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Monday, October 30, 2017

Under $50 {+ a Group Gift Idea} Christmas Gift Guide for Her

I rounded up some of my favorite Christmas gift ideas for Her to share! I have ordered from most of these Etsy shops before, and loved these products. I love giving meaningful, pretty, and personal gifts  for friends, sisters and moms. 

Almost all of these ideas are under $50! The exception is the Watercolor Home Portrait. I added it in anyways because its a favorite for Christmas, and a great gift to go in on with siblings or friends!

Scroll down for product links!

I love supporting other small businesses and makers! A tip to keep in mind: many small shop owners make their products themselves and can sell out quickly during the holiday rush. So, if you're looking at ideas from etsy or other handmade products order early! ;) 

Happy Shopping! 


Friday, October 27, 2017

Chicken Pot Pie

One of the things that helps keep us sane during busy weeks is having freezer meals ready to go. We usually pull out 2 meals we made previously per week. The easiest way for me to stock up on freezer meals is to make double of dinners that freeze well and freeze half. That way, it's one mess for multiple meals and not that much more work! 

A lot of our frozen entrées are soup or a whole pan of a dish. These are great, but not something Wes could grab for just himself for work or a night while we're out without defrosting the entire meal. I started making individual chicken pot hand pies right before I had Joslynne as an easy one person grab and go option. They are similar to hot pockets and easy to take on the go! Chicken pot pie is a great meal for me to get veggies into my husband! ;) I have even been adding some broccoli in addition to the typical pot pie vegetables and he loves them. 

8 tbl butter
8 tbl flour
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups half and half
1/8 tsp black pepper
1 tsp salt
4 cups of chicken cooked and shredded or cubed
1 1/2 package of frozen carrots and peas
1 small onion, chopped
4 pie crusts (I doubled this recipe)
Egg for egg wash (I like this article about different ways to do an egg wash and their effects on your pastries)

Makes about 8-10 pies depending on how full you make them. ;)

Heat oven to 425°F.  
Melt butter in saucepan over low heat.  
Sauté onion, then add flour salt and pepper.  
Cook over low heat, stirring continuously until smooth and bubbly.  
Remove from heat.  Stir in broth and cream then heat to boil.  
Stir in vegetables and chicken.  
Roll out pie dough on a floured surface to 1/4" thick. Cut circles out using a soup bowl as a guide.
Lay each circle on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper. 
Spoon pie filling onto one half of each circle of dough. Be sure to leave enough space to close the pie. 
Fold over the remaining dough and press edges together with a fork.
Cut 2 small slits in the top with a knife. 
Brush egg wash over the top of each pie.  
Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until crusts are golden brown. I usually check at around 15 and 20 minutes just because each oven is different. All the ingredients inside are cooked, so as soon as your crust looks good, you're fine to take the pies out!

As I mentioned above, I add other vegetables sometimes like broccoli or potatoes. Add whichever vegetables you like best! What are your favorite freezer meals?


Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Our Experience with Puppies for Rent


We recently found out about Puppies for Rent and just had to try it! Puppies delivered to you to play with by the hour? Yes please! Our sister in law who loves pups has a birthday coming up, and we were looking for the right gift, so this was perfect timing! 

Here's how it works:

You can choose to rent one or more puppies by the hour. You pick from available date and time slots and specify where within the delivery radius you'd like the puppies delivered. Someone from Puppies for Rent will meet you with the puppies and everything they need! Then, the puppies are yours to love on until your time is up!

The Goal:
The goal of Puppies for Rent is to find homes for the puppies they take in. Renting pups is a great way to see if you are good fit for adoption. The puppies are in foster homes until they are adopted. Puppies for Rent has helped find homes for over 250 dogs! Its a great cause! 

Our Experience:
Our experience was awesome! Puppies for Rent was so easy to work with. We had 2 puppies delivered right to the park we were at with our family. It worked perfectly for a surprise! 

The puppies we got to play with were just the sweetest. One was a border collie/husky mix, and the other border collie/austrailian shepherd. We were given leashes, a toy, and potty bags for them. They were little enough to stay right by us and play in the grass. Puppies for Rent also offers to have someone stay with your or to rent a puppy gate if you'd prefer. 

This was such a fun way to spend the afternoon and worked perfectly as a gift. It was nice to have something to do outdoors that you don't get to do everyday. Its a perfect way to get your puppy fix if you don't have a dog, or if you just can't get enough puppy loving time! 

I love the idea of renting a puppy if you're looking for a dog to join your family. Its a great way to see if different breeds would be a good fit for you, and possibly even meet the perfect match to adopt!

Josy's face when they tried to lick her cracks me up!

Joslynne loves animals but gets a little scared of larger dogs still. This was perfect for her!

She loved cuddling this little pup! (Don't mind my backwards necklace! The fact that it looks right in the mirror gets me every time! ;)

I would definitely recommend Puppies for Rent whether its just for an afternoon activity, or if you're looking for a puppy to call your own. We can't wait to rent our next pup!


Monday, October 9, 2017

Creamy Carrot and Spinach Soup

Now that Fall is here, we've been eating tons of soup. It's the best way for me to sneak veggies in for my family! Joslynne went through a period where she would only eat fruit, but soup won her over and she loves it! ;)

To avoid cooking every day, I usually make a few things that will last all week for lunches and snacks on Monday. Then, 2 nights a week I cook a large batch of something that can be frozen like soup. We eat half, then freeze the rest. We take out one frozen meal on another night, and have 2 crockpot meals. This creamy carrot and spinach soup is perfect for chilly days and even my spinach loathing husband will eat it!

2 tablespoons of olive oil
1- 10 oz bag of fresh baby spinach
1- 1 1/2 cups of chopped carrots
2 crushed or minced garlic cloves
4 tablespoons of butter
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1/4 cup of flour
3 1/2 cups of milk
1/3 cup of sour cream 
1 teaspoon of salt 
3/4 teaspoon black pepper

1. Heat olive oil in a large sauce pan. Add in spinach and garlic. Stir continuously until spinach is cooked, about 3 minutes. 

2. Remove cooked spinach and set aside in a bowl.

3. Melt butter in the sauce pan. Add in chopped onions and cook until translucent. 

4. Stir in carrots to allow to start cooking. Add a drizzle of olive oil if needed.

5. Lower heat to medium low and add flour. Stir constantly until mixture is golden. 

6. Add milk, salt and pepper. Raise heat to medium and stir and allow to cook about 3-4 minutes. 

7. Stir in sour cream and spinach back in. Allow soup to heat through and check carrots to make sure they are cooked. 

8. Turn off heat and allow soup to cool. Use an immersion blender in the pan to puree vegetables. A blender could be used as well, but may need to be done in 2 batches. If using a blender, make sure soup has cooled to a safe temperature. 

Serve with shredded cheese and/or more sour cream. I made the "Cheese Biscuits" from the Pioneer Woman Dinner cookbook with this soup. Any drop biscuit would be a great addition! 

This recipe was adapted from Pioneer Woman spinach soup. 

Monday, October 2, 2017

Fall Family Photos

We were so excited to have our first professional photos taken as a family of 3 this fall! Wes drove up the canyon in our town to look for spot to do the photos. I LOVE the place he chose. We had to do a little hiking and got our feet wet, but it was so fun! We love that our photographer Misty D Photography was all for the little adventure. 

We adore how the photos came out! We will always treasure these. I love having Joslynne's expressions captured at this stage!

I've been eyeing this lace accent top from PinkBlush for a while. The lace detail on the maternity dress I wore for our maternity photos got me hooked! The ivory color is perfect to wear for any season, I love how it worked with gold and denim for a Fall vibe. 

Thank you Misty D Photography for these precious memories!