold in breadcrumb mixture. 
-Using a 1 Tbsp. measure, roll meat mixture into balls; transfer to a rimmed baking sheet.  
 -Melt 1 Tbsp. butter with reserved bacon fat in a large heavy pot over medium-low heat. 

-Working in 3 batches and adding 1 Tbsp. butter between batches, brown meatballs on all sides, about 6-8 minutes per batch. 

-Transfer meatballs to a plate. Drain all but 2 Tbsp. drippings from pot. Whisk in flour until smooth paste forms. Stir in 2 cups stock; bring to a simmer, whisking often. Return meatballs to pot. Cover; simmer until meatballs are cooked, 5-6 minutes. Remove from heat, whisk in sour cream, and stir to coat meatballs

-Serve with Lingonberry preserves
Click here for the original recipe source.
Have you ever made or eaten Swedish Meatballs???

Monday, May 20, 2013

Remixing Days 13-18...half way there!!!

Happy Monday! I hope you all had fabulous weekends. My weekend update is on hold this week because today I'm sharing outfits 13-18 in my 30x30 remix. That means the remix is now more than half way over!! You can tell I'm an overachiever because I have yet to wear my jeans! Hopefully I haven't used up all my creativity and I don't have boring outfits the last 2 weeks. We'll see...either way I'm proud of what I've done so far. I've definitely stepped out of my fashion comfort zone.
Top: F21, Shorts: LOFT,  Earrings: Charming Charlie, Shoes: Jessica Simpson
Top: JCREW, Belt: Old Navy, Skirt: H&M, Shoes: Gap, Necklace: Fossil
Top: Banana Republic, Belt: Limited, Skirt: Target, Shoes: Steve Madden
Tank top: JCREW, Sweater: LOFT, Short: White House, Black Market, Headband: SWeetnessaboos, Bracelet: Fossil
Blazer: Kohl's (Lauren Conrad, Belt: Francesca's, Tank top: JCREW, Skirt: Target, Sandals: Gap
Tank top: Gap, Sweater: LOFT, Skirt: JCREW, Shoes: H&M, Necklace: Gifted
See outfits 1-6 here and outfits 7-12 here.
And make sure to check out some of the other amazing ladies participating in the challenge!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Friday's Letters

Dear Summertime, Only 9 1/2 more days until I can call you mine. I can't wait for all you will bring. Dear Sugar Daddy (Drew), You have been working so incredibly hard (7 days a week) so that we can have some extra money for our Colorado trip this summer. I love that you do it with a smile on your face. You are amazing. Dear Little Sister, I am so excited to share your Etsy shop with the world. Thank you for my amazing banana hammock. And do you find it as funny as I do how much our husband's look and act alike? Hmmm. Dear Hammock, I can't wait until it's summertime and I can set you up and lay in you all day while finally crossing books off my list. Dear 30x30 remix, You are halfway over and I can't believe how much more fun I am having with my wardrobe. I recommend you to anyone who is bored with their closet!!!! Dear Amazing Readers, I hope you know how much I love you all. Being a part of the blogging community has been such a surprise blessing in my life! Now click on over here to enter to win a free copy of the cookbook, Dinner: A Love Story.



Thursday, May 16, 2013

Pan Fried Pizza + A Cookbook Giveaway!

Recipe from Dinner: A Love Story {see my cookbook review here}

I've made many different kinds of pizzas in my kitchen, but never with a cast iron skillet...until this week! If you are looking for a new spin on pizza you need to try pan fried pizza.

What you need:
::Medium size cast iron skillet
::Olive oil
::4 oz. ham or prosciutto (I bought already chopped up ham)
::1 16 oz. ball pizza dough (I did store bought to save time)
::1 cup Pizza Sauce
::1 8 oz. ball fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
::1 and 1/2 cups pineapple cubes
::4 or 5 fresh basil leaves (shredded)

What you do:
Start by chopping, shredding and slicing ingredients so you are prepped to go then go ahead and preheat the broiler.

Add a little olive oil to your cast iron skillet and fry up the chopped ham over medium-low heat until it is crispy. Set cooked ham aside.

Prepare your pizza dough then divide dough in half so you can cook up 2 pizzas. Roll each pizza dough half into circles the size of your cast iron skillet. The dough will be thick.

Heat the skillet to medium and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add half of the rolled out dough. Cook for 2-3 minutes until you see the dough start to bubble then flip it over. Add half your sauce, half the mozzarella, half of the ham and half of the pineapple. Cook for another 2 minutes until the bottom is cooked then stick the skillet in the broiler for another 2-3 minutes until the cheese is melted.

Remove skillet from oven and sprinkle fresh basil on top. Take pizza out of skillet and repeat with remaining ingredients. I loved the taste of this pizza and the thickness of the crust. Yum!
And now the exciting part...the author of Dinner: A Love Story, Jenny Rosenstrach, has generously offered to give away a copy of her amazing cookbook to one of YOU. Enter below to win!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Remixing Outfits 7-12

Week 2 of remixing is now over and I honestly can't believe how much fun I'm having mixing and matching my clothes and accessories. I already have a few "go to" pieces that I feel I could wear almost daily and I still have a few bottoms that I haven't even worn yet so I'm feeling pretty good going into week 3. Lessons learned this week: First, I do not love wearing shorts. Why I picked 3 pairs for my remix, I still don't know, but I am always happier and more comfortable in a skirt. And second, experimenting with different fabrics and patterns makes me strangely happy. Here are my outfits days 7-12 including what I wore to a last minute Broadway show and for Mother's day!
See outfits 1-6 here!
Linking up with Lauren Shanna and Lindsey

Monday, May 13, 2013

I'm ready for a nap now...

My weekend started on Thursday when I scored free tickets to see Sister Act at the Aronoff! My friend Bekah and I went and loved everything about the show! We are becoming regulars at the Aronoff cultured we are.
Friday night was a low key night, which was perfect after a crazy week. Drew and I got take out from a hole in the wall Thai restaurant and then we had our small group over.
Saturday I met my friend Stephanie at Panera for lunch and we treated ourselves to pedicures.
Saturday night we kicked off our Mother's Day celebrations by having my family over. My sister and I made dinner and dessert for my Mom and grandma. Derby pie was for dessert...that stuff never gets old! I am so incredibly blessed to have such a loving and supportive mom who has taught me so much about joy and loving the Lord.
Sunday we went to church and cooked out at my parent's house. Then we met up with my in-laws for dinner at Buca de Beppo to celebrate my Mother in law aka my second mom. She is lovely inside and out and I'm forever thankful to her for raising such an amazing son!!!!

And now I'm ready for a nap. Do I haaaaaaaaave to go to work today? Someone please tell me no.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

How to host a Derby party!!!

Our annual Derby party is quickly becoming one of my favorite events to host. The time of year is perfect for a party and you just can't beat Southern food!! After having done this two years in a row, I feel like I have a few tips and fail proof Pinterest recipes that I can share with you...
My Derby Menu included Derby pies, Country Ham & Biscuits with Mustard Butter and Benedictine Sandwiches. I stuck with finger foods that were easy to make lots of and have extras on hand. Here are a few of the Pinterest recipes that I used and they were all delicious!
Country Ham & Biscuits
Mustard Butter
Benedictine Sandwiches
Drinks are always an important part of any party. A staple drink for any Derby party is a Mint Julep. I used fresh mint from my Mom's garden for garnish and then had striped straws out for fun. My Mom has been collecting Derby glasses for a long time and has quite the collection. I loved that everyone was able to sip Mint Juleps out of an authentic Derby glass. And since a few of my friends are pregnant I made Mock Mint Juleps using another Kentucky favorite drink, Ale 8. I used these Pinterest recipes...
Classic Mint Julep
Mock Mint Julep with Ale8
I made a few banners to hang up around the house with scrapbook paper that resembled a checkered flag. I was going for a vintage look and used an old Coca-Cola box and these amazing Mint Julep napkins that I found at TJ Maxx of all places!
Since the Derby only actually lasts 2 short minutes and starts early in the evening it is always smart to have a few back yard games to play. Croquet is a good option, but we prefer a game we learned from England called Kubb. The person who drinks the most Mint Juleps will probably provide you with some excellent post derby entertainment as well. Tad, you win.

And my favorite part of the Derby...
Cute dresses in fun prints and colors accompanied by a hat...what could be better? The guys chose khakis and light weight shirts. I thought every one looked great including baby Jack who wore his first Derby hat.
Have you ever hosted or been to a Derby party???
I would love to hear about it!

Linking up with Katie and Steph for Saw It, Pinned It, Did It!