Thursday, September 22, 2011


There is nothing that tastes better on bread than homemade jam.  I had no idea how fulfilling it would feel to put my own jam on a loaf of homemade bread until I was introduced to this obsession art 3 years ago.  I haven't purchased a single jar of jelly since.

If you have never made jam before, there is no time like the PRESENT.  It is a very easy process.  There are two types: freezer jam and cooked jam.  I prefer to do strawberry jam in the freezer (so I get the fresh flavor of the strawberries) and raspberry jam cooked so it can stay in the pantry.  Both are VERY simple.  All you need are canning jars, CERTO or SureJell, sugar, and fruit.  To make cooked jam you need a canner, but they are very inexpensive and can be found just about anywhere (grocery stores, drug stores, etc).

The entire process takes less than an hour... and the results last a whole year!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

This is living

After music and movement class today the boys and I walked around the river.  We brought a picnic lunch and sat on a blanket.  It was a beautiful day- not too hot and not too cold.  They LOVED all of the activity.  We saw buses, birds, and lots of people.  I just LOVE the enthusiasm they have for all of the little things.  It makes ME enjoy life so much more.  My oldest took off his shoes and went hunting for sticks and rocks in the river.  He had so much fun that his brother and I had to join!  We had so much fun splashing around that we decided it will be our weekly activity until it gets too cold outside.  Love looking at the world through a 3 year old's perspective  <3 .

Sunday, September 18, 2011

A Love Affair

Dear Fall:
I miss you dearly when you are gone.  I love the feel of change that is in the air when you are around.  You paint my world with beautiful colors, and bring me fond memories of years past.  I love to watch the squirrels play in your falling leaves and rake mounds of them up so my boys can leap into them and watch them fly.  I love the sound of laughter that is carried on your wind and the feel of a warm mug of apple cider or hot chocolate on cold fingers.  I love snuggling up with my babies and a blanket above a heater to warm up, and dressing in layers that include scarves and mittens.  I love the look of rosy cheeks and seeing a puff of air when I breathe out.  I love waking up to the patterns Jack Frost paints on my window.  I love sweaters and wool blankets, pumpkin bread and hot mochas.  I love lazy Saturdays spent watching football and eating chips.  I love nights cuddled up under blankets watching the stars.  Welcome back!
Love:  Me

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Dancing in the kitchen

One of my favorite things to do is dance in the kitchen with my boys.  They love spinning and dancing to the music, and it INSTANTLY cheers me up!  <3

Here's a song to get you started:

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Project: Playroom

My boys are 3 and 2... it's about time they had a more 'put together' playroom!  My budget was $65, and I stayed under it!  I have worked on it for the past month, and here are my results:

Found this dresser for FREE on Craigslist... after paint and supplies I ended up spending $50 refinishing it-

 This was my first painting project (my husband usually does it for me ;) )  I am proud of it!
I LOVE how unlike the shelves and baskets I have tried previously, this does not look cluttered... and every type of toy has it's own drawer!

 I used the 'road' part of their old train table to make their chalkboard.  Just added chalkboard paint and WA-LA (my youngest was too excited to draw to let me take a picture....):
 I got the bookshelves for free off of Craigslist as well (LOVE Craigslist!)  Just spray painted them black and they were as good as new!
 I 'decorated' using their current toys to save $$ but also so I didn't have MORE 'stuff' in the room.

It is still a work in progress, but it is coming along nicely!

Monday, September 12, 2011

To.Die.For.Apple Crisp

No.  Joke.  I HATE apple crisp.  A dessert should NOT have the name of a fruit in the title.  A dessert should be rich, indulgent, and include chocolate.  My husband professes not to like dessert (although, mysteriously 1/2 of the cookies I bake disappear when my back is turned....).  He DOES however admit that he has a weakness for 2 desserts.  TWO.  Seriously?  I couldn't even pick my top TEN.  Anyway, those two desserts are Tiramisu (EW.  seriously: who eats coffee drenched cake?)  and apple crisp.  In the 5 years I have known him, I break down and make tiramisu and apple crisp at least 4 or 5 times a year for him.  After 5 years, I have FINALLY come up with the prefect apple crisp.  Yes, we both LOVE it.  I may even make it MORE than 5 times this year ;)  .

Without further ado:
To.Die.For.Apple Crisp

Toss together in a dish:
5-6 apples, peeled and sliced (I used fuji)
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon honey
2/3 cup brown sugar

In a separate dish, combine:
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup oats
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking power
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup softened butter
crumble together then pour over apple mixture.

Bake at 350 for 45 min.  Then drizzle with caramel sauce.  Serve with ice cream.  YUM.

A lazy summer afternoon

It doesn't get much better than this!  Sitting on the back porch in warm- but not hot- weather.  Listening to a lawnmower, children playing, and a barking dog in the distance.  Content just to sit after a productive day spent playing at the park with the boys, cleaning and doing laundry, and work meetings/ reports.  Bliss.

Friday, September 9, 2011

A lovely weekend morning

Last weekend my boys and I got to see this up close:

It is an annual event and we look forward to it every year!  Maybe one of these years we will have to try to talk someone into taking us on a hot air balloon ride :)


We have been looking at houses.  There is SO much to buying a house!  I had no idea!  This is my first home purchase (the house we are currently living in my husband purchased before we met) so it is a bit overwhelming to me.  FIRST you have to find a house you like (um... not really having this problem lol).  THEN you have to find the lowest rate, best bank, least fees, etc.  That is the part I am on right now.  It is so frustrating!  I HATE salesman-y people and refuse to do business with someone who isn't 'real' with me.  Dear US Bank: this means you.  I am currently working on getting rates from local credit unions and banks... wish me luck!  Hopefully everything goes smoother after the loan part gets crossed off our list!