The 120-Hour Dress

I recently wrote an essay for Yahoo Makers about making my wedding dress. It’s crazy how quickly time has flown since then, but I still love, love, love my dress. Check out the full article here (and feel free to post a nice comment—I stopped reading them after a few not-so-nice ones…but that’s the nature of the internet for you!)

 

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Quick Creamy Corn Chowder with Bacon

I’ve been trying to clean out the freezer to make room for the bounty that will hopefully fill it up this gardening season, and I turned the last bit of sweet corn into this quick chowder. That bacon on top really took it over the top.

Get the recipe here on Recipe.com.

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New Work

Popping in to share a few stories that I’ve done recently. An interview I did with friend and sometime co-worker Megan Gordon, the force behind Marge Granola, went up today on Yahoo Makers. Her granola is my go-to gift for friends who have babies because it manages to be both nutritious and insanely delicious.

I also wrote 5 Ways to Get Crafty on Your Next Vacation and 5 Ways to Be a More Creative Person for them as well.

And finally, I have a story in the new issue of Refresh (which sadly has my byline incorrect in the print version) that teaches you how to customize amazingly beautiful curtains for your home. I love this magazine for it’s doable and down to earth decorating tips–check it out if you haven’t already!

In the mood for toddler food? Check out these Fresh Blueberry Yogurt Gummies!

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Links Lately

Just popping in to share a few stories that I’ve done lately that might be of interest.

Whole Grain Sweet Potato Pancakes on Yummy Toddler Food. They started out as a way to use up lingering sweet potato and banana and wound up being some of the most delicious pancakes we’ve had in ages.

This recipe for Sweet Potato Ham Bake is up on recipe.com now and it was totally delicious. Creamy with a sweet and salty balance—just the thing for Sunday night dinner.

This story that I did for Yahoo Makers, Don’t Downsize, Declutter, totally has me wanting to try a capsule wardrobe.

I did a recipe for Mini Baked Banana Chocolate Doughnuts for Bhg’s Delish Dish, which was the perfect reason to invest in a tiny doughnut pan.

As you can tell, we’ve been eating really well around here!

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Spaghetti Pie Casserole with Sausage and Cheese

I have a recipe up over on Recipe.com for this totally delicious Spaghetti Pie Casserole with Sausage and Cheese. It combines my family’s love of both pasta and pizza and was a huge hit. Plus it’s high in protein, comes together easily, and is really kid-friendly.

I can’t wait to make it again!

Get the recipe here.

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New Work, February

I have some new work on newsstands that I thought I’d share today. The first is a story in the February issue of Better Homes and Gardens. It’s Valentine’s Day crafts made by the incredibly talented ladies at Alabama Chanin. I was lucky enough to get to travel to their studio for the shoot and it brought back all sorts of memories of making my wedding dress.

I have a few stories in the current issue of DIY, including this stunning story on making paper flowers that Leslie Poyzer produced. Writing up such pretty projects really doesn’t feel like work!

And if you’re looking for some new recipes, this recipe for Banana Cocoa Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting is up on recipe.com. It’s low in added sugar making it a great option for a kid-friendly dessert.

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Introducing…

If you know me, you know that I love cooking for and feeding my little girl. The process of figuring out how and what to feed her, especially after she turned one, was a challenging process though, as I imagine it is for most parents. So after many months of thinking about it, I launched Yummy Toddler Food as a place to share recipes, feeding tips, and real world experiences of feeding toddlers. Most 1-3 year old’s can’t (and shouldn’t) always eat the same food as us adults or even older kids, so the recipes are geared towards them—though they are yummy enough for the whole family, I promise.

Click here to check out the new site!

 

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Apple Cinnamon Doughnuts and Oatmeal Cookies

I have two recent posts up on recipe.com that I have to share with you. The first is for Lightened Up Apple Cinnamon Doughnuts—made in the doughnut pan that I am totally obsessed with. These are baked, rather than fried, so they are actually not as diet-busting as you might fear. They are moist, full of apple flavor, and are really good slightly warmed through.

The second post features a recipe for Oatmeal Cookies with Dried Fruit. I almost never make a cookie without adding some sort of chocolate, but I kept these simple with just dried fruit (apples and cranberries) and they are a comforting treat for this time of year. They are slightly lower in fat and sugar than many standard oatmeal cookie recipes, but the flavor and texture doesn’t suffer at all. Check out the recipe here.

 

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Toddler-Friendly A-Frame Graham Cracker Cabins

We had a few friends over this weekend to make gingerbread houses and it was the most successful play date we’ve had to date. The girls were 2.5, 3.5, 4, and 7 and this activity was perfect for all of their attention spans. The houses wound up being graham cracker A-frames, rather than gingerbread (because the idea of baking enough pieces to make four houses was entirely not appealing), but we all loved how they turned out. Here’s what we used:

Houses: graham crackers and hot glue. Each girl got an ice cream cone tree to decorate (or eat, in Linden’s case). You will need about one package of graham crackers per house, though get extra since some will break as you work.

Icing: this recipe or this one (if you can find meringue powder). I made a double recipe, divided it by four, and put each portion into a quart-size zip top bag. We snipped off one corner and the girls each piped icing onto their house.

Toppings: pretzel sticks, Cherrios, banana chips, pumpkin seeds, sliced almonds, dried cranberries, natural marshmallows

I definitely recommend assembling the houses ahead of time and letting the kids focus on the decorating because that’s really the fun part. I choose natural toppings because I knew that they’d eat as they worked and I wanted to at least limit some of the sugar intake. The icing may have defeated that purpose, but in the end, the monotone palette of these turned out to be super sweet and modern!

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DIY Advent Calendar (and Advent Ideas for Toddlers)

We always had the paper advent calendars when I was growing up and I remember that every third day (since I alternated with my siblings), getting to open the little box was so exciting. And it was just a photo inside! I have been wanting to have a pocket calendar for Linden ever since she was born (because I’ve long since love this one) and this year I finally got around to making one.

I didn’t do anything fancy—I simply found fabric that I love and sewed on little strips, then used decorative stitching to make seams—and some of my edges might still be unfinished. But there are hits of metallic thread and the pockets are big enough for small treats. And it adds a bit of holiday fun in the dining room, which is nice to see everyday.

Here are a few things that I tucked inside:

a bag of beads for us to string into a necklace
box of raisins
a roll of washi tape (so far, her favorite!)
tiny dark chocolate bars
a little ruler (because she likes to use the ones at school to make straight lines)
little colored pencils
holiday socks
a stamp (so we can make her teachers holiday cards)
activities like going to the nutcracker, making cookies with mama, or going to the library

And the one in the bigger pocket for Christmas Day? Bunny treats! I figured she would enjoy her absolute favorite treat on the most special of holidays.

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