Friday, August 30, 2013

10 Minute Bean Dip

This is one of those staple appetizers that everyone seems to have a version of! This is my take on the bean dip my mom always brought to family functions when I was a kid! It's so good! I sometimes make it as a side dish with dinner!

10 Minute Bean Dip

2  9oz cans Frito brand bean dip
1-1.5 cups guacamole
3/4 cup light sour cream
1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar
1/3 cup monterey jack cheese, shredded
1/4 cup (one small can) sliced black olives, drained
1-2 green onions (both white and green parts), sliced

Layer ingredients in a pie dish in the order above, starting with bean dip and ending with green onions. Serve cold with tortilla chips. 

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Tastes like Panera Chocolate Chip Cookies

If you've been around here for awhile, you know I'm a bit of a chocolate chip cookie-a-holic. I'm always on the hunt for a delicious new chocolate chip cookie recipe. I stumbled upon this one recently and made a few changes. They remind me SO much of the delicious cookies at Panera! Give them a try and tell me what you think!

Some of my other cookie recipes:

Tastes like Panera Chocolate Chip Cookies
Source: adapted from
Yield: About 30 cookies

4 1/4 cups flour
1.5 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
1.5 tablespoons cornstarch
2 sticks butter, at room temp
1/2 cup shortening
2 eggs at room temp
2 tablespoons vanilla
1/2 cup white sugar
1.5 cups brown sugar (packed)
2 cups chocolate chips

Combine first 4 ingredients, set aside. Cream butter, shortening and sugars together. Add eggs and vanilla. Slowly add dry ingredients. Fold in chips.

Use a large cookie scooper and place large rounds of dough on your baking sheet. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

That time I got all gussied up

Every year there is one event I really look forward to going to, and that is the Arkansas Children's Hospital gala. The only thing I don't look forward to is the fact that they pick the color you are supposed to wear. It's been a multitude of hard to buy colors and this year they chose tangerine. Not orange. Not coral. Tangerine. 

Thankfully, I have a wonderful mom who takes the bull by the horns and ordered a dress for me online.  It was probably more coral but I LOVE it and it worked better with my paleness, I felt. 

My mother in law and her husband came into town to watch our boys so that we could go have a great time supporting a hospital that means an incredible amount to us. A lot of money was raised to purchase a new helicopter for the hospital, which is wonderful. Without the Angel One helicopter that flew our sweet boy to ACH, he honestly may not be here today.

And, because I have an awesome friend and hairstylist, I had to post this pic of my hair. Julie, you did awesome as usual! Thank you! =)

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Pimento Cheese Bites

I was watching Bobby Flay one day and he made a pimento cheeseburger. It looked so good that I had to try it, so I pulled up the recipe and proceeded to make it. Unfortunately, I didn't have sharp white cheddar so I subbed out Monterey jack but it still turned out good. Anyway, long story short, I made a LOT of pimento cheese, so I was trying to come up with other things to do with it, and this super simple and delicious appetizer was born. 

Make it for your next shower, work party, holiday get together...anything! It's great and very easy. You can make the spread beforehand and then just broil it onto the crackers a few minutes before your guests arrive!

Pimento Cheese Bites
Source: (Pimento recipe adapted from Bobby Flay)

1 cup mayo
3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 red bell pepper, roasted and peeled (you can buy these pre-done at the store if you don't want to do it yourself)
1.5 cups grated sharp yellow cheddar
1.5 cups grated Monterey jack
salt and pepper
Ritz crackers (I prefer whole wheat)

Roast your pepper over an open flame (I used my gas range or you can use a grill) getting it completely blackened on all sides. Once blackened, place in a zip top bag and set aside for 10 minutes. The steam will be trapped in the bag and loosen the skin up. After ten minutes, remove the pepper and peel away all the blackened skin. Cut down the four sides of the pepper leaving the ribs and seeds attached to the stem, and then mince up the pepper. Set aside.

Combine mayo, cheeses, cayenne and salt and pepper to taste in a bowl. Add minced bell pepper. Combine. Store in a air tight container until read to use.

Put 1 heaping teaspoon on each cracker. Broil at 400 until cheese is melted (watch carefully so that the cracker does not burn). Remove and serve warm.

Monday, August 26, 2013

*Officially* a Soccer Mom

It seems crazy, but the time has finally come.

I. Am. A. Soccer. Mom.

Something I didn't expect was to also be a coaches wife but I'll get to that in a minute. Ha!

We decided to sign Brayden up for soccer through our city. He was so, so, SO excited about it! Over the last couple of weeks, we bought his gear and got a practice net/goal/thingy for the backyard (can you tell I've never played soccer?). He's had a great time playing around in the yard and getting ready for the season to start.

Meanwhile my good friend Lindsey (who took the first two pictures below, thanks Linds!) also signed her son Brayden up for soccer. We were conspiring to get them on the same team, but that isn't actually allowed unless the parents are coaches. None of the four of us have ever played soccer and Chris and Drew (Lindsey's husband) are both busy with work, so we decided not to. Time went by and we kept getting emails from the city saying they didn't have enough coaches for the 1300 kids that had signed up, so our sweet husbands stepped up to the plate and decided to take on the task!

The other night was "Meet the Team" night. Our city did a great job with organizing the event, and they had some fun bounce houses and snow cones for the kids!

Here's my Brayden, Lindsey's Brayden and Lind's middle son Connor:

Brody was off playing and missed that pic but thankfully Lindsey caught this one on camera. How adorable is this? She is such a talented photographer too!

He wasn't old enough to play this year but next year he may be old enough for their kick starter program! I brought a ball and practice net to the first practice for Brody and Connor to play with so they felt like they were big too. ;-)

Saturday was our first practice. I have to give it to Chris and Drew. They did an awesome job! The kids especially enjoyed playing "kick the coach!" Go figure!

It's weird and cool at the same time to be at this stage of life. It seems like just yesterday Brayden was at ACH and now here he is, playing team sports, completely healthy and strong. It's amazing and wonderful and I am beyond thankful to God to have both of my sweet boys!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

One Year Later: An Adoption Update

It's been one year since we started pursuing adoption. I really can't believe everything that has happened in the last year!

I wanted to share a little bit about the process of updating a home study. It's one of those things I haven't seen posted on another blogs that talk about adoption, and it's something that I get emailed pretty frequently about, especially since I mentioned it on twitter.

Everything that goes into a home study - criminal background checks, FBI clearances, child maltreatment registry checks, physicals, vax records for your animals, etc., has an expiration date on it. When does it expire? Exactly one year from the date you were approved. On your state/government forms, there will usually be a stamp that says the date of approval on it. That is also the date it will expire the following year.

One thing I didn't know when we started this process a year ago is that nothing comes due at the same time. I've had things expiring all month, so I had to plan out (very carefully) when to send each document in for re-approval. One thing I want to make note of is your physicals. Most insurance companies will only pay for one physical per year, so be sure to schedule your physical for 1 day after your last one. Example: If you had your physical on August 21, 2012, schedule your next one for August 22, 2013 so that you don't run into problems with your insurance not wanting to pay for it.

I gathered up all of my paperwork and made a list of when each one expired. I also looked at how long it took the state to approve us last year (Arkansas is blessedly quick with approvals) and calculated when I should send in each document based on that time.

Also, we had to meet with Karen, our LCSW. She did our home study last year and she was able to do it again this year. I can't begin to tell you how glad we are to have her! She is so, so, SO nice. I really think that makes a huge difference for us. I've seen other bloggers talk about the people who they have worked with and it makes me sad that not everyone has a Karen!

I don't like to have people over to my house without offering them something to eat. Last year for our two home study visits, I made Chicken Salad Sandwiches, Home Study Sammies and Orzo Pasta Salad. Since we met in the morning this time (and it was a very quick visit), I made my newest recipe, Baked Banana Chocolate Chip Doughnuts.

I've been asked how many situations we've applied for and the answer as of today is 23. Some of the birth families decided to parent and some picked other couples. The most common reason we've been given for being passed over is the fact that we have biological kids. We are still hoping to adopt a baby girl (of any nationality) and believe that every no brings us closer to our yes.

If you wanted to read about our home study last year, there are two posts (one for each visit):
Home Study - First Visit
Home Study - Second Visit

Also, you can type in "Jenna's Journey Adoption" in google to find a slew of other posts about our adoption thus far.

Monday, August 19, 2013

{BAKED} Banana Chocolate Chip Doughnuts

{BAKED} Banana Chocolate Chip Doughnuts

Source: adapted slightly from
Yield: About 16 doughnuts

2 bananas, mashed well
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup fat free Greek yogurt
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1.5 cups chocolate chips

For Topping:
1/4 cup white sugar
1.5 tablespoons cinnamon

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease or spray doughnut pan.

Whisk together bananas, sugar, yogurt, vanilla, butter and eggs. Combine well. Add in flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Fold in chocolate chips.

Put batter into a large ziplock bag, working it into one corner. Zip top and cut off a piece of the corner of the bag, thus creating a throw away piping bag. Fill doughnut molds 3/4 full. Bake about 13 minutes, or until just done (test with a toothpick).

Remove doughnuts to a cooling rack. While still warm, dip in sugar mixture and then allow to cool completely before storing them.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The First Day of School (and my first day alone!)

I can't believe it's already time for school again!

Brayden attended Pre-K 3 last year and has been asking, literally, every day this summer, if it was time to go back to school. Last year, Brody was broken hearted that he didn't get to go to school, and he was SUPER excited to start this year!

I didn't enroll Brayden in MDO, but every child is different, and Brody not only had a huge desire to go, but we felt it would be a good thing for him to foster his independence! This program is great for our family, because Brody only goes twice a week for 4 hours. I pick him up after lunch and we get a little one on one time!

Both boys had a WONDERFUL first day! They love their teachers (and we do too!) and had a blast!

I, on the other hand, was a little torn. I missed my boys so much but I also got a TON of stuff done. It was so weird to be out running errands all by my lonesome. I made a return at Target, went to the grocery store, stopped by Sephora, took my car through the carwash, did laundry, dishes and cleaned bathrooms all before I had to pick up Brody. It was one of the most productive mornings I've had in awhile but it was also a little lonely!

I can't believe that this time next year, I will have a kindergartener!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Fab, FREE Fonts {List 3}

I love putting together these free font lists. I use my fonts all the time (you will see me use them to label recipes)! They are so easy to upload into photoshop and they liven up all sorts of things! This is my third list so far, and you can find my previous free font lists below.

DK Carte Blanche (title font)
English Essay
Peach Sundress
Always In My Heart
CAC Champagne

Thursday, August 8, 2013

It's Raining. We're Crafting.

It's raining here (can I just tell you how much I LOVE it?! I'm serious!) and just yuck outside. I decided to try our hand at a craft today. I'm not one of those people who have tons and tons of craft making supplies. I have construction paper. And markers.

So, what do you do with construction paper and markers when it's raining? Why, you make umbrellas, of course!

This is one of those kids crafts we've all probably seen your kids school, online etc. I am not hugely crafty but this was so simple! Just cut a paper plate in half, let your kids decorate it, then cut out the handle for the umbrella out of the construction paper of their choice, tape it to the plate and then cut out and glue on your rain drops! Easy!

Recently, we put up an art display wall in our playroom. I'll enlist Chris' help on typing up a tutorial for this being as he's the one who actually constructed it. I was too busy watching Monsters Inc with the kids, haha. I have a short attention span. 

We picked up the two side pieces of art 1/2 off at Hobby Lobby and we display the kids art in between them!

Hope you are enjoying your day, rain or shine!
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