September 30, 2013

Nutmeg Butter Balls




I want to start by apologizing for the lack of posts last week.  It was a little bit crazy in the Fluff household (I tried to blame the full moon, but that's only one night and well....yeah).  Things have calmed down finally (no not really, but the kids actually took a nap at the same time this weekend so I consider it a success).  How was your weekend? Did you get rained out? We did, but the kiddos took that in stride thankfully, and I was able to complete a couple of projects that were hanging over my head, including making cookies.

I'm a visual person in that I need to see a picture of the end result of a recipe.  So those awesome old school cookbooks with no pictures? Daunting.  But to be honest, finding a recipe to make my own on Pinterest was damn near impossible because everything has been done. Twice.  So I gave in and stole asked nicely to borrow my moms 1967 America's Best cookbook.  With no pictures.

no pictures :(
This thing has recipes from women all over the United States, its like a giant recipe Pinterest board!  I grew up making the cookies out of this book and so the choice to make cookies this weekend was pretty simple, especially since it rained all day Sunday.

The Nutmeg Butter Balls just called my name, 7 ingredients and balls (just me? I just like the simplicity of not having to perfect your cookie shape, and no you dirty minded people, it's not because of that).
These little guys took no time at all and clean up was super easy due to mixing everything in one bowl.



The recipe in the book actually calls for pecans, and I wrote pecans on my grocery list, but I came home with walnuts.  And I am glad I did.  I'm not a nut in cookie person but I like eating nuts (once again, I did not go there) and I've decided to expand my cookie palette.

First things first, I pull all my ingredients out (super fast since there's so little) and I go ahead and measure them out and put away what I don't use.  In regards to your walnuts, I just bought a 6 oz. pre-shelled bag and the recipe used almost the entire bag, but don't worry, I left no man behind and ate the rest.



Mix together your granulated sugar and butter until light and fluffy and then add in your walnuts (or pecans if you want to be all good and follow the directions) and vanilla.  Gradually add in your flour and once mixed well, chill for at least 30 minutes.

 
 


Preheat that oven of yours to 325 degrees F and lightly grease your baking sheet.

Using a ruler good eye, shape your balls into 1 1/4 inch balls and space about 2 inches apart.  Bake for 14-16 minutes.


Mix together your confectioners sugar and nutmeg.  While the balls (heehee) are still hot, roll them in the sugar nutmeg mix.



I, as a non-nut cookie eater, enjoyed the crap out of these cookies.  I even enjoyed the crap out of the batter and ate at least 2 (3) cookies worth before baking.  The hubs remarked that they reminded him a little of powdered donuts and I would have to agree.



Don't forget to pin this recipe so you can find it later (WITH a picture!!).



Enjoy~
xo Stacie

September 24, 2013

What to Wear: Fall Wedding



My wonderfully awesome cousin is getting married in Michigan in October.  Which means I'll either have to wear pants or shave my legs.....the jury's still out on that one.

As soon as I got the invitation, I immediately checked to see what the weather is like up north, because in my mind it is just always snowing in the north (yes, I know I was just up there in June and it was beautiful, hush).  Fall in Michigan is just about perfect, highs in the upper 60s but lows in low 40s.  So what to wear to a wedding is kinda tough to sort out.

If you are anything like me, most of your dresses are for the summer (because you are forced by society to shave your legs so wearing a dress is like a consolation prize for doing so).  I very rarely wear dresses in the fall/winter time, and so I don't own any.  *cue Pinterest!!

I love checking Pinterest for everything, and what to wear to a wedding is no exception.  Except, I usually can't afford the gorgeous outfits that people post on there (can you??).  And I'll admit it, ever since having kids, my clothes budget goes to them (I mean, it's hard to justify spending $50 on one dress for yourself when you can buy 12 dresses for a little girl with $50, it's crazy).  So I spent some time playing on Polyvore and came up with a couple of cute outfits for a fall wedding.

These first two are my "inspiration" outfits, meaning, I can't, won't, never will be able to afford the dress let alone the purse unless I don't feed my family for a month (or two).  BUT, I love to look at outfits and make them my own (with cheaper pieces or things from my own closet).

fall wedding

fall wedding

J Crew dress / C. Wonder leopard calf hair pumps / Flat / Dorothy Perkins metal cap toe pumps, $27 / Style & Co. style co handbag / Stella & Dot bezel set necklace


Those dresses.....swoon you guys! I would LOVE to own a dress that actually fits me well and looks that great.  BUT..... since I don't, and I'm forced to shop in the juniors section most of the time because I'm short enough to belong in Munchinland, here are a few more outfit choices that your wallet will also enjoy:


fall wedding

Forever 21 cocktail dress / Ponte blazer / Charlotte Russe leopard platform pumps / Forever 21 silver jewelry

*I realized afterwards that there is no purse for the above outfit, but if you have a date, just cram your stuff in his pockets like I do, or if the kids are invited then your diaper bag is purse enough for ya.


fall wedding

Purple lace dress / Charlotte Russe black mary jane pumps / Poppie Jones purse

Apparently I have a thing for lace and navy blue....might have to be what I wear.  You can't beat how cheap these dresses are.  The last one is $19!! Say whaaaaaa??? 

I'll post pictures after the wedding of what I choose to wear, hopefully it will be as awesome as these above.  

Enjoy and don't forget to PIN these outfits to use as references!
xo Stacie

September 20, 2013

Project: Kid Friendly Pine Cone Garland




Keeping in the fall decor spirit, today we created a pinecone garland.  What better way to show off Fall than more FREE decor?? If you missed my last post on Fall decor for less than $5 you can check it out here.  Making a pine cone garland is pretty simple, just tie some pine cones on a string and ta-da, you're done!! BUT, if you want to jazz up your pine cones, just ask your kids to help.  That's right, hand your kid a paint brush and a pine cone and let 'em git at it (sorry, my southern redneck was showing there a bit).



A sober adult could knock this project out of the ballpark in about 10 mins (30 if you want to wait for the paint to dry).  So if you want a craft project to last double time, just ask your kids to help.  I'm kidding, I actually really enjoy doing crafty things with Little Miss.  And I can't wait for Little Mister to stop eating the art supplies so he can join us in the fun (I'm not exaggerating either, he's just at that age still where colorful things taste the best).

Supplies needed for this quick but fun project:

Pine cones (as many as you want, we actually painted too many)
craft paint (we used acrylic)
poly brushes worked the best but any paint brush will do
twine
painters tape for the littles to stay in the lines
we glitterfied some pine cones so we used rubber glue and glitter!


Seriously, just tape off some pine cones (if you want them all to look similar, if not, let em loose), and hand them a paint brush.  We took turns at my house, she had one color and I had the other.  If I didn't have a slight case of OCD, I would have left her cones alone, but instead I went back over them for an even amount of color (trust me, otherwise some pine cones would only have one little leaf[?] colored, so I did you a favor).


We let them dry for the rest of the day (mainly because she forgot about them and Little Mister woke up), so I hung them up after everyone went to bed.  That's also my excuse for the poor quality of pictures.



This little craft was fun and FREE and you can't beat that with a ten inch stick.

Enjoy~
xo Stacie

September 18, 2013

Get your Fall on


I look around on Pinterest and other blogs quite a bit for inspiration in my own home.  Then I quickly remember I'm low on funds poor and try to make decorations with what I have at hand already.  This year was no joke.  I spent about $4 total on my fall decorations so far (trust me, I'm never done).


Free acrons, handmade wooden pumpkins from leftover wood, and a thrift store pumpkin.  Yup, fall is in the house! We don't have a fireplace, so no mantle.  And my entryway is table-less due to said poorness so I instead use my kitchen table to house my fall decor.

You may have seen the glitter'd pumpkin on Instagram (I'm tellin ya, you need to follow! It's good times all around).  I found her at a thrift store for a little more than a dollar (people always price weird around here), and decided while she was perdy, she needed a little extra glamour in her life, like Cher, way past her prime, but still rockin that eye makeup.  All I did here folks was wrap painters tape around  in a semi (I eyeballed it, I'm professional like that) straight line.  Under the tape I sloshed tons of rubber craft glue (because that's all I had and the kids were in bed already) and then quickly tossed professionally shook gold glitter all over the glue.  Once I was done adding as much glam as I could (you can never "over do it" with glitter, unless you are on Toddlers and Tiaras, then just stop. just. stop.), and here's the trick to glitter--HAIRSPRAY it!!!  Yup, you read that right, hairspray that glitz on!










These guys over here, yeah SUPER easy!! And best part of all, free! Unless you don't have 2x4s laying around the basement like we do.  If you need some, just let me know...we have plenty, especially after our latest project that you will hopefully see next week on the blog (hint: it has to do with 2x4s).

All I used was some craft acrylic paint in orange and black (because I didn't have brown and once again the kids were in bed-see a pattern?), and I just painted until I got a color I liked.  The stems are seriously sticks from my yard!!! Yea, I know!! Green wire I found in the garage are my "vines" and twine just adds a little extra oomph.

These puppies were super easy to make and I hope everyone makes some.  The hubs exact words were "you made these? The look like something you'd pay money for!"  (Made my day!)

If you seriously do not have 2x4s lying around and want to make these pumpkins, Lowe's will cut down wood for you if you bat your eyelashes and ask nicely (or show a little leg, can't hurt).










Little extra touches were some free acorns that I forced pretended was a game and had the kids pick up out of the yard and threw in an old spaghetti sauce jar (I washed it first, for once).  And the little real pumpkins I picked up at Wal-Mart for about $3 (my biggest expense).

I plan on adding more decor as soon as the kids go to sleep and I can make more.  Look for a pinecone glitter'd garland.... oh yeah, the hubs is gonna enjoy that one I tell ya!

Enjoy~
xo Stacie

September 16, 2013

Recipe: Pumpkin Muffins


You smell that?? **sniff** oh yeah, that's pumpkin in the air.  I almost felt like I had to do it this weekend.  The cool weather FINALLY made an appearance in our neck of the woods.  And who doesn't love pumpkin everything? (what? you don't?? please leave...I'm kidding!!) Actually to be 100% truthful, I've never jumped on the pumpkin bandwagon before this weekend.  Now, I love love love me some pumpkin pie, but coffee, cookies, bread, etc, I ran away screaming from never tried before.


So why make muffins if I don't even want to try them? Well, my sister told me I had to asked me nicely to.  But in all seriousness, once I tasted these muffins, um, yum!  Pumpkin everything lover over here. Plus, the house smelled soooooooooo good (Little Miss wouldn't even nap because she needed to know what smelled so good).



These muffins were super easy to make and I actually had all the ingredients on hand, except for the pumpkin stuff (which I guess is kinda a main ingredient huh?). But now that I have pumpkin pie spice in my house, Fall better watch its back, I'm gonna pumpkin everything.


I was nervous about how the chocolate chips and pumpkin would taste (pumpkin virgin over here, remember?) but BOY was I sad I only made half with the chocolate chips.  However, the Little Miss informed me that she only liked the ones with NO chocolate in them (don't worry, I quickly disowned her).  Since my children are known to lie to me, I asked the sister to taste test them also.  She has actually jumped on the whole "pumpkin my whole world" bandwagon and eaten pumpkin muffins before, so I did listen to her.  She was sad that I only let her have one chocolate chip muffin (because I hoarded the rest for myself), but agreed with the littles that "YUM" the muffins were good!

If you follow me on Instagram (you DO follow, right? Well, just in case, click here and follow!) then this photo probably looks familiar.  Had to send out a teaser to get your taste buds dancin!!

Ingredient list:




*If you would like a "how to" for making your own pumpkin pie spice, click here.

Recipe:

Pin this! Your pumpkin lover friends will thank you later!

I am a sucker for box cupcake mixes, but I hate seriously dislike trying to pour the batter into cupcake papers.  This pumpkin batter was great! It was just thick enough that you could easily spoon it into the tin.  And just thick enough that you could lick said spoon easily rinse said spoon off.  And I only had a couple of dishes too.  Like I mentioned earlier, IF Little Miss would of fallen asleep, these muffins would have been the perfect naptime baking treat.  Instead, she helped set up the fun photo shoot and then devoured the muffins afterwards.


So now that the weather is finally cool enough to be deemed Pumpkin worthy, take 40 mins out of your day and whip up a bunch of these muffins! Let me know, chocolate chips or plain?

Recipe found here.


Enjoy~
xo Stacie

September 13, 2013

What to wear: Family Pictures


When I was out driving the other day I noticed some brown things on the ground.  At first I thought someone had thrown their trash in that poor person's yard (miscreants), but the closer I got, I realized they were fallen brown leaves.  Most likely they fell already due to the extreme heat we've had here (we haven't left the house in days).  But what does falling leaves mean? FALL FAMILY PHOTOS!



Nothing makes me happier than when my whole family matches for a picture.  Usually, there's at least one kid crying, one bored husband, one fake stressed smile (me) and one kid who most likely wandered off.



So to help plan our fall family photo last year we got in touch with Photography by Shannon.  Let me just say how AWESOME she is! Not only did we match (yes I most definitely sent her clothing ideas and she let me know which ones were hideous didn't match), but both kids were looking at the camera, at. the. same. time.

I successfully coerced emailed her, asking for tips for families wanting to capture memories in the fall time:



"If you have a photo session scheduled for September or October, here are some ideas on how to dress your family. If your session is early September before the leaves really start to change, bring the fall out in your clothing! 

Wear oranges, yellows, and maybe even a little bit of brown. Try to stay away from summer colors such as pink, green, or light blues. Once those leaves start to change, the last thing you want is to blend in with the background. You can still wear those orange and yellows proudly, just not all over your body. Try using an orange shirt with a brown jacket or throw on a yellow scarf. 



To really stand out try dark blues, purples, and dark shades of green. Have a family that can't agree on wardrobe? Give 2-3 color options and let them dress themselves. Try to sneak in a pop of one color in each outfit (maybe you have a gray scarf, your hubby wears a gray and blue shirt, and the kids have a gray hat, belt, necklace, jacket, etc). The key is to coordinate but not be matchy matchy. Let them help in the decision making and getting them to cooperate for photos will prove much easier!"



Her tips are great and very easy to do yourself.  Last year, while ignoring my children during naptime, I picked several outfits in the same color range and then laid them out on my bed and snapped pics with my phone.  It allowed me to see what we would potentially look like all together.  


And don't ever hesitate to bring backup outfits.  You never know if your outfit will clash with the nature outside, or if you have a super awesome photographer **COUGH Shannon COUGH** who will let you quickly change clothes and snap a few more.  Nothing makes a photographer happier than when they get THAT shot, that perfect photo (plus they know you will likely buy it). 

Shannon of Photography by Shannon is one of the best photographers I have had the pleasure of working with (and no, she didn't pay me to say that either).  She truly enjoys what she does and it shows in every picture she takes.  Follow her on Facebook here and give her a call, she books up fast!!




Enjoy~
xo Stacie

September 11, 2013

End of Summer Radish Dip


Around here, summer is holding on like Miley Cyrus is holding on to, well, you know what.  My favorite part of summer is sitting outside and munching on something yummy.  We prefer healthy foods around here but sometimes you just need a great dip.


This little radish dip is great.  It has just enough garlic in it to give it a kick, but not make your mate pass out when they kiss you.  Plus radishes are a vegetable.  I rest my case.


You can dip pretty much anything in this tasty treat.  We enjoy it with pretzels just because of the age of our kids, it is the easiest.  And nothing is easier than whipping up this dip, except maybe, nope, can't think of a single thing easier.


I hope where ever you are there is still a shred of summer left clinging like that ex-boyfriend that still Facebook messages you because he just. can't. let. go.  I know around here we are in full clinger mode.


Enjoy~
xo Stacie

September 10, 2013

Photos: sun brewed iced tea



My favorite thing in the world right now (I mean, after the hubs and kiddos of course, however, this gives me the strength to deal with them), is sun brewed iced tea.  And yes, I'm from the South (because we capitalize that ish here) but I prefer unsweet iced tea.  Go ahead and shoot me now.

I'm still working on my photography with this fancy camera, so I'll continue to post a photo or two a week so feel free to critique away!

What's your favorite go to drink?

Enjoy~
xo Stacie

September 9, 2013

Five Year Anniversary gift ideas


Let me get all mushy on you for a second... Standing in a gazebo on the beach, with the wind whipping through my hair, I took the hands of the love of my life.  We each spoke our vows and forever dashed my hopes of being on the Bachelor.  In all seriousness, today is the hubs and my 5 year wedding anniversary.  I'm so thrilled to have been able to spend the last five years as his Mrs. and seriously (mushy alert) can not wait to grow old with this man.

  I'd say that day ranks up there as one of the best days of my life.  Which gives me a reason to blast this song for the thousandth time this week:

                                           

Anniversaries are major milestones in the divorce riddled world we reside in these days, so I say celebrate every chance you get.  A lot of people will hold traditions dear to their hearts and stick with the list (that I have no clue who came up with).  Five year gift ideas are a traditional wood, or a more modern silverware.  For a complete list of all gift traditions, you can go here.  

At first, when I read those, I thought, silverware? Seriously? If the hubs brings me a wrapped box of silverware from Target (because we have a Redcard so where else would we buy things?) I will be so upset.  Then I booted up good ol' Pinterest.  I love Pinterest.  You can search silverware anniversary gifts and it gives you pin after pin.

Here are a few examples of the more modern silverware gift idea.  Most I think are more geared towards the gifted being the wife, but you never know.

source here
source here

I must say, the silverware gifts are growing on me and I wouldn't mind one bit if the hubs did something like that.  For you women out there who know how to use a table saw (or Etsy and your credit card) the more traditional wood gift can be given on the fifth year.  Here, you can let your imagination run wild, like these creative people did on Pinterest.
Source here 
There were a lot of wine bottle holders on Pinterest, which kinda hints to me that by five years you've most likely had kids and developed a drinking problem.  I kid.  Sorta.  The wooden name signs made me smile and swoon and call my brother in law and ask if he had a way to make me one (he didn't, guess I'll have to get creative).  Check out these two finds from Etsy.
Source here 
Source here
There are a lot of different gift ideas out there for the big 5 year.  You could even save money and go small, like this one:
Source here
                               Or even this one:                 
source here
Either way you spend your five year anniversary, as long as you do it together, as a family, it will be special.  Giving gifts has become a whole lot easier with the creation of Pinterest, so just as long as you can get the husband to create an account and then use it, you're golden.  Me? I just print out what I want and tape them to his mirror.  I'm kidding, we share a mirror so I tape them to his underwear.

Enjoy~
xo Stacie

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