Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween from Willie & Jase!

Happy Halloween from Willie & Jase!

aka...Brayden & Brody!

The boys LOVE Duck Dynasty so figuring out what these brothers should be for Halloween was a cinch!

They had a blast! We went out to eat before trick or treating and people were asking to take the kids pictures because they love the show! Ha! My little hams enjoyed all of the attention.

Hope everyone had a safe and fun Halloween!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Cheesy Mexican Rice

Recently I saw an episode of the Pioneer Woman's show on Food Network. She made a delicious looking Mexican rice. I decided to make it the other night, with a few changes (more onion, added jalepeno, removed the turmeric and incorporated cheese throughout, not just on top). It was a hit!

Here's the recipe, along with my changes. I hope you enjoy it! I made it as a side dish to these enchiladas

Mexican Rice
Adapted slightly from the Pioneer Woman


2 T canola oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalepeno, seeded and minced
1.5 yellow onions, finely chopped
4 cups long grain white rice
2 14.5 ounce cans diced tomatos
1 10 ounce can mild Rotel
1 t cumin
1 t salt
1 t black pepper
1/2 t cayenne pepper
6-8 c chicken broth
2 cups grated cheddar cheese
Fresh cilantro to top with


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Heat oil in dutch oven or other oven safe pan and add the onions, jalepeno and garlic. Cook about 6-8 min's, until softened. Reduce heat to low and add the rice. Stir constantly, making sure the rice doesn't burn. Cook over low heat about 3 min's.

Next, add diced tomatos, Rotel, cumin, salt, pepper and cayenne. Stir to combine and let cook, about 2 minutes. Finally, add the chicken broth and stir the mixture together. Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer until the rice isnot quite done, 10-15 minutes.

Stir in 1 cup of cheese and then top with remaining cheese and bake with the lid off until the cheese is melted and the rice is fully cooked, about 15-20 minutes. Serve with chopped cilantro.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The "A" Team. Let's discuss this.

Please be sure to check out this month's premier sponsor, Twenty Six 7 for all sorts of awesome, handmade jewelry and wedding accessories! Adorable stuff!

We all know by now that I love teenie bopper TV shows. I am not ashamed to admit it. It's my weakness if you want to call it that, but I prefer to think of it as my "me time."

My newest addiction favorite show is Pretty Little Liars. It airs on ABC family, and you can watch the first 2 seasons on Netflix. I bought Season 3 (the first half of it anyway) on iTunes but I think some of the episodes are on On Demand now too. If you haven't watched it before but want to pick up a new show, you have to try this one. You will thank me later!

Photo Credit:

I love, love, love, love, LOVE this show. I have to give a huge shout out to my twitter friends who recommended it when I asked for something to watch on Netflix while my husband watches his football games! We like to sit right with one another even if we aren't watching the same thing, and also, I'm a HUGE wimp and there is no way I could watch this show by myself. Haha!

So, who watches? I have this long theory that I am going to bore you with now. Ok, do you remember last years Halloween episode? It was a flashback episode - the whole thing was about when Ali was alive and it was Halloween. She told this kid a scary story about twin girls, and one killed the other. My theory is that it wasn't just a story, but HER story, only she didn't kill her sister. Long story short, I think the twin came back from somewhere - maybe where she was recovering? - and killed Alison and is now the real "A." She has this whole A team; Mona, scary yearbook dude, etc helping her but she is the real A.

What do you all think?

Oh, and by the way, that Halloween episode this week?! Whew. Whose hand was that? Perhaps Maya? They never confirmed that the body that was found at the end of part 1 of season 3 was hers. And Ezra being on the train at the end? We're supposed to believe he was able to get past all the police security when their own mothers weren't there? No, I think he may have been on the train the whole time (and I don't want to think that because I like him). Caleb and the duplicate costume? That seems REALLY fishy to me. How would Mona know exactly what he was going to wear? Fishy. Very, very fishy.

So, who else is on the A team?

Well, supposedly Toby, right? I refuse to believe Toby is bad. I just love his character. He's like the sweet, picked on, boy next door. I root for the underdog, always. He's the quintessential underdog and I can't help but love him.

The yearbook dude, whose name I can never remember (edited - I looked it up, it's Lucas), is definitely suspect to me. Even Jason is a little weird, though with Ali being his sister and all, I don't know that he would be on the A team. Jenna, Noel and Melissa all seem too obvious to me, and I think Noel isn't quite smart enough to be in on it (that's terrible, yet true).

So, who else is as hooked on this show as I am? What are your thoughts?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Jenna's Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies

I posted this recipe several years ago but the picture was awful, so when I made 6 dozen of these a couple of nights ago, I decided to take a better picture and repost them!

This is one of the first cookie recipes that I developed. I spent a long time perfecting it. They are crunchy on the outside and chewy on the inside! I hope you enjoy them as much as we do!

Jenna’s Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes approx. 2 dz large or 3 dz small cookies

2 1/4 cup all purpose flour
3/4 fine white sugar
1 unpacked cup dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 t pure vanilla
1 1/4 t salt
1 1/2 t baking soda
1 stick of melted butter, slightly cooled
1 1/2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips

Preheat your oven to 350.

Next, melt your butter in the microwave and set it aside to cool.

In your mixer, combine the sugars and butter. Mix well. Then add the vanilla and eggs. Mix really well. Be sure you don't have any lumps in your batter from the brown sugar.

In a small bowl combine the flour, baking soda and salt. Stir it with a whisk or a fork and make sure it is lump free.

Add half of the flour mixture into your mixer. Mix until just combined. Then add the other half. Lastly, add your chips and mix once more.

Spray 2 baking sheets with non stick spray. Bake at 350 for 11 minutes for small cookies, or until just done. Cool on a rack.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Family Pictures & The Pumpkin Patch - Our Weekend

First of all, happy anniversary to my husband! We've been married 7 years today!

We had a super busy weekend! First we had family pictures done. We did a mini session this time around. Last year we did a regular session and it was about 2 hours or so. That is SO hard when you have two rambunctious little boys! This time our session was only 30 minutes (actually we were there a little less than that!) and I already know that Bethany got some awesome pictures - she posted a sneak peek for us. I can't wait to see the rest and pick out one for our Christmas cards!

After that we decided to take our boys to the pumpkin patch. They loved the corn maze and picking out their pumpkins:

We're going to attempt something fun with the big pumpkin we got this year. It will involve a trip to Hobby Lobby tomorrow. I hope it turns out well!

Tomorrow I am "snack mom" for Brayden's preschool class and I'm taking in the very first (of many!) chocolate chip cookies I ever posted here. You can find them here. I'm planning on taking a new picture and reposting them soon.

I hope everyone has a great Monday! Chris and I are going out to dinner tonight (childless!) to celebrate our anniversary!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Craft Fair Finds

Yesterday Chris and I went on a day date to the local craft fair. A huge fair comes to town in October with vendors from all over the place. It's a really fun thing to go see.

I ended up with some cool finds. This blue piece is for our new laundry room and the Razorback sign is for our front door.

I thought this was hysterical so I had to have it. I'm not much of a Halloween decorator but this just cracked me up.

Brody's room at our new house is going to be a Razorback room because he is obsessed with football and the Razorbacks. We found this solid wood sign that was handmade and white washed. Carrying this one back to the car was a lot of fun - it is HEAVY!

My main reason for going to any craft fair is this stuff:
I looooooooove kettle corn!

Chris and I had so much fun together. Brayden was in school and my mom watched Brody. We enjoyed craft fair gyros, one of my favorites and just enjoyed being able to have a conversation with one another! It was sort of an early anniversary date (our 7th wedding anniversary is on Monday).

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Chicken & Artichoke Pasta

I've been working on creating a spinach and artichoke dip, and this little gem is a byproduct of some trial and error with that recipe. 

It's a delicious, creamy and filling pasta dish. Enjoy this on a cold fall night! Yum!

Chicken & Artichoke Pasta

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
2 cans of quartered artichoke hearts, packed in water, drained and chopped
1 block of reduced fat cream cheese
1 ¼ cups shredded mozzarella cheese
½ cup freshly shredded parmesan cheese
½ cup chicken stock
½ cup mayo
½ cup light sour cream
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 lb rotini pasta

Cube chicken. Sauté in olive oil over medium heat and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook until done. Remove to a plate or bowl.

Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions. *note: I would not recommend a string pasta like fettuccini or angel hair; a round or rigid pasta works best.

Turn pan down to low heat. Add cream cheese, mozzarella, parmesan, artichoke hearts, chicken stock, mayo, sour cream and garlic powder.  Whisk continuously for about 5 minutes. Once everything is well combined and your sauce is formed, add chicken and pasta. Mix well.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Carrot Cake - A simple, delicious recipe

My husband LOVES carrot cake. But, believe it or not, he doesn't like my recipe! What?! The nerve! Just kidding. It's my grandma's recipe and it's loaded with all sorts of stuff that he just doesn't like. 

So, I was on the hunt for a recipe he would eat (and that didn't take me 3 hours to make) and I came across one from the Pioneer Woman. I liked it but there were no spices and the nuts were in the icing (another no-no for me). So I added a few ingredients, reduced the oil and moved the nuts into the actual cake and it was divine! He has a new favorite birthday cake!

Carrot Cake 
Adapted from the PW, via

Cake Ingredients:
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
2 cups grated carrots
1 cup finely chopped pecans

Icing Ingredients:
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 8oz package of light cream cheese, softened
1 lb powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla

Preheat oven to 350.

Grate carrots (I do NOT recommend using store bought, pre-shredded carrots).

Whisk together flour, soda, powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and salt.

Separately, mix together sugar, eggs and oil.

Combine wet and dry ingredients and fold in nuts and carrots. Bake in a 9*13 for about 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Once cake is cooled, use a handheld mixer to combine all icing ingredients. Spread on cooled cake.

Monday, October 15, 2012

A Busy Birthday Weekend!

If you are looking for the list of fundraisers for Julee Turner please click here

This weekend Chris finally caught up with age! Ha!

We celebrated with dinner and a home made carrot cake (recipe coming!) on Friday because Chris was taking Brayden to the Razorback game on Saturday. Before the game we headed to Mellow Mushroom for his birthday lunch. 

My three Razorbacks!

We picked Brayden up this Razorback hat which he was SOOO excited to wear!

He loved getting to see all the tailgaters and excitement that was going on pre-game! Fun fact: Jim Bob Duggar was there and B got to see him. He was SOOOOO excited. 19 Kids and Counting is my boys favorite show. They LOVE it and Brayden thought seeing Jim Bob in person was so cool.

He had actually met both Jim Bob and Michelle before (see this post) but doesn't remember it!

Chris sent me this awesome pic before the game started. How cool is that?

 Brody and I had a little date of our own. We watched the game on TV and then because the weather was so bad, it eventually got rained out. Chris and B came home after the second rain delay. We ended up actually have a tornado touch down close to our neighborhood! So scary!

Chris ended up having a great birthday. I am so thankful for him - he's the best father and husband. I love him more every day and I'm so excited to celebrate our 7th wedding anniversary next week!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Sneak Peek of Our New Home!

Now that we have walls, I thought I'd do an itty bitty sneak peek of our new home. =)

Here I am in our new great room. There's a fireplace next to the window but we couldn't get it in the picture. The wall behind me will be where I put the entertainment center. It's so funny -when you look at something on paper vs when it's actually built, the difference can be crazy. 

I am seriously at a loss for furniture placement in this room. I'm working on it but it's a large space and I am struggling a little with how to fill it up! I am facing our kitchen and what we are calling our hearth room. I don't like separate dining rooms and breakfast nooks. Chris and I are not formal people. So instead, we have our kitchen facing the "hearth" area which will be where my big wooden table goes. 

This is my pride and joy - and no, if you can believe it, this ISN'T my kitchen! I'm going to absolutely love that too, but my very, very favorite space in the whole house is this window. It's going to be a window seat. It's in our master bedroom and it is my own personal reading nook. I am SO STINKIN' EXCITED. I have wanted one of these since I was a little girl. I can't wait to curl up here and read a good book!

This is one of Chris' favorite spots - our back porch! He loves this space. I'm a big fan of texture on the outside of a home, so I chose to mix shingles, cedar planks and brick. The front has the same brick as well as stone and stucco. 

That's it for today's sneak peek! Once I have some cabinetry, I'll probably share a picture of my 2nd favorite space, my kitchen!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread

I can't believe I haven't posted this before, but here is my very favorite recipe for pumpkin bread!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread

2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 c margarine or butter at room temp
2 eggs, beaten well at room temp
4 T buttermilk OR 1/2 cup if you are doubling the recipe
1 15oz can of pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie mix)
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon allspice
½ teaspoon salt
1 tsp vanilla
1.5 cup chocolate chips

Cream the margarine and the sugar. Add eggs, vanilla, buttermilk and pumpkin.

Whisk together flour, salt, allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg and soda. Fold into the wet mixture.

Fold in chocolate.

Pour into well-greased bread pans. Bake at 350 for 50-60 minutes, or until almost done.

For muffins, bake at 350 for about 20 minutes.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Day of Silence

Today I will be participating in a blog and twitter day of silence in memory of Matt Turner.

If you have a fundraiser that you would like me to add to the master post of fundraisers for Julee & Preslee, please let me know. I will continue to check for new fundraisers & add them to the list as they come in, and I will tweet about them tomorrow for you.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Ways To Help The Turner Family

As many of you know, a friend of mine, Julee Turner lost her husband tragically in a car accident on Saturday night. Matt Turner leaves behind his wife and their 10 month old baby girl, Preslee.

Lots of the wonderful women in the blogging and twitter community are working hard on ways to help the Turner family. I am putting together this post with links to all of the ways that you can help Julee and Preslee. If you feel led, please consider one of these great options to help Julee, and of course, please keep her and sweet Preslee in your prayers during this difficult time.

Donations can now be sent to:

The Preslee Turner College Fund
PO Box 965
Arkadelphia, Arkansas 71923

Amanda will be donating 30% of her Scentsy profits this month to the Preslee Turner College Fund. To shop her site, please visit this link

Ashley will be donating 100% of her profits for the month of October from her Scentsy & Grace Adele parties to the Preslee Turner College Fund. You can find the Scentsy party here and the Grace Adele party here. Click on the "Julee Turner fundraiser."

Kim is donating 100% of her profits for the month of October from the Julie Turner Fundraiser party on Velata (chocolate fondue). To shop, just click this link. She is also donating 100% of her profits from her Scentsy party.

Brittany is donating 100% of her profits from her October sales with Thirty One to the Preslee Turner College Fund. Click here to shop, then My Parties & Julee Turner Fundraiser. 

Whitney will be donating 75% of her commission from her Pampered Chef party. Shop her party here.

Lauren is donating 100% of her profits from her Willow House party to Preslee's fund as well. Please check out her blog post here for information on how to shop the sale.

Joyce is donating 25% of her profits from her Thirty One party to Julee. Please follow this link, then click My Parties, Fundraiser for Julee Turner. 

K Cutie Designs is donating 50% of all sales in October to Julee & Preslee. Click here to shop!

Jodi is donating her profits from this Scentsy party directly to Julee & Preslee. 

Jessica is donating 25% of her commission off of sales from this Tupperware party to Julee & Preslee.

Greyline Creative will be offering up a holiday mini photo session for silent auction. Proceeds will go to the Preslee Turner College Fund.

Sharon is donating 100% of her commission from sales of Damsel in Defense products (pepper spray etc., geared towards women) through October 31 to the Preslee Turner College Fund.

Melissa is donating 100% of her Daisy Blue commission from the month of October  to the Preslee Turner College Fund. Shop the party here!

Amanda is donating 20% of her commission on sales made through November 15 from this Stella and Dot party. 

If I have missed any links that wish to be included, please leave me a comment or email me at: EmailJennasJourney @ gmail . com
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