Wednesday, November 30, 2011

DIY: Highchair Birthday Ribbon

I've had a couple of emails asking how we made Brody's highchair ribbon thingy. That's the technical term.

It's SO easy. It took us less than 10 minutes to do this.

The secret is the tape.

What you'll need:

Scotch Brand double sided FOAM tape
Ribbon - I used 6 different kinds. Be sure to have a thick ribbon for the band at the top.

Measure your high chair. This highchair is actually mine and my brothers from when we were babies. It stays at our cabin and so I wasn't able to measure it exactly, but I guessed and it turned out fine.

Cut your foam tape into workable strips. I cut mine into 12" lengths.

Measure and cut your one piece of ribbon for the top band. Flip it over to the pretty side is face down on your table. Start with one piece of your foam tape. Put it in the middle of your ribbon and then peel the backing off.

From there, cut your strips of ribbon to the desired length. Again, I didn't measure, because I didn't want them to be super uniform looking. Place the ribbon, pretty side down, onto the tape.

Continue until you are done! It's the easiest decoration we did and one of the cutest!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

DIY: What $5 in Burlap Can Do

I have a thing for burlap.

Luckily, so does Chris.

Which means, this Christmas, we are burlaped out. In fact, if I knew how to sew, and I don't, I'd make some new, burlap stockings. Hmmm, maybe I can do that with a glue gun...

Anyway, I went to Hobby Lobby a few weeks ago and burlap by the yard was half off, so I bought three yards. It cost me less than $5. I also bought three yards of off-white linen, for $3.

And I knew exactly what I wanted to do with it. I saw this pin of a burlap and linen tree skirt and I really wanted to make it. If you want to see the tutorial I found via pinterest, it's here.

The thing is, I don't have a lot of patience. For that reason, I am not a great crafter. So I did my skirt a little differently and probably a lot quicker.

Here's how I did it.

*Note - I glued mine onto my old tree skirt which was made of felt, without any problems.

First, cut your burlap and linen into 4-5 inch strips, all the way down the three yards.

Next, and this is different, I didn't pin anything. Not even the burlap, which is quite a bit harder to work with than the linen.

I folded, put a line of glue, pushed down on it with a folded over paper towel - which prevents you from being burned - and then put a dot of glue to hold the ruffle. With the linen, you don't need that extra dot because the linen will hold the ruffle pattern much more easily.
So. Simple.

I finished up in about two hours.

The only problem was that I had burlap left over. So what's a girl to do?

Cut more strips, and use it as garland on the tree of course!

And that, my friends, is what $5 in burlap can do for you!

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Monday, November 28, 2011

My Very Own Cyber Monday Deal!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! We are in full on Christmas mode now, and I can't wait to share my decorations and a DIY post with you soon!

I am excited to announce that I will now be selling sponsor space on my right hand sidebar. If you are interested in sponsoring my blog, just email me at EmailJennasJourney AT gmail DOT com for a Media Kit.

Annnnnd, since it's Cyber Monday, if you mention this post, I'll give you 50% off your first month! This offer is good through Friday!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Thanksgiving Snapshots

We had Thanksgiving at our house this year! Some of my family was in from California and Arizona, so we had a pretty full house, which was really nice. I spent my whole day in the kitchen with my mom and Chris was in charge of the camera. We ended up with a lot of pictures of the food and none of the kids! Hopefully my dad has some!

But for now, here's me in the kitchen, slicing my most hated food ever, eggs. Haha!

My mom stirring up her famous cornbread dressing:
My dad always brings fried turkey and I made a ham, but this year Chris got in on the action with a brined and smoked turkey breast. It was SO good:

The table:
We had such a great time seeing my family. It was my grandma (my dad's mom) & my grandpa's (my mom's dad) first time to meet Brody, which was really special. Everyone enjoyed watching football and Christmas movies and eating all day!

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving with family as well!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Sin Dip

I made this for Brody's birthday party, and I wanted to share the recipe with you!
Sin Dip

1 loaf of french bread - I use a French Niche from Panera Bread. A sourdough round would be great too!

1 block (8 oz) of cream cheese

2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese

16 oz of light sour cream

1 cup of deli ham, sliced thin and then chopped small

3 green onions, sliced into thin rings

1 t worcestershire

1 t Louisiana Hot Sauce

1/2 t salt

1/2 t black pepper

Mix all ingredients together. You can do this ahead of time and then put it in tupperware and keep it in the fridge which is what I did.

When you are ready to make it, hollow out your bread (for the niche, I cut a thin slice off the top, then ran a serrated knife around the edge forming a rectangle, and pulled the center out). Keep the part you take out and cube it for dipping later.

Put your dip mix into the bread bowl and wrap the whole thing in foil. Bake at 350 for 50 minutes then take the foil off the top and bake for 10-15 more minutes, just until the dip is hot.

Remove from the oven and stir well. Serve with bread cubes.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy birthday Brody!

I can't believe it - but today is Brody's first birthday!

This year has flown by! It seems like yesterday we were in the hospital...

And now look at my big little man!
Here are your 1 year milestones Brody!

You've taken 5 steps several times.

You weigh about 23lbs.

You wear a size 5 diaper, and size 18-24 month clothing.

You hate shoes and do anything you can to take them off. And you try to eat them.

You love food. You can't stand to be anywhere near a table if you aren't getting something to eat.

You are incredibly serious. You study everything and are very hesitant around new people.

You say mama, dada, something like bubba for Brayden, yeah and no. You try to say Grammy.

You lose your mind if Chris, my mom or I walk away from you. You seem to think we are never coming back, even if I'm just going to the laundry room. It completely breaks your heart.

You are so sweet. You love to give kisses and be held.

Your favorite thing is a stuffed bunny rabbit. You have to have it to sleep with and you love to carry it around.

You want to be wherever Brayden is. It doesn't matter what he's doing - if he's in timeout, you are sitting with him!

You are the sweetest, smiliest, most serious little boy and we can't imagine our life without you! Happy birthday my precious Brody!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Party

I missed one detail yesterday - the 12 months of pictures banner - we actually included a picture of Brody when he was one week old as well!

For first birthdays, we do family only parties, and this year my grandma, grandpa and his wife, Bonnie all came into town (from Arizona and California) for the party.

Here's Brody about to eat his birthday lunch.

The two grandmas - Chris' mom and my mom:
Brayden pushing Brody around on one of their toys:
The happy birthday boy in his adorable birthday shirt! Thanks to Jennifer at Brayla Bee's for making it so quickly for me!
Brayden opening Brody's gifts:
Brody supervising from his new truck and pointing out which gift to open next:
The cake!
I ended up cutting a slice for him - he did NOT like the mess on his hands. He didn't actually eat any of it because he was so distracted by the mess!
I can't believe that tomorrow he will officially be ONE!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Brody's First Birthday Party Details!

There were too many pictures for me to do Brody's party in one post, so I'm breaking it down a little bit!

This first post is all of the details of his party!

Chris and I made everything ourselves, which was a fun undertaking for two not very crafty people!

The one thing that we did that isn't in this post, but will be in the next one is his 12 months of pictures.

First, his birthday banner:
Chris designed everything in Photoshop and we put it together. Here are the cupcake toppers and the food signs:

Now I didn't make this - here is Brody's smash cake! There is a local bakery that has competed on the Food Network Challenge many times (and won!) and they made this cake. I drew it out and took in color swatches for them, ha! I'm a teensy bit OCD.

I made the FAMOUS Parmesan Chicken Salad. It was a hit!
My mom made her pasta salad but substituted bow tie pasta instead of rotini. It was so cute!
She also made my very favorite spinach dip. I'll post the recipe soon. I made another dip that I'll be sharing on a separate post so that I can file it into my recipes section!

The drinks sign!
So those are some of the details! Pictures of the birthday boy are coming tomorrow!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Notice Anything Different?

Have you noticed anything different around here? My sweet friend and blog designer Jenn from Munchkin Land Designs has given me a little holiday face lift! You like?

Well, don't tell anyone (ok, tell EVERYONE!) but it can be YOURS too!

Jenn has come up with a great idea. Custom blog designs can sometimes be pricy when you are just wanting to change your look up for Christmas, right? So this year, she designed three GORGEOUS templates - each with two options - with or without a photo header. For the non-photo header version, it's $30 and with a photo, just $35!

Here is template #1 - with a photo ($35):

And without a photo ($30)
And Template #2, with a photo:
Without the photo:

My blog is Template #3, with a photo, but here is the version without a photo:

Aren't these awesome?! Seriously, what are you waiting for? Go check them out now! =)

DAY 12! Last recipe of the 12 Days of Goodies!

Today is the last day of the 12 Days of Goodies! I hope you have found many great recipes to make this upcoming season!

This last recipe comes to you from...MY HUSBAND!

Chris makes this Saltine Toffee - it's wonderful and it's easy. He actually made the batch pictured here the other night!

Saltine Toffee

1 sleeve of Saltine Crackers
1 cup butter
1 cup dark brown sugar
1.5 cups of semi sweet chocolate chips

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Line a baking sheet with foil. You don't want to get the toffee directly on the pan - it's ridiculously hard to clean up.

Line out your saltines in one even layer.

Next, melt your sugar and butter over medium-high heat and bring them to a boil, stirring continuously. Once a boil is reached, stir for about 3 minutes, then immediately pour it evenly over the saltines. Spread.

Bake for 5 minutes then evenly distribute the chocolate chips over the top. Let them melt for a few minutes, then use an offset spatula to spread the chocolate evenly over the top. Let harden. Use the tip of a knife to break into pieces.

Note - you might want to keep these in a tin rather than a ziplock.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

PART 2 - Day 11 of the 12 Days of Goodies!

Ready for part 2 of day 11? This recipe is also from my friend Kat!

I “discovered” these amazing cream cheese brownies right around the time that Jon and I got married. One thing that you should know about my husband is that he has a sweet tooth (or 20) and I learned early on that he can put away a whole pack of Oreo cookies in one sitting. When Jon and I moved in together, I couldn’t bake but was set on learning. Thankfully, Jon ate my burnt, soggy, and sometimes kind of salty cookies, encouraging me to keep going (the sweet tooth probably had a little something to do with that). Thankfully for him, I finally figured it out, right in time to find this recipe in one of Jon’s old Betty Crocker cookbooks. I’ve been making them ever since – toying with different combinations of cocoa powder, additions of chocolate chips, and substitutions of some of the ingredients for the healthier options.

I wanted to share with you the (almost) original recipe for the Betty Crocker Cream Cheese Brownies. I promise you that you will absolutely love the creamy cheese filling sandwiched between the fluffy brownie mix.

Cream Cheese Brownies

(adapted from Betty Crocker Cookbook)

1 cup butter or stick margarine

4 ounces unsweeted baking chocolate

Cream Cheese Filling

2 cups sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla

4 large eggs

1.5 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

Cream Cheese Filling

2 packaged (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 large egg

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease buttom and sides of 13 by 9 pan with shortening.

Melt butter and chocolate in a saucepan over low heat, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and let cool for 5 minutes.

Make cream cheese filling.

Beat chocolate mixture, sugar, vanilla and eggs in a large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed for 1 minute. Beat in flour and salt on low speed for 30 seconds, then on medium for 1 minute.

Spread half of the brownie mixture in pan. Spread cream cheese filling over the batter, then spread the rest of the brownie mix on top. Make sure that all the cream cheese is covered.

Bake 45-50 minutes, cool, cut, eat.

Day 11 PART ONE - 12 Days of Goodies

Day 11 is coming to you in two parts, both from my dear blog friend Kat who blogs about food, parenting, and other daily happenings at Living Like the Kings. I've never met her but I feel like I know her, and if you don't read her blog, you should! You'll love it!

We all have that dessert. You know the one that mom makes for special occasions. The one that you think of when you’re looking forward to coming home during college breaks. The one that you count on when you’ve had a bad week. The one that has been passed on through generations and generations in your family.

To me, that dessert is Muraveinik, or, if directly translated, Anthill.

You see, I’m Russian and I’m rather fond of Russian food, especially dishes that have been made by generations of my family that are rarely written down in any books but rather passed along from mom to daughter. Fact is that when I was a teenager, I couldn’t care less for the recipes that my mom tried so hard to teach me (I was way more interested in boy, concerts, and clothes). But as I got older, got married, and started a family of my own, I began to crave the food that surrounded me during my childhood. I plead my mom to teach me the different ways that she cooks and spend hours translating the measurements and ingredients to adjust them to my American ways.

And today I am sharing one of those special recipes with you.


3.5 Cups Flour

1/2 cup Sugar

8 oz Sour Cream

4 sticks of butter (2 for the cookie dough and 2 for the cream)

1 Can Boiled Sweetened Condensed Milk

Boiled Sweetened Condensed Milk (usually made ahead of time)

Boil a can (or a few to save on energy) of sweetened condensed milk for 3-4 hours on the stove top, submerged in water. Make sure that the cans are fully submerged in water at all times to avoid the mess that may ruin your kitchen forever.


Mix the flour, sugar, sour cream, and 2 sticks of butter together (I use my hands) until it is fully combined. Use a meat grinder to make even, thin noodles with the dough and lay if flat on a cookie sheet. Bake in the oven until golden (don’t let it turn dark) at 350 degrees.

To make the cream, mix the boiled sweetened condensed milk with the remaining 2 sticks of butter.

Once cookies are baked, let them cool and crumble them into little pieces. Mix in the cream and form into an anthill. Refrigerate before serving.

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