Poofy Cheeks

October 24, 2014

Grateful Fall Photo Banner - Thanksgiving Decoration

 
Fall is one of my favorite times of the year. The rich colors draw me to all of the wonderful décor. Over a family dinner last week Mike and I told our families that we would like to host Thanksgiving and Christmas at our house. We have spent the last few years driving from house to house and this year we will have a place big enough to host everyone. For once we want to lounge around in our pajamas all day on Christmas and we don't want anyone to feel left out.
 
This will be the first Thanksgiving I have hosted and I created a banner to help spark some fun conversations and memories. I am going to ask each person to bring a picture or two of themselves we can hang on the banner for Turkey Day. Since we will all be gathering around one big table together I thought 'Gather' was the perfect word to incorporate into the banner.
 
Gather Photo Banner - Thanksgiving Day decor. Have each guest bring an old photo to hang.
 


Grateful Fall Photo Banner

To make the banner I used my Silhouette Cameo to cut out the word 'Gather' in Market Deco font from a piece of cardstock. Then I used leaves I downloaded from the Silhouette marketplace and cut them out onto cardstock as well. I hung orange jute twine using washi tape and then used mini clothespins to hang the letters, leaves and pictures. On Thanksgiving I will take all of the photos off and leave a pile of clothespins and photos for guests to look through and hang up.
 

Grateful Fall Photo Banner
 

Grateful Fall Photo Banner
 
Grateful Fall Photo Banner
 
While we have one more week left of living here at my parent's house before we move I sifted through old pictures my mom had stored in her closet. Looking through all of the old photos was tons of fun and brought back a lot of memories! That alone could keep me busy for hours so I know it will keep our Thanksgiving guests occupied and laughing too!

Grateful Fall Photo Banner
 
Grateful Fall Photo Banner
 



Enjoy,

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October 20, 2014

Smothered and Covered Chicken Breasts - Easy Weeknight Dinners

We all know the night. The weeknight where you don't get home from work late, one child has a school science fair and the other has soccer practice or we just don't feel like standing in the kitchen cooking a gourmet dinner. I have teamed up with over 40 bloggers to bring you a huge collection of quick weeknight dinner ideas. I am sharing a quick dinner idea for Smothered and Covered Chicken Breasts that is going to leave mouths watering and the kiddos (probably even the husbands and mommas) asking for seconds!

We have made this Smothered and Covered Chicken dish a few times since staying with my parents and everyone has loved it. What is it smothered and covered in you ask... well it has honey mustard, bacon, lotsa' cheese and french fried onions. From my mom and dad to my sister and my kids everyone has enjoyed this delicious dinner. Pair the chicken with a box of cheesy rice and you have a meal.

Smothered and Covered Chicken Breasts -- A quick dinner. Chicken breasts smothered and covered in honey mustard, cheese, bacon and french fried onions. I timed myself making this dinner last week and from start to finish it too 40 minutes. The chicken took 10 minutes of prep time and 30 minutes of cook time. While it cooks you can use that time to make a side salad, rice or another side dish.

Smothered and Covered Chicken Breasts -- A quick dinner. Chicken breasts smothered and covered in honey mustard, cheese, bacon and french fried onions.
Smothered and Covered Chicken Breast Recipe

Ingredients:
  • 4 chicken breasts - boneless, skinless
  • 1/2 cup mustard
  • 4 tablespoons honey
  • 3 ounce package real bacon bits
  • 2 cups cheddar jack cheese
  • 1/2 cup french fried onions
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Butterfly each chicken breast and place in a baking dish.
  3. In a small bowl mix together mustard and honey. Rub mustard over both sides of each chicken breast.
  4. Top chicken breasts with cheese, bacon bits and french fried onions.
  5. Bake chicken for about 30 minutes or until cooked through.
  6. Watch your family devour this meal!


Smothered and Covered Chicken Breasts -- A quick dinner. Chicken breasts smothered and covered in honey mustard, cheese, bacon and french fried onions.

Smothered and Covered Chicken Breasts -- A quick dinner. Chicken breasts smothered and covered in honey mustard, cheese, bacon and french fried onions.

Smothered and Covered Chicken Breasts -- A quick dinner. Chicken breasts smothered and covered in honey mustard, cheese, bacon and french fried onions.


Since easy dinners are something we all look for from time to time (okay so I look for them more often than not!) I have teamed up with 40+ other bloggers to bring you even more quick dinner ideas perfect for busy weeknights!






Enjoy,

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October 19, 2014

Life Lately - Chasing Dreams

Lately I have been reminded what it feels like to chase your dreams. Chasing dreams doesn't always come with beautiful scenery, happy days or the feeling of accomplishment. Sometimes days spent chasing a dream feels like work. Some days are hard and others leave you feeling like you might be peddling backwards. Though the act of chasing dreams is a journey that isn't easily forgotten. When you reach your goal or your dream you look back and remember more about the journey than the actual moment you realized your dream became reality. The line between the journey and the accomplishment are often blurred.

I am not talking about chasing my own dreams today although I have had my fair share of that in recent months too. I am talking about how my husband has been chasing his dreams. I have had the pleasure of standing on the sidelines watching and cheering him on. For a few years he has been unhappy in his career choice of being a law enforcement officer. He has come home and talked to me about the politics of the job or the horrific things he has seen in the line of duty that day. I have been an outlet for him to vent and on rare occasions a shoulder for him to lean or cry on.





 Many people have no idea what a law enforcement officer sees during their daily duties or how their actions keep a neighborhood safe. The wife of a law enforcement officer sees their community much differently than her friends. A law enforcement officer's wife hears stories of kids who drown in pools, parents that fight, holidays that are ruined by fatal car crashes or threats made against their husband and family due to arrests made. A law enforcement officer's family is turned down a different isle at the store because he sees someone he has arrested down the way and their kids can't go play at the houses of friends they have made at school because their mommy and daddy know all to well the things that could happen behind closed doors. All of the things I hear about don't compare to what my husband was actually seeing or dealing with. I know the faces that are forever etched in his mind, the memories of situations he tries to push as far back as he can and the things that haunt him in his sleep.


We both knew for him to leave law enforcement would be difficult because that is what he went to school for and the job which he had training and experience in. Although living an unhappy life was ultimately taking a toll on his health and putting a strain on everyone. His passion has always been to spend time in the outdoors fishing, hunting and camping. At one point earlier this year he even pursued a career in Alaska. He had an interview date and we were ready to take a leap of faith to move from Florida where our families live to Alaska. Mike decided to tryout for the Florida Wildlife Commission one last time before making a choice that would take us to the opposite end of the country.



Mike had taken the physical assessment for the Florida Wildlife Commission twice and had failed to make it through. The physical demands of the test were harder than the physical assessment required by the Army. In March he took the test for the third time and passed. That alone was cause for celebration. Everyone who passed the physical assessment was promised an interview. Mike had his interview and then advanced on to the next phase. At the end of July we got the call that he has been hired as one of fifteen officers they hired out of hundreds of applicants. As part of the training process Mike had to move to Tallahassee, Florida, over three hours from home, for eight weeks.

We decided to move out of the home we were renting and into my parent's house. Mike was only able to come home a few times during the eight weeks and since we have four kids I knew I wouldn't be able to take care of them, the house and everything else on my own. It ended up that Mike was able to come home three times for less than 48 hours each time. On Friday Mike graduated from the FWC training and is now officially a Florida Fish and Wildlife Officer. He was put through a lot of physical training, learned new information critical to his new career and was given specialized training specific to his job. Now we have been reunited as a family of six and have spent less than 48 hours together. We went out on my parent's boat yesterday and Mike ran errands today. The fact that he is home for good hasn't fully sunk in yet. When Mike ran an errand earlier today Delilah through a fit thinking she would go weeks without seeing him again.





There were many times Mike called during training telling me how tired, homesick or mentally overwhelmed he was. There were other times he told me about the friendships and fun times he had with the twelve other trainees. To see the pride and sense of accomplishment he has makes me so proud to be his wife. He showed perseverance and determination. I hope our kids always remember the sacrifices Mike made to follow his dream and do something he loves. I want my husband to know how very much I love him and appreciate everything he does for our family. I am grateful for the experience (although never glamorous), the help from family and everything He has given us.





Enjoy,

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October 13, 2014

Fabric Pumpkin Tutorial

I've teamed up with a group of 75 bloggers to share tons of Fall Harvest Ideas with you! From crafts, to recipes, to home decor and more...we have you covered for Fall inspiration!

75 Fall Harvest Ideas

This year I wanted to create more Fall themed décor for my home rather than Halloween décor. I LOVE Halloween but the fall decorations can take me from September through November. As always I also like to keep things budget-friendly and easy. Chasing four kids around has made it hard for me to do much crafting and these fabric pumpkins are one of the few things I have crafted up since Emmett was born in late May. I am absolutely smitten with how they turned out.

Fabric Pumpkin Tutorial

Fabric Pumpkin Tutorial

Supplies Needed:

  • Fabric (I started with 1/2 yard of two different fabric prints)
  • Thread and needle
  • Poly Filling
  • Dowel Rods
  • Paint for stems (dowel rod)
  • Hot glue gun
  • Any other embellishments you want for your pumpkins

Fabric Pumpkin Tutorial

  1. To make your own fabric pumpkins you will first need to cut your fabric. Cut a piece that is twice as wide as it is high. The fabric piece I used for my biggest pumpkin was 16 inches high by 32 inches wide.
  2. Then fold your fabric in half lengthwise so that the right sides are facing and it looks like a square.
  3. You can hand sew or use a sewing machine to sew up the side opposite from the fold.
  4. Using thread and needle do a running stitch along the bottom side of the fabric. Before finishing pull the threads to gather the fabric.

Scroll down to see my illustrations and the actual pictures from my fabric pumpkins. We aren’t finished yet though… a few more steps to go.

Fabric Pumpkin Tutorial

Fabric Pumpkin Tutorial

Fabric Pumpkin Tutorial

Fabric Pumpkin Tutorial

Fabric Pumpkin Tutorial

5. Turn the fabric right side out as shown in the photo above on the right. Fill with poly filling. You want to overstuff it to get the pumpkins really ‘poofy’!

6. Do a running stitch along the top edge of the pumpkin folding the raw edge down as you go. Then pull the strings and gently push the filling down as you go.

7. Paint your dowel rods and when dry cut them to fit your pumpkin. Use a hot glue gun to secure the fabric around the dowel rods so the stuffing doesn’t come out and the top is closed up.

8. Embellish as desired. I knotted scrap fabric around the tops and used some moss ribbon to make leaves.

Fabric Pumpkin Tutorial

Fabric Pumpkin Tutorial

Fabric Pumpkin Tutorial

Fabric Pumpkin Tutorial

Fabric Pumpkin Tutorial

Check the gallery below and visit some of my blogging friends to see their awesome ideas!!
 
 
Enjoy,

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