Saturday, December 31


A few weeks before Christmas my friend, Emily, arranged a little pre- Christmas gathering with her boyfriend and some our other couple friends. We had a sweet potato and pumpkin pie with a whole crust, vanilla ice cream, and a castle bundt cake (ha!). It was very low-key but we had SUCH a good time! We took all kinds of ridiculous pictures which was probably the best part. As you can see in the photo above, one of the legs on the couch sort of broke while taking the picture!! Here's some more peeks at night-

note that none of us are holding up real gang signs.

All photos were taken by Miss Emily :)

- Amanda

Friday, December 30

WE {heart} HANDMADE - Christmas Gifts.

This dress is for my niece, Esther's, third birthday (which follows closely with Christmas). I used this PDF pattern found on Etsy.

A scarf constructed completely out of vintage materials. I used instructions from Soule Mama's book, Handmade Home

I made three of these beaded flower bouquets! I used instructions from Martha Stewart's book, Encyclopedia of Crafts. The vases are recycled vanilla jars.

I made silhouettes of Ethum and Avre for the great-grandparents. My sister-in-law came up with the idea for this one. She also made silhouettes of her children. I definitely want to make some for myself!

There were more handmade gifts that I never got around to photographing... oh well! Did you make any handmade gift-ables this year??


Thursday, December 29


On the day after Christmas we hit the town for cupcakes, coffee, and a yummy dinner. We'd been there for four days and hadn't been anywhere but family's house and church - it was high time we did some running around. We ended up at Sara Sara cupcake, Coffee Slingers and Iron Starr Barbeque. It was all pretty fantastical.
Oklahoma City has another great cupcake shop (Cuppies and Joe) but they are closed on Monday. We had been to Sara Sara a few years ago but it wasn't a very relaxed date spot. This time, we were most impressed. I just love all their touches of hot pink- so modern and fresh. I had the strawberry cupcake and guess what, it really tasted like strawberries. Yum!
If you ever end up in OKC, I highly recommend all of these places.
this is dave's brother, jake, in case you were wondering.


Wednesday, December 21


Hey there! Here's a super fast and easy side for when you're looking for a nutritious dinner and you don't have a lot of time on your hands.

  • 8 medium carrots, sliced however you like them
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • salt +_pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with foil. Toss carrots with olive oil and sprinkle with cumin. Season with salt + pepper. Roast for about 15 minutes. Serve! They lose their heat quickly, so try to take them out of the oven immediately before serving (or after you've said the prayer.ha.ha.)

So, we are leaving for OKC in the morning. (Hip hip hooray!) As I am preparing to leave, I was just thinking about how "unconventional" my preparations are. Here's what I'm doing:
1. Making a steak dinner. 2. Baking berry muffins for a grab-and-go breakfast. 3. Making chicken stock with leftover vege's and rotisserie chicken carcass. 4. Making peppermint bark for a hostess gift.
Never mind wardrobe planning and 'don't forget your toothbrush' note making! Also, it is hilarious that my husband isn't thinking twice when I list off all the things I have to do before I go to bed.

Night, friends!

Tuesday, December 20

CHRISTMAS DECOR- Part Three, etc,etc.

The Wreath.

Vintage Paint-by-Number + Vintage Tinsel Boughs.

The Ever Growing Greeting Card Tree.

Bowl  'O {pink} Shiny Brites.
That's all for the Christmas decor!

On another note, I had my little brother and sister (ages 11 and 12) over here for the past few days. It was the first time they had spent the night since I had Avre. A lot has changed in terms of rhythm since they were here last but it was pretty cool to see what they associated with spending time with me: hot tea at night, homemade brownies and smoothies pops, the park and MAM's Sno Cups, and 'making things' were all on the list of 'can we do's'. I like that.

I am so busy!!! Aren't you??? I am scrambling to finish a dress for my niece's 3rd birthday. I also spent the afternoon mending four dresses for our trip to Oklahoma City at the end of the week. FOUR! ahhh!
After this week, I will be on a tiny hiatus from the blog to spend time with family and friends, whom we hardly ever get to see- can't wait!


Monday, December 19


As Ethum points to his chest... "There's a big heart in there."
...yes, Ethum, we know.


Saturday, December 17

Friday, December 16


Here I am making all these wonderful handmade Christmas gifts and I can't share any of them here on the blog! Ugh! I will do a little re-cap after our trip to Oklahoma City. For now, I will just share this somewhat ambiguous picture of the final gift I'm working on. Happy Friday! Weeeeeeeee!


Thursday, December 15


print found here.

Sooo, yesterday I ran out of coffee and forgot to buy more. This morning was kind of dreary with the occasional light rain, so after I fed the littles and showered and all that good stuff, I loaded everyone up and we went to Antidote (one of our favorite coffee shops in Houston). I thought about just going through a Starbucks drive-thru, but we are kind of snobby in that we are kind of against the idea of drive-thru coffee. Anyway, if I was going to have to drive to get coffee, I might as well get a cajeta latte, which is pretty much the best drink in the world. The parking lot is tiny and I wouldn't mind parking down the street but that means that I will also be keeping a toddler out the street while lugging a car-seat the whole walk down that street. I managed to find a decent parking spot and we all went it aaaand then we went out aaaand well, it was pouring down! I had almost reached my car (with the boys, coffee, and Ethum's drinkable yogurt) when the barista came running out with an umbrella. He chased me around the car as I was buckling the boys in and finding places for drinks and a diaper bag. When that was over, I said, "thank you. that was so kind of you". Even I was surprised at what I said. I don't think that sentence has ever been spoken with my lips but I truly meant it. This guy had chased me down, around the side of the building to make sure that I didn't get myself and my children sopping wet. Now, did I really mind getting wet? No, not really but he had stopped what he was doing while they had a line almost going out the door, just to be kind. This is what I'm talking about. It totally made my day. And to top it off, when I got home I read this blog post by Emma from Food Coma. Pretty inspiring, wouldn't ya say?

“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” -Aesop

"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle." -Plato


Wednesday, December 14


Are you ready? I'm going to share with you my peppermint bark recipe. I could eat this stuff everyday- no lie. I never liked peppermint bark (even the kind from william-sonoma) until I figured out a little trick called 'peppermint flavor'. This recipe is also on the Christmas tradition list. I made it up while Dave and I were still dating and it is something of a miracle that it turned out to be this good. I had good intentions and really enjoyed to cook/bake but I didn't quite know what I was doing back then. Try it, you'll like it.

  • 1 bag or around 2 cups of dark chocolate chips
  • 1 bag or around 2 cups white chocolate chips
  • 1 teaspoon peppermint flavor (I use a high quality organic)
  • 20 mini candy canes
Break up the candy canes with a food processor or put them in a plastic bag and crush them up with a rolling pin (alternatively, you can do it the super classy way, using a hammer...ahem). Using a double boiler or a sauce pan,bring 1 inch of water to boil. Pour dark chocolate chips into double boiler or a glass/metal boil and stir chocolate until completely melted. Spread the melted dark chocolate on foil lined baking sheet (it doesn't have to be perfect, as you are going to break it up anyway). Put the baking sheet in the refrigerate for 30 mins or until it is completely solid again. Now you are going to melt the white chocolate the same  way. Stir in the peppermint flavor and then spread the white chocolate over the dark chocolate. You need to be very careful not to let your spatula/spoon too close to the dark chocolate when spreading or you will have chocolate swirls. Sprinkle the crushed candy canes over the top and refrigerate for another 30 minutes. After its completely solid, peel the foil off the bottom and break up the bark while its still cold to prevent chocolate finger prints. Enjoy!

Notes: 1)I recently found that Kroger'shouse brand 62% cacao tastes very similar to Ghirardelli. 2)Plain red and white candy canes look best, but they were sold out. 3) You can use less candy canes if you wish, but I really enjoy the  'crunchies' on top.


Monday, December 12


Last Friday night, we went to our favorite spot in Houston, DownHouse. They have excellent everything- food, coffee, ambiance, staff, you name it! Our plan was to try out a brand new restaurant in the neighborhood called Liberty Kitchen, but they were booked with an hour wait. We were starving and had the littles in tow, so that was a no-go. DownHouse was also packed but since no one had the 'private room with the large table' reserved, they gave it to us- how nice!

Ethum had fried chicken strips with french fries. What kid doesn't love that combo? This was the most delicious fried chicken and french fries I have ever had! YUM!! They use local 'proteins' and produce- we love that. I had the warm green bean salad, complete with pear, bacon lardons, and a poached egg. Who on Earth came up with that combo?! I don't know, but it was amazing. Also, I have never eaten so many green beans in one sitting! Dave had the longhorn burger and he was all about it.


It was a late night and the boys were tired so we decided to keep them entertained with a little face-time on the iphone.

It was the best family outing we've had in awhile. I hope you had a super fun weekend too!


Thursday, December 8


Pecan Snowballs- Mmmm-mm-mmmmm. These cookies made it to my Christmas tradition list the first year of mine and David's marriage. They seem to be a hit... I sure think so. Now, these do have a bit of almond extract, and I realize that some people have an aversion to it but I highly recommend using it anyway. It adds a certain depth, cuts the sweetness just a bit, and sets it apart from every other joe schmoe pecan snowball out there.

  • 1 cup pecans
  • 1 cup butter, room temp.
  • 1 3/4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups unbleached flour

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Toast pecans for 5-8 mins depending on how toasty you want them to taste. Let cool, chop.
  2. Beat butter and 1 cup of the sugar. Add vanilla and almond extracts and salt.
  3. Add flour and stir in pecans.
  4. Roll into tablespoon size balls and place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
  5. Refrigerate for about 30 mins.
  6. Place half of the balls to another parchment paper lined baking sheet and bake for 18-20 minutes. Let them cool on baking sheets for 10 mins.
  7. Place 1/2 cup powdered sugar in a bowl and toss cookies. Just before serving, sift remaining 1/4 cup powdered sugar over cookies.
  8. EAT!

I hope you enjoy these and have lots of powdered sugar coated lips to match!
Have a magical weekend!!
- Amanda


It has just been a cookie fest over here this week. This is the third batch of spritz cookies I made (this week). We made batch one with a friend and her four little ones, batch two was just Ethum and I for our family and the guys Dave works with, and the third batch was for Dave's brothers, Joe and Jake, who are away at college. I'm such a good sister-in-law, right? Well, the truth is that Joe is halfway through his third year of college and this is the first box of goodies we've sent. Even though I have been meaning to send some since year one. ha. ha. Anyway, these cookies are addicting- my goodness! I just made the recipe that comes with the cookie press, minus the almond extract and add a little extra vanilla. I almost need to hide them from myself. nom nom. Also, this week I made my first attempt at my granny's fudge... and failed. I think I need to invest in a digital candy thermometer, as the recipe says to take the fudge off the heat at exactly 234 degrees. The fudge never set and is now in a mason jar in the refrigerator, labeled 'fudge sauce'.  I just couldn't dump all that chocolate-y goodness in the trash, now could I?

What have you been baking lately?


Wednesday, December 7


1) Me watching Ethum go crazy bonkers at Beck's Prime. 2) Homemade whoopie pies.
 3) Sewing my life away. 4) I want that sign in my kitchen. 5) Snack attack.

- Amanda

Tuesday, December 6

TUTORIAL: DIY Boys Pajama Pants - How to Add Pockets.

Hi! Today, I'm going to show you how to add pockets to a plain pajama pants pattern.

  • sewing machine.
  • pajama pant pattern.
  • scissors.
  • a pen.
  • fabric for pants, according to pattern.
  • fabric for pockets. (the size will vary depending on the size you're making, but shouldn't be more than a fat quarter.)
  • paper for pattern-making. (this can be anything, even newspaper.)
  • coordinating thread.
  • a wooden skewer, crochet hook, or other tool of the shape.
  • an iron.

  1. Follow instructions for pants pattern up to the construction of the waist and hem.
  2. Draw a pattern for pockets. Make sure to include enough fabric for 1/4 inch seam. Cut out the pattern you just made and lay it over fabric to be sure you like the size.
  3. Pin the pattern to the pocket fabric and cut out 4 pockets.
  4. To make pockets, take two of the pocket pieces and lay one on top of the other, right sides facing each other. Do this again with the two remaining pieces.
  5. Stitch a 1/4 inch seam all the way around the pocket, leaving the top open.
  6. Now you are going to turn the pocket right side out. You can use the wooden skewer or crochet hook to assist you.
  7. Next, iron the pockets and pin to the front of the pants.
  8. Stitch as close as you can to the edge of the fabric leaving the opening for the pocket, open. (as shown in photo below).
  9. Continue on with the instructions listed on the pants pattern to construct waist and hem.
  10. Yay! You did it!

Go here to see the first pair. If you have any questions at all, please comment or email me.

[by the way... you have no idea how long I had to chase Ethum around the house to get that last photo. ahh!]