Date Night In {Vol I}…

Originally posted on 906 E. Chic:

IMG_1279

This Wednesday night

we put the girl to bed early.

Cracked open a bottle of wine,

I whipped up some delicious food.

and Ryan spinned some tunes around the record player

and we had ourselves a little

date night in.

Inspired by new cookbook

by blogger Ashley Rodirguez

called

what else??

Date Night In

We simply enjoyed food and each other.

We didn’t look at our phones

or turn on the tv until after midnight.

It was wonderful

and easily will be a new addition to our weekly routine.

So happy to have bought this book.

She plans the whole menu for you,

breaking it down in prep time

so that the dates are easy to plan and prepare for.

I found the preparation made me excited for the date and the time to relax

and enjoy my husband

and being more then a mommy.

Date night in a marriage…

View original 163 more words

Date Night In {Vol I}…

IMG_1279

This Wednesday night

we put the girl to bed early.

Cracked open a bottle of wine,

I whipped up some delicious food.

and Ryan spinned some tunes around the record player

and we had ourselves a little

date night in.

Inspired by new cookbook

by blogger Ashley Rodirguez

called

what else??

Date Night In

We simply enjoyed food and each other.

We didn’t look at our phones

or turn on the tv until after midnight.

It was wonderful

and easily will be a new addition to our weekly routine.

So happy to have bought this book.

She plans the whole menu for you,

breaking it down in prep time

so that the dates are easy to plan and prepare for.

I found the preparation made me excited for the date and the time to relax

and enjoy my husband

and being more then a mommy.

Date night in a marriage is important!

How do you do date night?

IMG_1268

IMG_1267

IMG_1265

On the menu for us this Wednesday?

White Pizza with homemade ricotta cheese and mozzerella, homemade pickled italian sweet peppers and sausage

Sun Dried Tomato Casear Salad with Homemade Parmesan Crutons

and

IMG_1264

Homemade Caramel Corn!!!!!

SO. YUMMY.

Check out

Not Without Salt

That’s Ashley Rodriguez’s blog

and you can read about how her and her husband

started having date night in

and how it transformed their relationship

and the book was born.

Also try her recipes

- duh!

You can see if her cooking style

goes with your taste.

If you have good taste

then you will like it.

If you don’t,

well I feel sorry for your taste buds

as you are probably a lover of ranch dressing,

chicken tenders,

and grilled cheese.

aka the foodie equivalent of a 4 year old.

Sorry, Im not sorry.

I love all those things too

but there is more to food then ranch dressing

#foodsnob #truth

Being Bookish…

IMG_1225

Pardon me for the radio silence around these parts

but I had a major Christmas hangover

and we didn’t celebrate our last Christmas until like

January 3 or 4th?

My brain was just dead

and so was my body.

I had wrapped over 70 presents,

baked cookies,

and decked the halls,

until we reached a level of jolly

you just can’t maintain without crashing.

So I crashed.

And during the crash

I rediscovered a hobby

that I love so much.

Reading.

I have always been

“bookish”

I was the girl who got caught reading Anne of Green Gables

in her algebra book.

I always had my nose in a book.

But somewhere between 18-23

I lost that part of me.

Growing up

doesn’t leave a lot of time for reading

does it?

Well

now that I am not doing at home daycare

I have nap time back again

and also just have my day back in general

and I have been taking advantage

and reading, reading, reading.

It’s been snowy and icy here

and we are so far out in the country

that the snow just blows.

They can run the plows all day

up and down our country highway road

and it just blows over

the minute they are gone.

Sometimes it’s just a complete white out.

It’s beautiful and isolating.

I pretend I live in Alaska.

We make limited trips out

and have become quite cozy in our little farmhouse on the prairie.

I have felt a kinship with Laura Ingalls Wilder

and pioneer woman this winter

so that is what I have been reading.

It started with

The Blue Castle

by L.M. Montgomery

and then Maude

by Donna Mabry

Both were so good

but so completely different.

The Blue Castle

by L. M. Montgomery

is a beautiful romantic tale

of Valancy a young woman who has always been a dutiful spinster daughter until one day

she finds out some news

that starts a chain of events that changes the direction of her life completely.

This book is filled with beautiful descriptions and written in a tone from a bygone era.

They don’t write books like this anymore.

If you love Anne of Green Gables

then you will love Valancy too.

You will cheer her on

and want your own Blue Castle by the end.

Maude 

By Donna Mabry

is the biography of the author’s grandmother

who saw the turn the of the century,

both World Wars,

and The Great Depression.

Her strength and trials

were an insight into that time period

and the hardships they endured.

The work women did

day in,

day out,

it’s amazing really that women were that strong

in a time where woman were viewed as so weak.

Pioneer woman could kick our butts today

in maintaining our daily lives.

Without the tantrums

and emotions we let leak out of us.

They were stoic pieces of stone.

Holding it all together.

Amazing.

Now I am reading a cookbook.

One of my favorite things to read.

If I had a bedside table.

You can bet that it would have mostly cookbooks on it.

I love to read about food.

I love to eat and read about food even more.

Right now I am reading

Date Night In

By Ashley Rodgrigez

Part love story

part yummy recipes

I am devouring this read.

Not only is this cookbook

beautiful!!!

It’s a breezy, easy read too!

With great insights into

bringing that spark back to dating in marriage.

Very important if you ask me.

My parents always made date night a priority.

I have to admit me and Ryan are terrible about date night

since we hardly went on dates when we were dating.

We are just homebodies.

And lazy.

I would rather pour some good wine

and put Jim Croce on the record player.

So this book is perfect for us.

The book is divided into the four seasons

with a starter, main course, and dessert

for every date.

Did you know if you read about a subject every night for an hour

in seven years you would be an expert in that field?

You could be a chef if you read cookbooks for 7 years.

lol maybe.

Reading.

It’s so good for your soul.

I think it’s like medicine.

It takes your mind and focuses it on something outside of you.

It’s a mental escape.

I don’t think we are mentally escaping enough.

Escape!

Read a book!

Then let me know what it was you read and if you liked it!

Anthropologie Snowball Garland DIY

IMG_0784

Have you seen this beauty?

I fell in love with it

the minute

I saw it on my Instagram feed

as one of my favorite bloggers

of all time

decorated her tree.

And I thought sigh…

I can’t afford Anthopologie.

33240458_011_b

Anthropologie Snowball Garland

But then I thought

hey,

I can make pom-pons,

I can buy yarn and braid it,

heeeeeeyyyyy,

I CAN MAKE IT!!!

So off to Walmart I went

and bam.

This tutorial was born

and so was

the greatest garland of all time.

************************************************************************************************************

Antropologie Snowball Garland DIY

IMG_0759

What you will need:

glue gun

glue sticks

yarn-

 4 rolls and must be thick and looks more authentic if it is white or cream and has flecks of an accent color 

scissors

IMG_0775

To make the braid chain

cut three lengths of yarn.

It doesn’t matter how long

but you don’t want it too long

because it will make braiding difficult.

Tie a knot at the top,

like pictured above

and braid…

IMG_0776You don’t want a tight braid,

you want a nice chunky braid,

you could even do double layers of yarn

to make it thicker.

Eventually you will get to the end of your strings

and this is what you will do…

IMG_0777

IMG_0778 IMG_0779 IMG_0780

And you just keep on braiding

braiding,

braiding,

braiding,

until you have the length

you need to wrap around your tree.

For me it was about 6 arms lengths

of braid.

IMG_0783

Knot the end

like you knotted the beginning.

Put a dot of hot glue

on the knot and bend back an inch

to create an end loop on both ends.

Now you are ready to make pom-pons…

IMG_0762 IMG_0763 IMG_0764 IMG_0765

You want to wrap the yarn around your hand a lot,

you want really fluffy pom-poms.

I wrapped mine forty times around my hand

but you can play around

to find the size of snowball that works for you.

You want to tie the string around the middle as

tight as possible!

This is key to making your snowball stay intact.

IMG_0766 IMG_0767 IMG_0768 IMG_0769

IMG_0771

Then you have trim, trim, trim

until you have a perfectly shaped snowball.

I’m not gonna lie

it takes a lot of trimming to get them right.

You trim it how a hair dresser would trim

someone’s hair

making all the ends as even as possible.

I trimmed mine over a paper bag

while I started Downton Abbey

from Season One.

But it is worth it.

If your ends aren’t even

you won’t get that polished,

Anthropologie look.

IMG_0788

And then all you do

is hot glue your snowballs

to your rope of braid.

IMG_0789

And voila!

You have just made your own Anthropologie inspired snowball garland

for half the price!

IMG_0787

IMG_0784 IMG_0786

Because of the color of yarn I choose and the accents of black

mine look more like pinecones I think.

But you can really choose any color you want!

This has truly been one of my favorite Anthropologie hacks

I have ever done…

Tree c/o: Conkeytown Christmas Tree Farm

Decking The Halls: Conkeytown Christmas Tree Farm…

IMG_0585

christmas tree c/o: Conkeytown Christmas Tree Farm

Last Friday

we set out

in search for the perfect

Christmas tree

at Conkeytown Christmas Tree Farm

IMG_0541 IMG_0542 IMG_0543 IMG_0544

Man, oh, man-

did we hit the jackpot!!!

Actually,

if I am being honest

all the credit goes to Charlie.

Ok ok

and Conkeytown for growing them : )

We arrived at the farm

which is down long winding country road

tucked back almost into the woods.

Sooo pretty.

Charlie hops out of the car.

We are greeted with a cheery hello and directions

on what trees are where

and a saw!

So convenient!

So sharp!

(unlike our saw)

And off we set to find

“the one”.

Charlie walks right up to a tree and says

“this one.”

IMG_0545 IMG_0547 IMG_0549 IMG_0550 IMG_0551 IMG_0554

I was thinking

greeeeeaaaat

she wants the first one she sees.

I wanted to find the best one

and now she was going to have her little heart

set on this one.

I look up at the tree

and low and behold

it’s literally the perfect tree.

So we went with it

and got the Charlie tree.

A Charlie Sjuts Christmas Tree.

IMG_0555 IMG_0556 IMG_0558 IMG_0561 IMG_0562 IMG_0563 IMG_0568 IMG_0570

It’s so pretty with just lights

that I almost don’t want to add anything else.

But you know I will.

Cause I have been an ornament making fool.

But after having a fake tree for the last 6 years

and now having a live one,

I think you really can’t beat a live tree.

It’s just a whole new level of festive

and the smell?

Love. Love. Love!

But my favorite part?

The tips of the branches

where it almost looks like a pinecone is forming.

It’s just so beautiful.

The top of the tree doesn’t need a star

or an angel.

Sometimes less is more

and just letting the true

natural beauty to come through

is best.

Doesn’t it make you want to curl up

with some Christmas tunes

and hot coffee?

IMG_0582 IMG_0592 IMG_0591 IMG_0594 IMG_0597 IMG_0598

Love it too?

Go to Conkeytown in Fithian Illinois.

It was easy to find,

scenic,

not crowed or commercial.

They have White and Scotch Pines

for $30 (tax included).

They have this thing

called a shaker/baler

which I don’t know what the technical terms are

but it basically shakes the crap out the tree

making all the loose needles fall off

and then they shrink wrap your tree

in a net

- for-

wait for it,

free!

Thus it can fit inside your Ford Explorer.

Just like you told your husband it would.

Because you are always right.

Be right.

Go to Conkeytown.

Open

Saturdays 8-4pm

every Saturday until December 21st

15294 N. 450 East Rd

Fithian Illinois

It’s also dog friendly

as long as your fur kid is on a leash.

So fun!

I think we will make it a family tradition.

Do you cut down your own tree for Christmas time???

A DIY Anthropologie Christmas: It’s baaaaaack….

33240458_011_b

image source: Anthropologie Snowball Garland $38.00

Last year

due to having at home daycare

in my home

I didn’t do my annual

DIY Anthropologie Christmas.

I can’t even remember crafting too much.

I will see what I made

when I pull all the Christmas stuff out of storage today.

But

after seeing on my Instagram feed

this gorgeous garland from

who else?

Anthropologie!

And was inspired to make my own.

How hard can it be?

Braiding,

pom-poms,

nothing I haven’t done before.

So look for a tutorial soon

on how to make your own

next week

as I kick off this years

DIY Anthropologie Christmas.

Today

we are getting our tree,

starting to deck the halls,

staying warm and cozy

in comfy clothes,

and watching Christmas movies,

listening to She & Him Christmas album,

drinking anything hot and yummy.

You know-

just getting festive.

What are your plans for today???

Deep Thoughts: Black Friday…

92f49a4b1064851a646996e356051173

I had never actually participated in Black Friday.

Last year I went and tried to

but it was INSANE.

I didn’t even buy anything

I just came home after 30 minutes.

I mean I couldn’t find where the lines started,

people were butting in with people they knew,

people had chairs…

it was surreal.

Like what the heck is enjoyable about this?

But I had to see

what all the hype was about

because you see

for the better part of 18-24

I was that person working

on Black Friday

and ahem

Thanksgiving.

(Everyone has their panties in a wad

about Walmart people

working on Thanksgiving this year

when in reality

people have been working on Thanksgiving

missing time with their families

for a looooooong time.)

They are called servers

or if you want to be uncouth,

waiters and waitresses.

And we are the people who have been working holidays

since the beginning of time.

It’s nothing new.

So boycott away

but you aren’t going to change anything

for those Walmart workers.

Stores use to be closed on Sundays.

Stores use to not be open 24 hours a day.

Things change.

Don’t like it?

Get a better job.

Those jobs aren’t suppose to be cake walk.

You don’t get a job and automatically

get time off for certain days.

Some people gotta work no matter what.

There are jobs like that.

you gotta earn jobs like that.

Doctors?

Nurses?

Hospital staff?

All work holidays?

Still seem unfair?

With vacation time

and holidays off

those are earned things to have.

Not all jobs should have to offer that.

Days off are not a right.

Learn to work your way up.

I worked my share of holidays.

I’m not blaming anyone but myself

because I was the reason I had to work then.

Not the government,

not my parents,

not society,

not big business,

ME.

It was my life choices

that forced me into serving.

So I sucked it up

and worked the holidays.

No boycotting,

no whining,

no calling in sick.

I just freakin’ did it

and made sure that it wasn’t going to always to be like that.

But

I did also learn

 that Black Friday Shoppers

are meanies!

And cheap!

Sorry I’m not sorry.

Here is my perspective

as a former server on Black Friday.

Hey ladies

don’t spend money all day long

and then go out to eat

and order 1/2 a salad

and water with lemon

and leave a $2 tip.

Those people have to work all day long,

 many times double shifts

to accommodate all you bargain shoppers

and you all come in leaving piddly little tips.

Don’t spend hundreds and then stiff the people

working so that you can have your special shopping day.

Be grateful they are there.

Treat the workers with appreciation and kindness.

Don’t push

or be a creeper who stands behind someone

hoping they will put what they have in their hands

down.

Just don’t do it.

It’s not a good look.

Let’s try to be classy Black Friday Shoppers

this year.

Let’s wait in line patiently.

Let’s wave to our friends but still go back to the back of the line

where we belong.

Let’s only take what we really need

not just take because it’s cheap.

Let’s practice manners

and kindness in front of the kids who are out.

And let’s remember

in the end

all it is is STUFF!

Things!

And it’s not worth hurting people over.

People first.

Black Friday second.

Duh.

A deal is just a deal.

To me Black Friday just doesn’t start my holiday season

off on the right foot.

Here is what I do on Black Friday.

I put up my tree

and get out all my Christmas goodies.

I turn on She & Him Christmas album.

I craft

and enjoy leftovers.

And this year we are going to cut down our tree

at Conkeytown!

(win your own over here)

Because I have no need

to get that flat screen

and I have no need to indulge Charlie

by waiting in the cold

to buy her

that ONE toy

that she just has to have.

I would rather spend my day with my family.

Which is what the holidays are really about.

I think if we bring the focus away from material things

and move towards simplicity

Black “Thursday”

will naturally go away.

Without petitions,

without boycotts,

by actions.

By teaching our kids what the holiday season is all about.

And they aren’t going to learn that

in line on Black Friday.

But that just my humble opinion as a former server

who hates Black Friday.

But Cyber Monday?

That I can get into.

Big time.

Ruby Bleu???

You listening?

I’m coming for you Monday.

And I’d don’t think it will be Christmas shopping.

: )