May 26, 2012
Jamie

Dylan’s Nautical Baby Shower

So I’ve never once doubted my mom and sister’s ability to throw a party. From weddings to backyard pool parties, these two ladies just know how to throw down. So as soon as my sister asked to throw me a baby shower, I just knew it would be nothing short of fabulous… and boy was I right. From the invitations to the napkins… every little detail of this nautical themed shower was “pin-worthy!

Kristen & Mama: Thank y’all so much for planning and organizing such a wonderful day. It was so fun celebrating Dylan’s upcoming arrival and he’s so blessed to have such an amazing aunt and grandma! I love you both so very much.

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Ok, Ok… enough with the sappy stuff – on to the details. I mean I just said every detail was “pin-worthy”, so I’ve gotta show you the goods.

So as you may have seen from my Nursery post or my “Oh Baby!” pinboard, I’ve been obsessed with nautical baby stuff. I think I’ve been so drawn to it, because it’s baby-ish yet also really masculine, preppy and just plain cute. I mean come on… who doesn’t look precious in topsiders and seersucker?

Knowing all this, my super creative sister created an entire shower around the theme “Ahoy! It’s a Boy!” and incorporated a nautical flair into almost everything.

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How creative is this? Kristen wrapped all of the utensils with rope and a little lifesaver! And on the right you can see the custom table runner Mama made to coordinate with the theme. I’m telling ya… these ladies are some party plannin’ fools.

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And if the table runner wasn’t enough to showcase the crafty crafterson that I originated from, check out the stunning quilt that she made for Dylan. I haven’t taken a photo of the details yet, but the fabric is so freaking cute and the stitching is even done in little sailboats!

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I also have to give a special shout out to all of my family and amazing girlfriends who made the haul to my house in The Bumpass to celebrate Baby Dylan. Thank you so much for showering him with such wonderful gifts and love – he and I are so very lucky to have all of you in our lives and we love you so much!

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xoxo,

Jamie

Apr 14, 2012
Jamie

A Pinterest Inspired Easter

For the past 3 years now, I’ve hosted Easter lunch for my family. My first year was a disaster, my second was uber stressful, but my third one was a total charm! I think the main difference is that this year I spent a week collecting inspiration from Pinterest and prepping & planning in advance. I cleaned on Friday, cooked a majority of the food on Saturday and then spent the 1 hour I have between church and family arriving, heating things up and cooking the mushy dishes (ya know those ones like green been cass that must cook the day of!). My secret ingredient this year was totally Pinterest. I made an “Easter” board and pinned all of my recipes and centerpiece ideas in advance. Have I told you recently how much I love Pinterest? Well, I’ll use this post to prove it. Here are my top 4 pins that made my family’s Easter lunch a big hit!

1. Easter Table Centerpiece

image    Centerpiece for Easter table

 

2. Lemon Raspberry Coffee Cake from BHG.com

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Ingredients
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup buttermilk
3 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon finely shredded lemon peel
1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries
Powdered sugar for topping (optional)

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Beat 1 cup of sugar and the butter with a mixer on medium to high until combined. Then add 1 egg and the vanilla and beat on low to medium for 1 minute. Alternately add flour mixture and buttermilk (I used 2% milk instead!) to sugar mixture, beating just until combined after each addition.

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Tip: While you’re mixing the ingredients in Step 1 or during your prep phrase, grease a round cake pan AND line with parchment paper. Nothing bums me out more than when I can’t get a cake out of the pan and then when I do, I’ve lost half the bottom. I’ve wasted many a tears on this… so line the pan people, it really works. To be extra safe, I even spray some of my girl Pam on the parchment paper and sprinkle a little flour. Probably overkill, but hey… it works!

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3. For the cheesecake filling (yes, this has a delish little surprise in the middle!) beat the cream cheese and the remaining 1/4 cup granulated sugar on medium to high until combined. Add lemon peel and the remaining egg and beat until all mixed up.

4. Then spoon half the cake batter into the prepared pan and spread it to the pan edges. Pour the cheesecake filling over batter and then dollop the remaining batter on filling. This is a little hard but try to spread the batter across the top as much as possible.

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5. Bake for 20 minutes or until puffed and then remove from oven, gently press raspberries into cake and bake 25 to 30 minutes more. For some reason my raspberries were completely sucked down into the cake, so I added some to the top after it cooled a little. Once completely cooled, I sprinkled the top with a little powdered sugar.

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TADA! Since this wasn’t the main desert for Easter (my mom makes an AMAZING coconut cake!), I went ahead and did a little taste test. It’s simply amazing! It’s light, fluffy, sweet and fresh.

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3. Easter Thumbprint Cookies

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Ingredients

  • Cookies:
  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • Chocolate Topping:
  • 4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate morsels
  • 1 tablespoons butter

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. With an electric mixer, beat together the butter, sugar, vanilla and salt until smooth. Beat in the flour slowly until the dough has formed.

2. Roll a teaspoonful of dough into balls. Place on an ungreased baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes.
Then remove from the oven and either press your thumb into the center of the balls or use a tool to do so – since the cookies are pretty hot.

3. Place the cookies back in the oven for 7-9 minutes or until lightly golden. Allow the cookies to cool completely before adding chocolate topping.

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4. For the chocolate topping, melt the chocolate and butter in a double boiler until smooth. Allow to cool slightly, then pour the chocolate into the cookie’s thumbprint. To make these Eastery, simply add a Easter M&M! I used peanut-butter M&M’s!

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4. Worlds Best Dinner Rolls

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Ingredients

2 c. whole milk
½ c. + 1 Tbsp. sugar, divided
1/3 c. (5 1/3 Tbsp.) butter
2 tsp. Kosher salt
2 pkgs. active dry yeast (or 4 1/2 tsp.)
2/3 c. warm (105-115-degree) water
8-9 c. all-purpose flour
3 beaten eggs

Directions

1. Combine milk, 1/2 c. sugar, butter, and salt in a medium saucepan. Heat over medium heat until butter melts. Once melted, place saucepan in a large bowl of ice cubes. I’m so happy the gals over at Our Best Bites shared this ice cube tip, as it’s critical in ensuring the heat doesn’t kill the yeast in step two.

2. While the milk mixture is cooling, dissolve the yeast and 1 Tbsp. sugar in warm water. Let stand about 10 minutes. This is the most important step in this recipe – if your yeast doesn’t bubble, then you’ll need to repeat this step. I let mine sit for a little while and as you can see it actually doubles!

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3. In a large mixing bowl, combine 3 c. flour and the milk mixture. Beat on low for 30 seconds, scraping sides of bowl constantly. Add yeast mixture and beat on high for 3 minutes. Then add beaten eggs.

4. Stir in as much remaining flour as needed to make a soft dough. This dough should be pretty soft… it will be coming away from the sides of the bowl, but it will still stick to your fingers. Place the bowl in a warm place and cover with a towel, allowing to rise for 1 hour.

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5. After 1 hour punch down dough. Divide dough in half and place on your lightly floured work surface.

6. Spray 2 9×13 glass pans with cooking spray. Roll first portion of dough into a rectangle and then cut it into 12 equal-sized pieces. Another good tip from the gals at Our Best Bites, was to use a pizza cutter – worked like a charm! After cutting, shape each piece into a ball and place in the prepared pan. Repeat with remaining dough in the second pan.

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7. Cover with a clean cloth and allow to rise in a warm place for about 30 minutes. When dough has about 15-20 minutes to go, preheat oven to 375. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until golden-brown. Once done, I then rubbed each roll with cold butta! Fresh from the oven, these are truly life-changing!

By far the best home made rolls I’ve ever made and ever had! That’s a big statement.

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So after a full day of cooking, we had a ton to eat on Easter Sunday: Turkey, Ham, Stuffing, Sweet Potato Casserole, Mashed Potato Casserole, Green Bean Casserole, Deviled Eggs, Rolls and last but certainly not least a delish Coconut cake that my mom made!

I also tried a new turkey recipe this year from Ina Garten. I will definitely be making this again next year!

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So what did I do with all of the extra time I had? An Easter egg hunt with my niece, of course! Isn’t she precious! Smile

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Mar 21, 2012
Jamie

Dylan’s Nautical Nursery

The nursery is finally finished!!! After months of working on it and collecting inspiration (from Pinterest of course!) it’s open and ready for baby business. After finishing the board and batten project, I really didn’t think I could love this little room any more, but oh was I wrong. It’s officially my favorite room in the house and for the past couple weeks that comfy lookin’ glider has been home to all my morning coffee drinking and even a little blogging. However, I’m of course most excited for it’s main purpose – rockin’ that sweet little baby boy we’ve got cookin’ Smile

Nautical Nursery, Board and Batten, Oars

So when furniture shopping online I had a total “AH HA” moment that I just have to share with all you future mamas. So I started my hunt at simplybabyfurniture.com because I really liked their brands and the quality of the furniture – the free shipping and returns also had me hooked. That was until I started using Google Shopping and found the exact same furniture for about a $100 cheaper at stores like Walmart. And when I say “exact same furniture” I truly mean it. You just have to practice your “google-fu” a little and get creative with your search terms. I learned that some Brands even market the furniture slightly different on certain sites, using parent company names instead of the actual product name. Clever, huh? I’m all about quality furniture but if you can save a Benjamin here and there… why not girl!

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  • Oars: I’m uber excited about my oars! Are you guessing Pottery Barn Kids? Well, I actually snagged these puppies for less than $10 bucks each from Walmart and yes from the boating/sporting dept. It’s simply amazing what a little white Krylon primer and high gloss spay paint can do!

Convertible Crib: Status Milcroft (I found for a little cheaper on Amazon.com, but it’s also sold at simplybabyfurniture.com)

Bedding: “Row Your Boat” from Pottery Barn Kids

Glider: I was really proud of this find! I fell in love with this glider at Toys R Us but found it significantly cheaper on walmart.com. Thank you Google Shopping. I heart you big time.

Table: A Delaware antique store find!

Letters: Hobby Lobby

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Dresser/Changer: Status Milcroft (I found for a little cheaper on Amazon.com, but it’s also sold at simplybabyfurniture.com

Bookshelf: Canwood from walmart.com (I literally almost paid double for the exact same bookcase somewhere else! Crazytown!)

Artwork: Etsy, of course!

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I also snagged some snazzy closet organizers from walmart.com as well!

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So… whatcha think? Is Dylan going to totally dig it or what? Yeah… he’s probably just going to sleep in it but at least it will be super soothing and peaceful. If that’s truly the case… mission accomplished.

Feb 19, 2012
Jamie

Gift Wrapping Station

Did anyone happen to catch this article in BHG last year? Well I did and have been dreaming about creating my very own wrapping station since. All of my wrapping paper supplies used to be shoved into the corner of the guest room closet and every time I wanted to wrap a present, I had to fight through the clutter. What’s worse is in order to dodge the mess, I often just went to Target and bought new paper, bags, tags, etc. Can you say super duper wasteful? I can and I was.

So after seeing this article again on Pinterest, I felt inspired to create my very own wrapping station! After all, I LOVE giving and wrapping gifts, so why not dedicate a little space to them.

The secret for this station is definitely the over the door rack, which is actually a Panty Door Rack. You can find it at chefscatalog.com for $35!

Here’s my take on this super smart space saving idea:

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Usually I like to tweak ideas I find online or in magazines to make them my own a little, but I loved everything that about this idea, so I copied it to a T:

  • - Top two shelves are dedicated to ribbon and I also added a jar to hold gift tags. The ribbon is lined up so it’s super easy to unwind and snip.
  • - Third shelf houses easy to access tape and scissors. I also really liked the idea of draping tissue paper over the ledge to ensure it doesn’t get ruined while tucked away in bags.
  • - Finally the fourth shelf houses everyday wrapping baby and gift bags. To secure the bags, I took a tip from the BHG article and wrapped a strong rubber band around the rack. I also added a little section at the bottom for upcoming birthday cards.

What tips do you have for organizing gift wrap? I’m all ears!!!!

Hey there!

I'm Jamie, just one new mama organizing her way to a sweeter and happier home

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