Two for Tuesday

I hope everyone had a nice Memorial Day weekend and took some time to reflect on those that have passed protecting our country, in the line of duty.

For the first Two for Tuesday, the hubs and I went to another Texas State Park called Colorado Bend this weekend.  We did about a 3 mile hike to “Gorman Falls,” a 70 foot waterfall in central Texas.  The hike getting to the falls was definitely not easy with a lot of uneven rocks and a steep incline of all rocks right before the falls, but boy was it worth it! Who would have thought something this pretty was hidden in the middle of Texas!?!

Gorman Falls - Colorado Bend

Of coarse, I always like to bake something fun for the holiday weekend and although we didn’t have any cookouts or fun events to go to, we still had our own cookout with the traditional American food…grilled kielbasa on buns, sweet potato fries, and margaritas (OK…American food on the healthier side).  The hubs surprised me on Monday morning by making his Hawaiian bread french toast…always a tasty treat and he earned some bonus points for that!  I on the hand, tried to stay on a healthier route (beach/pool time is right around the corner and I’m trying to be shape for Summer 2016….not 2017!) by making “Healthy Banana Bread.”  I used this applesauce banana bread recipe that I found on Pinterest.  We overall liked the bread and felt a little healthier eating it since it doesn’t have a ton of sugar like most banana bread recipes, but we did think it was a little dry.  We warmed up a slice and added some butter and it tasted great!

I hope your Summer is off to a great start and y’all have Summer plans that you are looking forward to!

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Two for Tuesday

Can you believe it’s already Tuesday?  We have had a lot going on as far as house hunting, so this week is off to a busy start for me!  Can you believe Memorial Day is coming up this weekend?  Memorial Day weekend always meant the first day the pool opened and it always seemed growing up that whether the weather was in our favor or not, we always went up to the pool to see what/who had changed over the winter.  Being a swimmer, it also meant that outdoor swim practices were right around the corner and getting in that cold pool after a long day at school was never fun!  However, the memories made and the discipline swimming taught was something that I would not change for the world!

Here’s my Two for Tuesday for this week:

Caprese Salad:  Caprese salad always reminds me of summer picnics and get-together’s.  With bright tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and fresh basil…what is there not to like about this fun dish?  I usually top mine with a fig and balsamic drizzle for some sweetness and occasionally some salt and pepper.  I recently found that Costco sells two of the bigger mozzarella logs already sliced for under $8….what a steal!  What is a traditional dish that you usually have at your summer get-togethers?

caprese

Coachella Shorts: I have always been an avid “pinner” on Pinterest and am always looking for ideas and trends on Instagram for my Etsy shop.  Over the past couple of months, I have seen these shorts popping up more and more…they even come in a “Mommy & Me” pattern.  I finally found a pattern for them and had some time to whip up a pair for the weekend.  The ideas are endless with this pattern because you make them in sizes XS-XXL and you can use any pattern fabric and border you like (this fabric was originally for a maxi dress that I never got around to making!). I very rarely make things for myself and thought this would be a nice little treat! I wore them out on Friday night, granted it was only up to the dog park, but nonetheless, got compliments on them.  I haven’t decided if I’m going to put them on my Etsy site yet or not, but thought that I would share them with you to see what you think?  shorts

I hope you have a wonderful week!  See you back here with more creative ideas next week!

 

Two for Tuesday

Hello Hello!  Can you believe it’s Tuesday?!?! I don’t know about for you, but this week has been flying by so far…I’m not going to complain! I hope yours is moving along just fine.

  1. Happy Birthday, Emma! The first week following my birthday has been off to a great start, maybe my 30’s aren’t looking so bad!  With that said, May and June are busy months for my family with birthdays, anniversaries, etc. Tomorrow is my niece’s one year old birthday!  When my sister announced that she was having a baby, I think we were all very surprised!  I don’t think she or her husband thought they would get pregnant that fast or knew what it took having a little one, but had no doubt that they would be great parents.  My sister was induced a few weeks early due to minor complications and had the baby while I was in Orlando at a conference…I knew she was going to be induced before I left, but my boss at the time talked me into going to the conference anyways, “It would be good for advancement in your career” is what she told me and I regret going to that conference more than anything in the world. Going forward, it will take a lot for a manager to tell me that I can’t have time with my family.  However, as soon as I got off the plane, I headed straight to my sister and brother-in law’s house and hugged that baby girl who was only 2 days old!  As the months have gone by, I have watched my sister transform into a very loving mother that does anything to put her daughter first.  She has learned how to cook and provide healthy meals for her baby (Note: she barely knew how to boil water when the baby was born!…shes going to shoot me for saying that!) When they were visiting us in TX a few months ago, it was amazing to see how much character Emma already has and how much she cracks up my sister…their bond is truly like no other! So, here’s a very happy one year old birthday to Emma and a congratulatory applause for to my sister and her husband for dealing with all the in’s and out’s of having a infant that first year! Y’all have done great…keep up the good work! 13113819_1602887036690535_175358356_n(1)
  2. Ranch Chicken:  I have been all about crock-pot dinner lately.  I can get all of the ingredients together in the morning and start it cooking and then have the rest of the day to do whatever I want and not really worry about it until we’re hungry.  I ran across this very easy Weight Watchers recipe this week that we tried…I loved it, hubs didn’t so much (he thought it was too salty….I’ll probably use reduced sodium condensed soup next time). Here’s the recipe, it could not be easier: 1-2 lbs chicken tender or breasts (they can even be frozen), 1 packet Ranch seasoning (I get the bulk version from Costco, so I used 2 tbsp.), 1 can of condensed cream of mushroom soup (the recipe suggested cream of chicken, but it’s what I had on hand), and 1 emptied can of soup filled with milk or water.  Put the chicken in the crock-pot, mix the other ingredients well and pour over the chicken, Cook on low 6-8 hours.  I shredded mine once it was done cooking and served it over brown rice with veggies.  Here’s what it looked like:chicken Yum!

Well, that’s all for now folks!  Make sure you stay tuned to my Etsy site this week…some new posts will be up for summer/4th of July outfits and a coupon!

Hope you have a wonderful week!

 

Two for Tuesday

Hello Hello! I hope you are enjoying your week!  I certainly am having a nice start to my week as my birthday was yesterday and had a surprise vacation this past weekend.  As I mentioned in my last post, the hubs had a surprise vacation planned for my birthday weekend…the only thing I knew was that we were going to a beach about 3-4 hours away from where we live.  It turns out that we went to Port Aransas, “Port A”, a fishing town in Corpus Christi.  We had a really nice time and enjoyed checking out a few beaches a long the Gulf over the weekend.  It was very nice to take a break from looking at houses and a change of scenery! My hubs did a great job surprising me and had a little surprises along the way….a very nice trip!

Here is a picture of Dewey, my weimaraner, and I at the beach.  He was such a trooper and we were finally able to get him to go in the water with us!

Since I spent a good portion of the past week either at the beach or preparing for the beach, I wasn’t that adventurous with my cooking, but I did spend some creative time in my sewing room.  I have been very conscious about the amount of girl items made compared to boys and realized that I had been favoring the girls a little more.  Boy oh boy, I got into the boy theme though with trucks, planes, and trains.  I also snuck in a few cute items for the girls…my niece’s birthday is right around the corner and I needed a few cute things for her!  All of the items below will be posted shortly on my Etsy site!

new items

So, that wraps up my Two for Tuesday this week!  I hope you have a wonderful rest of the week and look forward to getting back into the swing of things next week! Cheers!

Two for Tuesday

Hello again and happy Tuesday! I hope your week is off to a great start.  My week has been going pretty good…my hubs told me this past weekend that we are going on a surprise trip for my birthday this weekend!  He didn’t give any cues besides it has to do with the beach…MY FAVORITE! Stay tuned to see where we end up!

Here’s my Two for Tuesday:

  1. Headbands & a walk:  As you know, my husband, dog, and I go on at least a 4 mile walk everyday and as we are trying to learn more about Austin, we go to different parks to learn about different areas around the city.  Well, recently I cut about 4 inches off of my hair, make it hard to just throw back into a ponytail and go on with my workout.  I recently ran across some headbands in fun summer colors and thought I would monogram them (because everything looks better with a monogram on it!).  The picture below is how they turned out, cute and do the job!headband
  2. White Chicken Enchiladas: So, being new to Texas, we have found that you can find tacos almost anywhere you go…they have breakfast tacos, snack tacos, tacos for dinner, dessert tacos…you name it, you can probably find it as a tacos of some sort in Austin!  Recently hubby and I found a local Mexican restaurant that is BYOB…who doesn’t love that esp. since alcohol is always what drives up the bill?!? But they make really good enchiladas…so, in my recipe experimentation that I’ve been doing, I decided to take on the challenge for mastering white Chicken enchiladas.  Here is the recipe I used from Recipe Tin Eats:
    WHITE CHICKEN ENCHILADAS
    PREP TIME
    15 mins
    COOK TIME
    25 mins
    TOTAL TIME
    40 mins
    This white sauce version of Enchiladas gives the classic a serious run for its money!
    Author: Nagi | RecipeTin Eats
    Recipe type: Chicken, Dinner
    Cuisine: Mexican
    Serves: 4
    INGREDIENTS
    White Sauce
    • 2½ tbsp butter
    • 3 tbsp flour
    • 1 cup milk
    • ½ c light sour cream
    • 1 cup chicken broth
    • ½ tsp cumin powder
    • 2 tbsp finely chopped jalapeños OR canned green chilies (Note 2)
    • ½ tsp salt + pepper
    Enchiladas
    • 2½ cups shredded cooked chicken (I cooked chicken breasts and 1/4 cup of water in my crockpot on low for 8 hours)
    • 1 cup frozen corn
    • ½ cup sliced scallions
    • Salt and pepper
    • 2 cups grated cheese (Note 1)
    • 8 tortillas (flour or corn)
    INSTRUCTIONS
    White Sauce
    1. Melt butter over medium heat in a skillet. Add flour and cook for 1 minute.
    2. Add milk, whisk until thickened – about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add sour cream and chicken broth. Whisk and cook for 2 minutes – it should thicken slightly. Stir through cumin, jalapeños, salt and pepper. Remove from heat and set aside.
    Enchiladas
    1. Preheat oven to 180C/350F.
    2. Mix together ¼ cup White Sauce, chicken, corn, scallions, 1 cup of grated cheese, salt and pepper.
    3. Pop the tortillas in the microwave for 15 seconds to warm through (so they don’t crack when rolled up).
    4. Divide filling between tortillas, and roll them up like a cigar.
    5. Smear 2 tbsp of White Sauce in baking dish. Place enchiladas in the dish, seam side down. Pour over remaining White Sauce, scatter with remaining cheese.
    6. Bake for 25 minutes, until bubbly and golden. Serve hot!
    7. Optional: Serve Pico de Gallo to top it or serve it on the side. I added avocado to my base Pico de Gallo Recipe.

    Yum! Here is a picture of what mine looked like, not beautiful, but very good!white enchilada                                            So that covers my Tuesday for Tuesday! I hope you have a good week AND Happy Mother’s Day to all of you mom’s out there!

Two for Tuesday

Happy Tuesday! I hope you are having a great start to your week!  I have to admit that this week has been filled with all kinds of emotions for me…I’m not sure if it has to do with my birthday being right around the corner, the fact that we put an offer on a house and didn’t get it,  I’m really missing my family (more than usual), or just the stress of starting a family, buying a house, looking for a job, and all of the other everyday stresses we have.  Anyways, my outlet for stressful situations has always been to work on craft projects and I have a big list of items to add to add to my Etsy shop, so it’s been a great distraction!

After all the rain we had last week, the weather finally cleared up towards the end of the week and most of the flooding subsided…by the way, I have always read about floods and seen them on TV, but never really experienced them.  We went to the normal park we take Dewey, our wiemaraner,  to for a walk and it was blocked off because the water from the creek had overflowed and was running across the walkways.  The walkways were probably a good foot under water, which is something that I had never really experienced before…Texas has brought many new things to my awareness!  However, we went to the park yesterday and luckily everything has dried up, but there is still the “flood” smell…hoping that goes away soon!

Looking for a new place to take Dewey for a walk this weekend, we stumbled upon Zilker Park.  Since we have been here, we have heard about “Zilker,” but there are always events there with a lot of traffic, so we have tried to avoid that area….BIG MISTAKE!  We went on Saturday as we are trying to go downtown more on the weekend and it was gorgeous!  It is essentially a preserved park in the middle of the city with an additional swimming area monitored by life guards called Barton Creek.  Below is a picture on one of the bridges through the park looking into the city…you can also tell that we weren’t the only ones looking to take advantage of a beautiful day! 🙂

So, here is what you have been waiting for…my Two for Tuesday:

  1. Prosciutto Eggs:  Since I haven’t been working, I have made an effort to be more creative with breakfast and dinner meals for the hubs and I.  That being said, we usually eat some sort of eggs 3-4 times a week, but even with all the variations you can do, it still gets old over time.  On one of my Pinterest searches one day, I stumbled across this “Whole 30” recipe (which I do not know enough information about to support, but like the initial ideas I have read about it) for prosciutto eggs.  Who wouldn’t like the sound of that….prosciutto and eggs…YUM! I used a variation of this recipe:
    1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees
    2. Spray all the tins on a regular muffin tin with a coconut oil spray (I found this at Traders and it’s awesome…AND make sure you do this step, cleaning the pan was not fun afterwards).
    3. Line each of the egg cups with 1 piece of prosciutto.
    4. Fill each tin with 1 egg. You can crack it right in (which is what I did) or scramble your eggs, then add them.  For an even healthier option, you could add only the egg whites.
    5. I like to sprinkle fresh pepper and fancy salt (I didn’t add salt because the prosciutto is salty enough for me, but add for your liking) on top of the egg.
    6. Bake your egg cups for 13-16 minutes or until the eggs look pretty solid. Eat right away!                       eggs

2. Baby Month Numbers:  These have been quite popular items over the past couple of years, they are typically stickers that you can put on your baby when they reach a certain monthly milestone after they are born.  After the pictures are taken for 12 months straight until the baby is a year old, it fun to put the pictures together in a frame or collage to see how much the baby has grown since she/he has been born at their first birthday party.  However, it’s hard to remember to take the picture every month on the exact day (unless as a busy mom you make an appointment on your calendar to remind you!), the baby is something too “wiggly” to put the sticker on, or the numbers get lost in the piles of “things” and forgotten about.  So, I ran across this idea that I thought would be fun to try and a little different than the sticker idea… it’s number patches!  So, instead of stickers, you have monthly numbers that are made out of fabric (super reusable, too!) that you put ribbon through and can be used on anything you can tie something to (i.e., a stuffed animal next to the baby, a pillow next to the baby, they could be loosely tied around the baby, the ideas are endless!)  They are still a work in progress because I must admit they were definitely more time consuming then I thought, but hopefully worth the effort…one day!months

Well folks, that’s all for this week! I hope you have a wonderful rest of the week 🙂

 

Two for Tuesday

Hello!  I hope you are having a good week so far and enjoying the Spring-like weather. Here in Texas, we are having more rain than we are used to.  It’s been nice because it has kept me inside focusing on items for my Etsy site and thankful that we don’t live in Houston…my heart goes out to you folks!

So, here’s my Two for Tuesday:

Coconut Oil “Soap”: Over the last year, I have found that I break out when I use certain soaps and have been on the lookout for the perfect soap ever since.  I have used everything from Olay bars of soap (because they smell so good) to Trader Joe’s Tea Tree Oil soap and everything in between.  However, on my kick to try to eliminate as many processed things as possible, I recently tried making my own soap.  After looking up a few different ways to make it, I was overwhelmed with the wood boxes you need to make and old pans you need to use…I wanted something quick, easy, and simple.  So, I ran across a recipe for coconut oil soap that looked like it contained everything I knew about in it and was easy to make.

The recipe I used is: Equal parts coconut oil and beeswax (I used the balls that you can find at your local natural grocery store…and they are pretty cheap!) and 15 drops of oil (any scent you like…I used lemongrass, but would imagine the eucalyptus or mint would be very refreshing). Melt the coconut oil and beeswax, add the drops and you should have a nice clear liquid.  Pour the liquid into molds (I used silicon ice cube molds from IKEA) and place in the refrigerator for about 2 hours to harden.

After a few uses, I found that these make you feel pretty oily in the shower, but after reading some additional information, I found that these are best used right after you get out of the shower to lock in moisture.  Once I realized that little caveat, I use these little gems for everything from my after shower lotion to lip gloss and have noticed quite an improvement in my skin!

soap

Puppy:  When my niece was born, a friend of my sisters made a puppy stuffed animal out of fleece…it was so cute and so soft!  Needless to say, “puppy” has become my niece’s favorite toy to cuddle with.  When my sister was visiting a few weeks ago, she asked if I could make her another one because she is afraid what will happen when “puppy” needs to be washed or isn’t close by (No one wants to deal with tantrums!).  During the rain we had this past weekend, I hunkered down and got to sewing a new “puppy.” Admittedly, I felt a little grandma-ish sewing it because it brought back memories of going to craft fairs with my mom and grandma and there was always that table with the old lady that sold stuffed animals with fabric from different NFL teams.  Does anyone else remember that?!?!?  Luckily, this one is much cuter and softer!  Anyways, a picture of puppy is below and is also listed on my Etsy site in case you would like one for your little one too!

 

Well, that wraps of Two for Tuesday this week.  Thank you for reading and if you haven’t had a chance, please visit my Etsy site where I am adding new items everyday!  You can also follow me on Danbury’s Nest on Facebook for new posts of items I have made and “friends and family” discounts.  I also have an Instagram account where new items and coupons are posted on a regular basis.

 

 

Two for Tuesday

Hello All!  So, here is my two….er one for Tuesday.  I have been very busy over the past couple weeks getting items together for my Etsy site.  So, although I have been trying new things in the kitchen like making coconut oil and beeswax soap, I will update you on them later. But now, it’s official, Danbury’s Nest is on Etsy!

Admittedly, this is something that I have been wanting to do for a very long time.  I had no idea it would take as much as it has to put together, but anything worth doing and worth doing well!  As I have been researching Etsy companies, Instagram accounts, Facebook accounts, marketing tools, etc. I have learned a lot and also gained a new respect for people starting their own small businesses.  I realize that everyone can go to their big box stores and get items for a very reasonable price, but in the bigger picture, that money is often contributing to CEO’s buying their fourth Mercedes and third vacation home.  I ran across this quote the other day and it really resonated with me:

When you buy from a mom or pop business, you are not helping a CEO buy a third vacation home.

You are helping a little girl get dance lessons, a little boy get his team jersey, a mom or dad put food on the table, a family pay a mortgage, or a student pay for college.

Our customers are our shareholders and they are the ones we strive to make happy.

Thank you for supporting small businesses!

About a week ago, my sister was visiting and was so excited to show me some knit pants she had purchased off of Etsy for my niece.  The pants were very cute and definitely not something you would find at Carter’s or Old Navy…but, then she mentioned that she paid $15 for them.  I said, “What? I don’t even buy $15 pants for myself!” But I had to bite my tongue and step back a little bit because I have no idea how much time and effort this person put into making these pants, along with the cost of the materials, etc. Once I thought about it a little longer and remembered the quote above, I realized that $15 was actually very reasonable for unique pants!

That’s all for today folks!  I will continue updating my Etsy site with new items and appreciate you checking it out. Hope you have a good week!

 

Two for Tuesday

My oh my, it has been a busy week!  We had some visitors for an extended weekend and it was very nice spending quality time with my mom, sister, and niece…and having people that we really know close by!  Over the past 3 months my husband and I have been very busy learning all about Austin and looking for a home to buy. It was nice to finally take a weekend off with my family touring the city and seeing all of the things we love about it.

Even though I was extremely busy with planning their weekend and getting our house ready for guests, I still had time to dedicate to launching my Etsy site and creating some fun items for my visitors.

  1. Branding: First, I would like to officially unveil the branding for Danbury’s Nest.  As I noted in my first post, the name “Danbury’s Nest” has a lot of meaning to me and I wanted that represented in my logo.  Also, I wanted to incorporate a fresh and classic look because the items in the shop will be for the baby and the home. I worked with Uniquely J Designs to create this logo…who I found off of Etsy and if you are ever in need of a graphic designer, I would highly recommend working with her!  So, drum roll please…logo
  2. Placemats and hand towels:  Both my mom and my sister are huge supporters of the embroidery work that I do.  So, for their visit, I wanted to make something for them to take back with them.  I decided to make something that I had seen a lot of samples of online, but was honestly too afraid to try.  Anyhow, I bit the bullet and did it when I found some linen placemats on sale and am quite impressed with how they turned out!  I also made some hand towels to compliment the placemats, but knew that my sister would not be using them in the same place, so it was ok that the green color was a little off! (Also, I will be selling the linen placemats in my Etsy shop in all white, all brown, all black, white with a green border (like the ones pictured below), and white with a teal border…they will be $30 for a set of 4.  Please let me know if you are interested in ordering some.)

     

    Thank you for visiting and I hope you have a wonderful week!

Two for Tuesday

Hi y’all! (There…I did it…it only took me two months to jump on the “southern accent” bandwagon!) I hope everyone has a nice Easter weekend and got to enjoy the beautiful signs of Spring!  I know that we are certainly getting the pollen down here, so those colors should be popping out soon.

Are you ready? Here’s my two Tuesday this week:

“Together” Sign

As I have mentioned in my previous posts, I am always trying to find reasonable ways to make our rental home more “homey” and have some gems that I can take with us to our “real” home.  I don’t know about you, but I always see those wall stickers with cute quotes at stores, like this.  I always wonder to myself if you can REALLY put them on any surface and how easily they really come off painted walls.  Being a rental home, I didn’t want to take a chance putting something that couldn’t or wouldn’t come off since it’s my first time trying these, so I decided to find quote I liked and stick it on canvas.  The quote is like a big sticker that you pull off the backing and something like a plastic credit card or gift card to smooth it out.  Since the particular quote I got came in about 5 different pieces, I laid each word out and centered it so I knew where it would go when I pulled the backing off.  It was actually really easy to put on the canvas…I did however put a thick (clean) cutting board on the backside of the canvas to have more support to press the “sticker” against.  After the quote was on the canvas, I was left with a white and black canvas…pretty boring, didn’t really match my decor, and definitely didn’t add color which is what I was hoping a wall hanging in that particular spot would do.

I am a huge fan of the watercolor art that you can find on many wall hangings nowadays and tried to figure out how I could incorporate that look into my wall hanging without taking away form the saying.  I got a few ideas of styles and colors and watched a few YouTube videos about how to create a watercolor look with acrylic paints…and Voila! below is my final product.  My husband thinks it looks really homemade, but I think it is very in style with today’s interior decor.  What do you think?

painting

Coffee Creamer

I am one of those people that likes my coffee more beige than black…I can’t help it!  My husband, on the other hand, likes his coffee very dark with about 2 drops of milk or cream. I know that creamers are not the healthiest option, but the flavors make make my mornings so much more colorful!  Well, recently, hubs and I were at the local grocery and I was going to grab a bottle of creamer and he told me to look at the ingredients…I did, and realized that not only could I pronounce half of the ingredients, the ones I could pronounce were not the best for you.  So, determined to have my coffee without a bunch of “junk,” I went onto to plan B…making my own creamer.  If you HAVE to have creamer in your coffee and have about 5 minutes each week to make your own, I suggest you try it!  I am finding that I spend about a quarter of what I used to spend on creamer and its a lot better for me!

Here’s what I do:

Ingredients
  • 1 cups of half and half
  • 1 teaspoon flavored extract (I used almond, but here is where you can really creative with flavors…I’m going to be trying coconut next week!)
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract (use the good quality)
  • Cinnamon (optional)
  • Agave (optional, to your liking for sweetness)
Instructions
  1. In medium saucepan, add the half and half until it is warm.
  2. Remove from heat.  Add vanilla, flavored extract, optional cinnamon and whisk in to combine.
  3. Cool to room temperature or use right away in your coffee.
  4. Once cooled, pour the creamer into a tall jar (I used an old creamer bottle), cover and store in fridge for up to 5 days.
  5. Shake well before each use.

creamer

Enjoy!