Thursday, July 29, 2010

*Guest Post Thursday* - Delicious Zucchini Cornbread

Today we are graced with the presence of my little sister - Joanna.  She is a lovely little newlywed (1 yr) and keeps a lovely home.  This recipe is a great one and pretty inexpensive.  I actually made it Tuesday night and it is definitely Ryan and Charlotte approved.  It was amazing!  Let's have a look shall we?

Zucchini Cornbread
Of my small library of cookbooks, I always find myself reaching for the same one.
It is my favorite because I have filled it with invaluable family recipes and little meals I've jotted down from online that have proven themselves to be especially tasty.
Buy it here and fill one with your own family recipes that will suit your personal cooking needs.
One such treasure found in my cookbook is my mother-in-law’s Zucchini Cornbread Recipe. One of the many great things about getting married is that you inherit a whole new lot of family recipes to try. Zucchini cornbread is simple, inexpensive, has few ingredients, and the hands on time is only about 20 minutes!
You will need:

    2 Boxes of Cornbread Mix  
    1 1/2 cups of Cheddar cheese
    2/3 cup of milk
    1 Zucchini
    2 Eggs
    A little Crisco (for greasing)
    1/2-1 lb of sausage
    1-2 cans of black-eyed peas
Step 1: Brown ground sausage in a skillet over medium high heat for about 15 minutes 
or until all the pink has cooked out.
(Time Saving Tip: Cook the sausage up to 1 day in advance and keep in the fridge
until you’re ready to mix up the cornbread)

Step 2: In a large bowl, combine cornbread mixes, milk, and eggs (according to the box directions).
 Wash and grate zucchini with a cheese grater and add to the cornbread mixture.

Then add cheddar cheese, and browned sausage.

Mix well.

Step 3: Grease your pan well with crisco to avoid sticking 
and to give your zucchini cornbread brown crispy edges.

I use a dutch oven to bake mine in, but a cast iron skillet or a well-greased casserole dish would do the trick.

Step 4: Bake at 375 F for about 45 min. - 1 hour 
(depending on how deep your dish is - the deeper the dish, the longer the time).

**** Then do a load of laundry, sit down and relax, work on a quilt, or talk to your family while your zucchini cornbread is cooking for you : ) ****

Step 5: Heat canned black-eyed peas on the stove top in a small pot. Of course, you can use any kind of peas or beans that you like.

Step 6: Serve and Enjoy!

This meal is very simple, yet the mixture of sweet cornbread and zucchini, hot sausage, salty black-eyed peas, and cheddar cheese makes it a satisfying meal.
               - Joanna

Thanks Joanna!  I hope everybody enjoys this delicious recipe.  If you would like to be a guest on Thursdays, email me at  Thanks!  jessica

In case you missed it...

  Enchanted Forest Invitations Tutorial
I did this as a guest post on Mon. but in case you missed that, here it is.  My daughter’s second birthday is just around the corner, so I am in full party planning mode here at my house.  Today I wanted to share with you a free pattern + instructions on how to make these invitations that I created.
I think these would also be cute for a baby shower.

The theme for her party is “Enchanted Forest”.  It is inspired by this lovely post in Hostess with the Mostess.  We have recently moved to TN, and our home is literally in the middle of a forest - so it seemed that theme was fitting.  Now, I will warn you - these invitations are addicting to make.  Once you make one, you will begin a frenzy of toadstool crafting.  Seriously, I can’t stop - they are so fun!  AND so easy.  Are you ready?  
Ok here we go :)
You will need:
Crafting paper in various colors
This free pattern
(the mossy hill needs about an inch added to the bottom - it got cut off...sorry)
Hole Punch
Begin by printing the pattern and cutting out the pieces.  
(It might be nice to print it onto something sturdy, such as cardstock).
You can cut them out in whatever colors you like - this is what i did:

Be sure to cut the little slits in the bottom of the toadstools.
Next, if you are going to print text, now is the time to do it.  That way you can glue your woodland scene around the text.
Begin with the mossy hill.  Glue it along the bottom of your invitation.
 Next, do the left tree.

Then the large toadstool.

Toadstool assembly:
Slip the “trunk” inside the front of the slit on the toadstool bottom.  
Glue the bottom to the top.  Now glue the toadstool to the paper.  
Using a regular hole-punch, punch out lots of little circles from the paper you would like to use for the toadstool spots.  Cut some in half, to be placed on the “edge” of the toadstool.  
This makes them look realistic ;)  
I attached the dots by pouring some glue into a bowl, and using tweezers, dipped each dot into the glue, and stuck it on the toadstool.  That sounds very “Martha”, I know, but it actually doesn’t take long, and kept me from saying bad words......because the glue and the dots just get stuck all over your fingers, and then all on the carpet, and on your favorite pair of cozy pants......
Anyway, now the evergreen tree- stack the pieces in reverse order - 4 is the trunk, then 3,2,1
Lastly the small toadstool.  

You are done.  You can add some butterflies and bugs if you like.

How fun and easy was that?


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Birthday Bunting

So today I made this little bunting banner for Char's party.  I made it from red felt semi-circles and red ribbon with white polka dots.  It took about 20 minutes, and cost about $2. 

I think I will hang it from these trees during her party.  But here is my question:  do you think I should add letters - like "charlotte", or "happy birthday"? I  made 16 semi-circles so whatever I would add has to fit within those guidelines.  I could make the letters out of white felt and glue them to the red.  What do you think?

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Hairbows and a giveaway!

So, I decided that Charlotte needed a few additions to her hair bow/clip selection.  
Yesterday, I made this large flower bow
two brown bows with pink buttons, and the two little red/white polka dotted clips.  
Then, I organized all of her bows and put them on this bulletin board!  

Much cuter than the jumbled up mess they were yesterday. 
 I also have my first give away today!!!  
Here's the deal:  If you become a follower of my blog sometime within the next week,
you will be entered for a chance to win these 3 skeins of yarn 
and this pair of lovely bamboo knitting needles (size 10). 

I am still on my quest to conquer knitting - 
and I have a friend coming over later this weekto teach me to knit European style - 
I'll teach you what I learn.  
This way, you can do it with me!  If you are already a follower YAY!!! thank you so much.  You can also enter to win by leaving a comment sometime this week ( I didn't want to exclude you - you have  been so loyal :) .  Becoming a follower takes like 2 minutes so come on and join!  Have a great day!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Good Monday friends,
Today I am guest posting over on Spartan Living!  She has a lovely blog about "finding contentment in the little things".  Head on over there to get the free download and tutorial for these Enchanted Forest Invitations.

Friday, July 23, 2010

tiny cupcakes make me happy

they are like a little self-contained party, waiting to be popped into your mouth.

Another Week of Recipes

Yes, you can express your love and gratitude now.  You can also send gifts.  I like fabric.
Okay, so the last week of recipes was well received, and I love you so much I made another one for you (and me).  You can download your grocery list here, and the menu is below.  Happy Grocery Shopping!

Meal 1:
Fish Tacos
Chips and Salsa

Meal 2:
Fajita Burgers    Black Bean Smash
Peach and Strawberry Crumble

Meal 3:
Bacon Tomato Pasta

Meal 4:
Fried Chicken
Corn on the cob
Buttermilk Biscuits

Meal 5:
Smashed Cheesy Cauliflower 
(this recipe is just a loose guideline - I just use milk, butter, and cheese)

Meal 6:
Rice and Beans
Blackberry Cobbler

Meal 7:
Chicken and Rice Casserole

Meal 8:

Thursday, July 22, 2010

*Guest Post Thursday*- Coupons!

Today I am happy to present a guest post by Tristin over at Spartan Living.  She is here to talk to us about coupons!  I love to use coupons, but I am not very consistent, and I don't know all the right places to look- let's read together shall we?

No Money...No Problems!
I am thrilled to be a guest blogger on Jessica's lovely blog today!  Much like Jessica, I am a stay-at-home mom who tries to live well and eat well without spending a bundle.  One of the ways that I save money for my family is by using coupons--I hope it's something you'll consider, too. 

I used to think that coupons are for suckers who will purchase a product they generally don't buy just for the sake of "saving money” and a company’s way of conning people into trying their new products.  I have learned, however, that coupons can save consumers (yes, even ones like me) money if used correctly. What is correctly? Well, here are a few basic strategies to get the most out of your coupons.

1. Buy the Sunday paper. Not only are there great comics (which I am a sucker for), crossword puzzles, and of course news--it is chock-full of coupons.

2. Only use coupons for items that you actually use, or products that you are not brand-picky about. (For instance, if there's a great deal on dishwasher detergent but it's not the one you typically use--it may be worth trying the brand that you can get a deal on. Why not?)

3. Study the ads for your local store. I am not all about going from store to store in search of a deal, honestly, so I stick to just my favorite store--Publix. I know that they announce the weekly specials on Thursdays. I pull the ads up online and use my coupons in conjunction with the weekly specials.

4. Use printable online coupons. I use and Many grocery store websites offer printable coupons, and surprisingly the website always has a generous supply of coupons available.

5. Use coupons with your store's promotions. A few weeks ago, Bic Soleil razors (normally $3.99/4-pack) were BOGO at my local grocery store. I happened to have two $2.00 off coupons (you can apply one manufacturer’s coupon per item, regardless of a BOGO sale at your grocery store). So, because the razors were buy one get one free and I had $4 in coupons, I walked away with 2 4-packs of razors for free!

6. Stack those coupons! Stacking coupons is using multiple coupons per each item you purchase. Most stores will allow you to use a manufacturer’s coupon in conjunction with a store coupon—and some will even allow a competitor’s coupon, too! I have saved SO much money this way-I can easily save 50% on “big ticket” items like diapers by stacking coupons.

7. Don't feel like you're being cheap! If you can save money, save it! Think of all the other wonderful things your money can do for you and your family.  People behind you in the grocery line may roll their eyes when they see your stack of coupons, but believe me, when they hear your final total they'll perk up and start asking questions!

Being the skeptic that I am, it took me a long time to come around to using coupons. However, the first time I made out a list and shopped according to the sales at Publix, I saved $29.07! The kicker? I only actually spent $26.51! For a bill that could have added up to $55.58, I paid less than half at the small amount of $26.51--and that was only my first coupon experience!

Recently I spent $22 on $60 worth of groceries! (In this purchase was a $20 case of diapers, too—so for only a little over the cost of the actual diapers I brought SO much more home!) Your savings will increase as you get used to “couponing”.

One bummer about "couponing" is that there are not many coupons for produce or meats, which I would estimate that I generally spend 70% of my grocery money on. However, you can still significantly save on produce and meats by shopping with the specials. If broccoli is on special, incorporate it into your meals for the week. If whole chickens are on sale, roast a chicken! Shop and cook with the specials!  In addition, frequent your local farmer's markets, if they're available. Produce is much cheaper through these venues because of low overhead and minimal mark-up. And as a bonus, you can feel good about supporting the "little man" and your local economy.

Here are some of my favorite coupon websites:

Living rich with coupons
Money Saving Mom
the Krazy Coupon Lady
Have questions?  Need help?  Feel free to email me at don't forget to check out my blog, Spartan Living.
the Spartan

Thanks Tristin!  If you would like to guest post here on Thursdays, send me an email at  Go save money girls!  jessica

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Boxes into Butterflies

Well it is time for me to begin planning miss Charlotte's birthday party.  
I asked her for any ideas - she said "RED!
Then I was so inspired by this post on Hostess with the Mostess - 
Woodland Fairies Birthday Party
Perfect - it incorporates the color RED (toadstools), and works great at
our new home as our front yard looks like this.  
 We literally live in a magical woodland.  
So I am doing a younger version of that party.  
"Enchanted Forest"
In the party above, they used fairies, which I love,
but Charlotte isn't quite ready for that. 
She's only turning two.  We are doing woodland creatures -
butterflies, deer, owls, ladybugs, etc.
So as I am  making things for her party, I will be posting lots of DIY's so that you can do them with me :)
Today I made some outdoor decorations for the big day.
( I will have the invitation DIY soon as a guest post on another blog - I'll let you know when)
but today....Whimsical Butterflies!
These would also be cute at a baby shower I think.
Made from diaper boxes (have a lot of those?), fabric scraps (and those?),
and various trim scraps.

 Want to make them with me? Here we go:
Print out the butterfly shape here.
Cut six pieces - 
Three right wings - 1 cardboard, 1 front fabric, 
1 back fabric(be sure to flip the pattern so it will fit to the back)
Three left wings - same as above.
 Next, decoupage the front fabric to the front wings.
Let it dry.  Go do good house-wifely things like fold laundry.
Then reward yourself by coming back and decoupaging the back fabric to the back-side of the wings.
Let it dry.  Go do more house-wifely things like eat chocolate and talk on the phone.
Then reward yourself for being so patient...time to finish the butterfly!
Gather some light-weight beads and some good ole' pipe cleaner.
Heat up your hot glue gun.
Slide the beads onto the pipe cleaner, and scoot them down to the end (double the end over so they don't fall off.  Loop the top piece like this and tuck it back inside the top bead.
Snip at the top of the loop to make your antennae.  
Next you need to trim the edges of your butterfly with something.  I used bias tape on the pink one, and a yarn scrap for the red/yellow one. 
Honestly the yarn was WAY easier to hot glue, so I would go with something like that.
Hot glue your trim on.
Now hot glue the two pieces together, down the middle. 
Hold them at whatever angle you want until the glue has dried (only about a minute).
Now hot glue the little body to the middle of the wings - really squirt a lot of glue in there.
When that has dried, carefully turn it over and hot glue the clothes pin to the back.  This will enable you to clip it all kinds of places like....a tree, a basket, a tablecloth, a garland or banner...etc.
Now go decorate your life with butterflies!  

More birthday fun to come.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Tea Tree Essential Oil

Good Morning!  I haven't done a post on essential oils in a while, so I figured it was time.

Last time I spoke with you about Lavender, which is the most versatile oil to own.  Next to it would probably be Tea Tree.

Grown primarily in Australia, it has been used for 1000s of years by the aboriginal people.  It is a very strong healing oil, because it is active against bacteria, fungi, and viruses.  It also has a very strong odor - kind of like hay.  You can buy some online here.  They also probably have it at your local health foods store.

How to use it:

I use tea tree oil when it seems one of us is getting sick.  Like any other natural remedy, it is important to use it as soon as you feel symptoms.  You can add 3-4 drops of tea tree to about a Tablespoon of carrier oil.  Massage this on your chest and neck - especially around the glands under your jaw bone.  Do this three times a day, when you feel you are getting sick.

My second favorite way to use tea tree is on the skin.  It is very effective in killing minor infections (like around your finger/toe nails), and also in reducing breakouts on your face (which we know are caused by bacteria, which it kills).  To treat these symptoms,  you can get a q-tip and put a drop or two on the tip - apply directly to your skin at the site of infection/blemish.

For more information I suggest this book:
The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils: The Complete Guide to the Use of Oils in Aromatherapy & Herbalism
The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils: The Complete Guide to the Use of Oils in Aromatherapy & Herbalism
For more information online you can go here.
Have a naturally healthy day!

Friday, July 16, 2010

My favorite...

Little Girl:
Talking on a corn cob phone

Folding Chair - Regina Spektor

Greek Yogurt with local Wild Mountain Honey

Homemade (that's right!) FRIED Chicken

Makes blackberry jam 

and yummy cakes from scratch

Feedsack VC. 1930 by Windham Fabrics
(I'm using it to make the shirt in the background)
happy friday!

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