Friday, March 24, 2017

Friday Favorites - Spring Fun Edition

Happy Friday, Friends!  This has been the longest week of all time.  The days were LOOOONG and we're so excited to have some time together as a family this weekend where we're all healthy (finger's crossed! hahaha)

Narci and I are linking up and sharing our FAVORITES from the week and if you'd like to join us just link back to one (or all!) of us, grab our graphic and share your own Friday Favorites!

- Strawberry Wine -
Strawberry Wine by Deana Carter was my JAM in high school.  So many summer nights cruising around in my Explorer with friends singing this with the windows down.  When I heard Sam Hunt perform it I totalyl swooned.  Just when I thought the original couldn't get any better!  Y'all.  If he were to record this I'd buy it like 7 times.  For real :)

- Kids in the Kitchen -
One of my FAVORITE people EVER has a new cookbook out (seriously... how cool is that?!?!) and I think it's my favorite one yet because of all the precious pics of her kids!

 I mean... is this not the sweetest picture EVER?!?!  The little stool, the Matilda Jane... so precious.

My kids love being in the kitchen with me and we can't wait to try out the recipes.  On first perusal these two caught my eye...


... because apparently I'm craving crescent rolls :)

Aside from the sweet pictures of 3/4 of her adorable kids and the delicious crescent roll recipes I think that my REAL favorite part is getting to watch a dear friend accomplish another goal.  As someone who has eaten MANY a meal in Shay's kitchen I can vouch for her absolute love of cookbooks and the novelty of adding HER books to my own collection is yet to wear off.

Congrats, Shay!!!

You can preorder your own copy HERE

- Ryan and Wren -
I found Ryan and Wren a few months ago because Griffin's "wispies" were driving us all insane and we needed a "low profile" but still sweet way to keep them clipped back.  I tried a few other little bows and clips, but nothing really held.  I bought a set of clips from Ryan and Wren and almost immediately ordered a second because they are that good.  The color choices are great, they look precious and they hold Griffin's hair back all day.  

For holidays she puts out these adorable little clip and gift card sets which are perfect for dropping into Easter baskets, popping in a card for a friend or attaching to a gift.  Look how sweet!

She just came out with three new colors for Spring... tulip leather, grape leather and navy blue leather and I mixed in gold metallics to make a fun little set.  Be sure to check my Instagram later today because I'll be giving away a set just like it! :)

- This kid-
Mason was back on the baseball field this week and he was extra smiley before practice.  I'm pretty sure he was trying to sweet talk me into giving him a package of fruit snacks... but I'll take those sweet little eyes however I can get them :)

- Pool Time -
Monday night Dave and I were cleaning the pool and deck area and the kids were running around the backyard.  What started as "can we stick our toes in?" somehow turned into all three of them in their britches and in the FREEZING water.  

Mason's face is how I felt about the situation.  But we couldn't get them out! hahaha  Kids are crazy!


- Outfits - 
Spring was in the air this week and I busted out this little Matilda Jane dress for school.  It's a new favorite and I can't wait to wear it a TON this Spring and Summer.

 Griffin picked her own outfit on Wednesday and she was totally feeling the pink.  I wore my dress on Tuesday and she immediately recognized that she had a "match" and wore it the next day :)

PS - If you're looking for a coordinating option for Easter or Spring pics this would be perfect!!!  You can order both HERE and just put Andrea McAnally in as your Jane when you check out.

 - Comfy Forts - 
The kids have been all about building "comfy forts" for watching TV in the evening (which is soooooo inconvenient because then we have to haul everything back upstairs before bed. AAAH!  Oh well. They're only little once, right????)

How they have all their little animals arranged is my FAVORITE.

- Can't stop. Won't stop. -
It's been a while since I've picked up a new mug and I've used some serious restraint on multiple occasions ;), but I couldn't say no to this pottery gorgeousness and don't regret it one bit. ;)

- Poppy Whitaker -
I've RAVED about Poppy Whitaker before - her appliqu├ęd dresses are unmatched by anything else I've seen.  They're creative and fun, spunky and sweet.  I ADORE Poppy Whitaker.

She offered to send Griffin this bunny dress for Spring and as soon as I showed it to her she goes, "oooooh! It's BEAUTIFUL!" and then she saw the bunny and has asked to wear this dress no less than a dozen times since.  (She also wants to wear those over the top sandals any chance she gets.  #subtle) ;)

The bunny design is hand painted and the flowers are sewn on top.  Combined with the ditsy floral on the skirt and little lace/crotchet trim it's a dress that is definitely going in her little memory box.

I adore how girly and fun and unique it is and can't wait to see Griffin wear it all Spring and Summer.

 - Great Books -

I ordered these books back in February and while I haven't been able to sit down and read them cover to cover yet I can attest to the beauty and power in their words.  Every time I pick either one of them up to read (even if it's just a couple of pages) I find myself highlighting, underlining and "mmm-hmming" as I go.

"Just Show Up" was written by Kara Tippetts and her friend Jill as they walked through Kara's battle with cancer together.  It's filled with practical advice and real talk about walking through struggles with each other and why it's important to just show up.  "When God Doesn't Fix It" was written by Laura Story about when her husband received a devastating brain cancer diagnosis.  She's an amazing writer and I've read and reread most of the chapters in her book.

“During the wait, which eventually stretched over two days and nights, my favorite visitors were the ones who said the three magic words: not “I love you,” or even, “I am praying,” but, “Here’s your latte.” Those words made me smile each time I heard them because the people who brought me lattes weren’t trying to give me answers. They were just trying to give me coffee. They sat with me and wept with me and never said a word. They were the ones who refilled my empty cup.” 

This weekend we have dance, a baseball game and TONS of laundry to catch up on.  I'm looking forward to trying out another carrot cake recipe (hopefully details next week!) and am excited to hear Narci share her testimony at a Women's event at our church on Sunday night.  

I hope y'all have a restful and relaxing weekend planned!  Happy Friday, Friends!!!

PS - Thank you so much to Ryan and Wren for providing Griffin with the set of clips and Easter cards as well as Poppy Whitaker for the PRECIOUS bunny dress!  We ADORE y'all and are so excited to spread the word and support your businesses!  Also, this post contained affiliate links - so if you clicked on a link and made a purchase I may receive a commission.  THANK YOU!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Under $20 Gift Ideas

Happy Thursday, Friends!  In our house I feel like Spring is "present season".  Between all three of my kids birthdays, Easter baskets and what feels like half of their classmate's parties ;) it seems as though every time I turn around I'm in need of a gift.  That said - I thought I'd compile a few of our favorite gifts.  These are either things that we own, things that I like to keep on hand for gifts (seriously.... I have a stash of 5 of those Pokemon books at all times for quick gifts!  Attach a card and a pack of Pokemon cards and you're done!) or things that my kids would LOVE to see in their Easter baskets or unwrap on their birthdays.

I'm crossing my fingers that these graphics work - but you should be able to click directly on the item you're interested in and find yourself on the Amazon page for it.  Everything on these lists is from Amazon because I don't always need a gift... but when I do I realize it less than 48 hours in advance and Prime saves my tail :)

Disclaimer!!!  On the Under $10 and Under $15 a couple of things snuck through that were like $10.99 and $15.99.  So sorry! I know that's annoying... but not as annoying as having to redo my graphics after I realized :)

My kids are getting a few things that are over $20 for their birthdays and I may put together a gift guide for gifts in that price range later.  But for now.... have fun thinking about Easter baskets, birthday party presents and stocking your gift stashes ;)

PS - If you clicked on one of these images and made a purchase through an affiliate link I may receive a commission!  THANK YOU!!!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Bubble Up Pizza Casserole

If a recipe has the word "pizza" in it I'm on board.  Pretty much no questions asked.  So when I came across this casserole recipe on Pinterest I knew it was going on our menu for the week.

So... here's what everything looked like straight out from the store...

... and here's the amounts that I used.

What You'll Need
- 1 pound browned sausage
- 1/2 package refrigerated biscuits (4 biscuits.. about 8 oz)
- 2 oz pepperoni (about half a package.... cut into quarters)
- 8 oz pizza sauce
- 8 oz tomato sauce
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella
- Italian seasoning

Dave browned the sausage for me while the kids helped me measure and prep the other ingredients.  They ALL want to help with dinner and on nights where we have a little extra time I try to oblige them as much as possible.

I sliced the biscuits into 4 strips each and then gave Mason a pair of scissors to snip them into bite size pieces.

Next, Luke cut the pepperoni into quarters...

Look at that concentration!

That was really all the prep required so next everyone had a turn pouring in the pizza sauce...

... pepperoni...

... biscuit pieces...

 ... and tomato sauce in with the sausage (browned and drained).

We stirred it all together...

... and poured it into a casserole dish that I had sprayed with pam.  I sprinkled on a bit of Italian seasoning and then we popped it into the oven at 350 for 25 minutes.

When the 25 minutes was up we pulled it out, topped it with 1 cup shredded mozzarella and put it back in for 15 more minutes.

15 minutes later and it was done!

Hello, gorgeous.

My entire family gobbled this up.  Partly because it had pizza in the name.  Partly because it smelled AMAZING.  But mostly because they all had participated and were excited to taste what they had made. 

A couple of notes...

- When I was about to put away the extra ingredients I realized that I had everything I needed to make a second casserole... so I did.  I was short a teeny bit of the pizza sauce, so I just subbed in a bit more tomato sauce and it was perfect!  If you're making this, plan on making two (that way you don't end up having to find another use for half the biscuits, sauces, pepperoni, etc.) and make one for a friend or freeze it after you bake it. 

- The original recipe called for mushrooms and olives (neither of which my kids like), but you could really add in whatever protein(s) or veggies that you like on your pizza.  I think that next time I make this I'll add in some peppers and mushrooms to the second casserole for me and Dave.  This would be amazing with a pound of diced ham and some chopped pineapple... really any pizza combo.

If you try the recipe out let me know what you think!  If you come up with a great pizza combo send it my way :)  Happy Wednesday, Friends!! 

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

This and that

Today's post is going to be a random assortment of "this and that" and answering a few questions.

 - iMovie -
I get asked often about how I make the little videos that I post and the answer is iMovie.  I downloaded the app on my phone for free last Spring and I just kind of played with it to figure it out.  It was pretty simple to use and (as most things with Mac are) pretty intuitive.  Earlier this month I was asked to make a pretty important video and knew it was time to dive into the full version on iMac.  I wanted it to be perfect and knew that I wouldn't be able to work on it to the detail that I wanted using my phone.  The app for iMac is $15 (which I felt was REALLY reasonable for what it does!) and while there was a bit of a learning curve I was able to catch on pretty quickly and what I couldn't figure out on my own I was able to figure out using the help feature in the app and Google. 

I'm going to be honest - it's intimidating at first.  But really... it's a big game of drag and drop and then just playing around with things.  You really can't mess it up.  I'm not going to attempt a full tutorial (there are TONS of great ones on Youtube if you search "iMovie tutorial"), but will share a few of the basics.

Since I use an apple phone and desktop computer everything uploads to my photo stream (so pictures/videos that I take on my phone go there as well as photos that I download from my 'big camera'.... they all show up in order... it's awesome).  Once I start a new project I can click on My Media and then everything from my stream shows up.  I then drag and drop the pictures and videos down into the editor (bottom of the screen) and from there I can make all the edits/changes I want.

The Audio tab pulls up music/audio files that I've selected either from my iTunes or from the Youtube Audio Library (royalty free instrumental music that you can sort through by genre and mood).  I drag and drop the audio files as well and am ready to go!

The Titles tab is where you add titles like this one at the beginning of a video...

... or this one at the end.  You can add a title to any photo/video and there are tons of options.

One of the hardest things for me to figure out sometimes is the timing.  If I want the video to "fit" the timing of the songs/audio that I'm using I'll have to adjust the timings and while I can do that by selecting individual clips and "squeezing them" on the sides I finally realized that I could click on that little timer icon (top right) and change the duration (in seconds) that way much easier.

another quick tip is the "settings" box which I feel like is kind of hidden at the top right of the editor.  This is where you can add transitions (the little fades and stuff between pictures and videos) in between every item in your movie.  SO MUCH QUICKER!!!

When I make movies I like to use video and photos (I like this SO MUCH BETTER than just one or the other) with music in the background (it adds so much!) and when you have a video clip selected in the editor you can click on the audio button at the top and automatically lower the volume of your music so that you can hear the voices in your video or make your video silent so all you hear is music.  I was actually able to figure out how to even just take audio from a video clip and play that in the background of a montage of photos using the audio function - and I swear that if I can do it you can too!!!

I do like using it a lot better on my computer than on my phone, so if you have a Mac and have some pictures/videos that you want to make into little home movies I can't say enough great things about giving it a try.  

I am sooooo not an expert AT ALL in iMovie and I hope this wasn't WAY too technical... but I wanted to encourage you as someone who just downloaded it and played with it.  It can be done!  And it's really really really fun!  

- Painting -

When we bought our house I really thought it was one neutral throughout the main areas downstairs (family room, entry, living room, stairway, playroom) but it turns out that it's actually several different neutrals instead of one and they're flat paint... which is kind of a nightmare when you have three kids.  

This is the lightest of the several neutrals.  It's in our two-story entryway, goes up the stairs and carries into the loft playroom.  The living room (you can kind of see it on the left side of the pic below) is a darker shade.

And then the family room area is a darker shade...

... which carries way up to the loft (also... my kitchen green looks REALLY bright in this pic... it's not actually that bright).

All that to say, we've been talking A LOT about paint at our house lately :)  My original plan was to paint it all myself (yeah... I know), but after getting a quote from a painter and then factoring in the cost of renting scaffolding, the hassle of renting scaffolding and the HOURS it would take we're now leaning toward hiring it out.  

Next step is picking a color.  I asked on Instagram if anyone had a great beige in their house that wasn't yellow or grey (I love gray... but I think my downstairs is too "warm" for gray) and the OVERWHELMING response was "Accessible Beige" by Sherwin Williams.  Lots of people sent me pictures of it in their own homes, I found whole Pinterest boards dedicated to it, there are YouTube reviews of the color (who knew!) and I still need to get some sample boards painted and up, but that's the color I'm leaning toward (in a more durable finish and possibly lightened 50%).

All images via pinterest.... aren't they GORGEOUS?!?!?!

I'm not on any certain timetable, but am hoping to have it on the calendar with the painter before summer break.  Having that much area painted is obviously a big decision, so I want to make sure we make the right choice and are going to love it for years and years.

- This dress -

I posted this picture on InstaStories yesterday...

... and had an OVERWHELMING response to this dress.  Unfortunately it's sold out (BOO!), but you can find it HERE and stalk it regularly in case it comes back in stock.  I'm in the petite size and while I would have preferred it in the regular length, the petite is totally fine... I'll just be sure to wear it with flat sandals to school (because everything seems shorter with a wedge!) and will keep the wedges reserved for date or girls nights ;)  The sweet little cap sleeve (and gorgeous embroidery!) is what sold me because I'm always looking for something that's going to work when it's 100 degrees outside and I'm teaching and don't want to have to wear a denim jacket or cardigan over it.

If you're in the same boat as me and looking for cute warm weather AND work appropriate (my work is pretty casual) dresses here are a few I have my eye on...

Happy Tuesday, Friends!!!  

PS - This post contained affiliate links.  Thank you so much for supporting my blog! :)