Sunday, September 29, 2013

IKEA Expedit Toy Labels

A friend recently gave us a white Expedit from IKEA as her kids had really outgrown toys. I was thrilled to have it and get Abby's playroom to a happier place. We had so many toys bins in her room and her closet and I loved the idea of everything fitting in one piece of furniture. We bought 10 cloth baskets are Target for about $5 each and I spent nap time getting her playroom organized!

I like that the space is still fun and colorful and it is easy for her to pull down a basket and play and easy for her to clean it up, too! I looked all over Pinterest and there are so many cute option for organizing toys and general stuff with an Expedit. In the end, I used what I had, a label maker, and put stickers directly on the shelves. This means nothing gets ripped off the basket handle and it means that the baskets have to stay in this order because the shelves determine the placement. Abby is loving it and within an afternoon memorized each basket's right spot. I think having five different colors is also really helpful.  

Here are some of the other options I found and many include free printables!

from Life on Paper Co

from Notable Nest

from Be Simply Organized

from Bubble and Bobbins

from Life at Number 91
I think the key to these working is to include a picture if your child is unable to read. So many cute labels with actual photos of the toys or clip art from online. Abby can't read, but with only 10 bins and her knowing her letters, we were able to get away without using pictures.

I also think laminating is smart. My girlfriend Alison is amazed that I don't own a laminator. I can imagine it would be helpful in so many ways!

Chalk is also great because you can easily change out what the label says if you will be changing out your bins.

Happy Organizing!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Spicy Chicken Tacos

After having great success with cakes from Mix and Match Mama, I decided to try one of her dinner recipes. Oh my- these spicy chicken tacos were so good and you would never know spinach was in there! Not a fan of the leafy green, but know how important it is. It just sneaks in under the tastes of salsa and chicken. I will make these again and again!

Here is the full recipe, courtesy of Mix and Match Mama.

1 pound cooked and shredded chicken breast 
1 jalapeno, chopped (remove the seeds)
1 package taco seasoning
1 box frozen spinach, defrosted and squeezed of all the excess water
2 cups salsa
2 cups Pepper Jack cheese, shredded
5 stand and stuff taco shells 
Olive Oil

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

In a skillet over medium-high heat, add chicken, jalapeno, taco seasoning, spinach and salsa and a tablespoon or so olive oil.  Reduce the heat to low and simmer about 5 minutes.

In an 8x8 inch baking dish sprayed with cooking spray, line up your 5 taco shells.  Place the chicken mixture inside the shells.  Top tacos with cheese and place in the oven.  Bake about 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted. Enjoy!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Fall Mantle Before and After

I love my fall mantle this year! Believe it or not, I thought I was done with it took photos for the blog and then I saw this pin on Pinterest and ran to Hobby Lobby!

This is my done for real 2013 mantle. Let's look at the couple of things I added, for under $15, that made a big impact!

This was my mantle... garland, ribbon, berry picks, pumpkins in various colors, and a nice family photo. I just knew something was missing. It was all so dark with the wood mantle and the dark fall colors of the garland. Then, that made the clean white family photo just look out of place. Plus, it is an 8x10, but it looked so small with the J and stacked pumpkins on the left side.

Close up, it was beautiful with lots of color and texture. But, from my couch it was missing something!

I made two simple additions for a big impact! The leaves in the pitcher were 40% off of $6.99 which was just my price. I only needed one packet which had 2 stems. They were super full once you fluffed them out. So much cheaper than the leaves at Pottery Barn. Goodness- who can pay $24.50 per stem? I placed them in a pitcher I have had for years from Ballard Designs. It gave the bright color and height that I wanted.

My other addition was the fabric squares. I'll be honest, I didn't sew them, iron them, or even cut them perfect because I was so excited to get them on the mantle! I bought 1/2 yard of each piece of fabric for under $5 each. I folded each piece in half to make an 18" by 18" square and cut diagonally to make two triangles. I set aside for my scrap bin the triangle not cut on the fold. Using the triangle cut on the fold, I opened up the orange triangle to make a really big triangle and placed it in the center. Leaving the two chevron prints folded, I placed them on each side of the orange center and then layered the other items on the mantle.

I am so happy with how it turned out!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Fall Decor 2013

It is finally fall and I can't tell you how excited I am. My favorite season- football, candles, crockpot meals, scarves, I love it all! Here is my home all decked out for the season this year!

Aren't mantles fun to decorate? I don't think I could buy a house without a mantle! I bought a few new things this year including these bright orange leaves! They were $24.50 at Pottery Barn of 40% off of $6.99 at Hobby Lobby. Score! I also bought some fabric to decorate the mantle this year. I'll share more on this easy project later in the week.

Along with my new fabric and leaves, I used an old garland, some berry picks, a little silky rust ribbon and an assortment of pumpkins, gourds, and acorns. I own a giant trunk full of various pumpkins, gourds, and acorns!

Under the TV I added acorns and pinecones inside the dough bowl and kept the candles the same as they are year round. I added a think burlap runner (sold with ribbon) and more pumpkins in a variety of colors. Most of my pumpkins come from Hobby Lobby, but last year I bought a handful of new ones with metallics in them. I like the rustic and sparkle mixed together!

On my blue side table, I added two more pumpkins, both older from Hobby Lobby. I am loving the blue with all the orange, brown, and green this year!

A big part of a fall home for me is the candles! This year I bought Autumn, Pumpkin Hayride, and Blueberry Pumpkin Patch from Bath & Body Works. I love them all. Next time you are in there, smell Autumn. It is my favorite this time of year.

I added the fun little EEEEK spider pumpkin from Home Goods this year. A little bit of Halloween mixed in with fall is my preferred. I will pull out a few more spiders and witches in October and then replace those with a few turkeys in November. It is fun to change it up, but also have pumpkins out for 2 full months.

I added two simple printables I found on Pinterest to my entry table. I love all the "Keep Calm" options out there!

Another simple way to decorate, change out your family photos with the seasons. I framed out Abby as a 2 year old in her pumpkin pie dress from Thanksgiving 2010.

This little ledge makes me smile! I owned almost all of these and had them scattered about in years part. As a grouping, they make such an impact on my entryway ledge.

This little girl is new this year. Abby and I found her at Home Goods and we had to have her. I love shopping Home Goods for seasonal decor. They always have unique pieces for very little. I think she was $9.99.

In my formal dining room, I layered an old Pottery Barn runner with some burlap and then my ragamuffin garland I made 4 years ago. I then placed a tray in the center and a large footed bowl inside the tray and filled it with my tiny pumpkins, gourds and acorns.

Finally, I added a little display on the ledge inside my breakfast nook. I found the printable on Pinterest and owned everything else from past years.

Thanks for visiting my fall home. I hope you found an idea or two that you can implement in your house this season.

To see all things fall including decor from past years, click here

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Peanut Butter Pretzel Bites

My daughter has a pretty severe peanut allergy, so we are a peanut free house. But when she stays with my parents, we go all out. Some parents may go to fancy restaurants when alone, we eat all things peanut and peanut butter! I found these on Pinterest and couldn't resist. I seriously need a peanut board :)

Here is the original recipe from Two Tiny Kitchens; however, I will warn you to make the peanut butter filling not stick to your hands, there is a lot of sugar and it gets really sweet. I want to make them next time with just straight up peanut butter in between two pretzels and dipped in chocolate. I think it will be just as good! 

Monday, September 16, 2013

Funfetti Chex Mix and a Winner

Congratulations to Carrie  for winning the Embria seed bracelet from Noonday Collection and my friend Judy. I will be in touch with you and get your bracelet sent out!

Let's celebrate our winner with a fun party food covered in sprinkles!

I love a good chex mix for a party and this one doesn't disappoint. It is easy, tastes great, festive for a birthday and it highly addictive! It uses chex mix, vanilla almond bark, Funfetti cake mix and powdered sugar. I added sprinkles for fun into the melted almond bark for even more FUN!

Check out Six Sisters' Stuff for the full recipe

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Noonday Collection Party and Giveaway!!!

I am so excited to share Noonday Collection with you all and give away an AWESOME bracelet from their catalog to one lucky winner! Isn't this bracelet beautiful. I just love it. Read on and learn how it can be yours!

Have you heard of Noonday before? It is based upon the scripture in Isaiah 58 that says, "... then your light will rise in the darkness and your night will become like the noonday." The founder wanted to live this scripture and started the company to open the worlds, lives, and opportunities for communities living in "darkness". You can watch this video to learn more.

My friend Judy Maguire is a brand new ambassador with Noonday Collection and I want to support her new adventure and the women she is supporting in Ethiopia, Ecuador and Uganda. Do you want to put girls through university in Uganda, empower women in India and transform communities in Ecuador just by purchasing super cute accessories?

Look at these super cute outfits that Judy put together for football season with Noonday accessories made by women in Ethiopia, Ecuador and Uganda ! I am a little partial to the Texas Tech outfit, but I also love the Nebraska scarf and the Texas A&M belt!

I have been carrying the catalogs in my purse for weeks now and find something new I love each time. Here are my very favorites!

I love the floral belt and yellow and gray Scarf. The belt would be super cute with colored skinny jeans and a white t-shirt. The scarf looks so soft! I would love it with a grey sweater, jeans, and TOMS.

I think I have to own this Tassel bracelet! It is so unique and would be cute with turquoise bracelets stacked with it!  I also love the beaded cuff- I think it would give a great pop of color on a simple outfit.

Noonday has lots of earrings, but these Green and gold earrings and sunset beaded earrings were my favorite! They are such a conversation piece and to imagine women hand beading these in another part of the world! It would be such a prompt for prayer when I wear them.

The Gold Chevron necklace is my other must have! I need a trendy long gold necklace to just throw on and it this will go with everything! I also love the colorful beaded necklace and it is only $32! Hooray for that! 

Noonday also has stuff for the home like this colorful dotted Tea towel and these beautiful salad tongs. I need a good pair of salad tongs for when I entertain and have a big beautiful bowl of greens on the table.

If you want to order something, you can easily do that online and Noonday will ship it right to you! Visit to place your order! Just put my name Anna Jenkins in the Trunk Show Host field. 

There are lots of ways to enter to win the contest! If you place an order, be sure to come back and add that into the Rafflecopter giveaway! 

I will draw a winner on September 16th and notify them. Good luck!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

No Bake Raspberry Coconut Balls

These no bake balls were very popular among my grandmother's generation and I can see why. They are quick, easy, and very versatile. I love how brightly colored they are and that you can make them in the summer without heating up the oven!

Raspberry Coconut Balls from The Homesteading Housewife

1 7 oz. package flaked coconut.
1 large box Raspberry jello gelatin
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 small box Raspberry Jello gelatin (for coating finished balls.)

Mix first 4 ingredients together in large bowl. Using wet hands, roll into small balls. Next, roll into small package of Jello powder. I poured the jello into a cereal bowl. Refrigerate in an air-tight container.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Cran-Pistachio Cookies

I made these cookies last week for my husband to share with his customers and oh my heavens, I will be making them again and again and again. They have great flavor, are colorful and are unexpected! I just loved them! They would be great at Christmas time with the chunks of green pistachios and the red cranberries.

Cran-Pistachio Cookies
recipe courtesy of Betty Crocker

1 (1 lb 1.5 ounce) pouch Betty Crocker Sugar Cookie Mix
1 box (4 serving size) pistachio instant pudding and pie filling mix
1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 eggs
1 cup dry roasted salted pistachio nuts, chopped
1/2 cup dried cranberries, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl stir cookie mix, pudding, and flour. Add melted butter and eggs and stir until
incorporated. Add pistachios and cranberries and mix well.

Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto a parchment lined cookie sheet and flatten a little with your fingers.

Bake for 8-10 minutes. They will be slightly brown on the edges and still look light green on top. They are done- I promise. You want them soft and light.

Cool on a wire rack. Store in an airtight container. Makes about 3 dozen cookies

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

No Sew Burlap Football- Fall Front Door Decor

I struggle with what to hang on my front door in September. School has started, so summer is over and summer decor is all faded from the sun. It isn't really fall yet because it is still 100 degrees and pumpkins shouldn't be out in tank top weather. In Texas, September is football season! So, I decided to whip up a little something for my front door is honor of it.

I started with 1 yard of burlap (all of $3.99 at Hobby Lobby) and using a simple Sharpie made the shape of my football and cut it out. You will want to have the burlap foled in half to cut two footballs of the same size (a front and a back). Set aside one piece, it will be the back. Using one piece as the front, I then used my Sharpie to give me a place for the white "stripes" on each end and the cross lines on the top. I just eyeballed it and looked at Google images of footballs.

With my outline in Sharpie, I used white craft paint and filled in my football's details. I used a foam brush and small paintbrush until they were thick enough and had the detail I wanted.

I then went back over it and outlined the white paint with my black Sharpie. It added so much to the simple white paint. It looked much cleaner with the faded white edges outlined in crisp black lines.

Next, I stapled brown tulle to the plain piece of burlap that will serve as the back side. You can use tulle, ribbon, string, whatever you want. Homecoming ribbon usually in stores right now for your local school would be cute!

Next, line up your two piece of burlap with the detailed piece on top and the staples hiding your tulle for hanging on the inside. Using large pins, pin it all around the edge to line it up for stitching. You can trim any excess that doesn't look right at this point. 

Using just a needle and thread, close up your burlap football leaving a small opening for your stuffing. You can stuff this with anything you have- I used quilt batting this time. I have used tissue paper before. Newspaper, old t-shirts, shipping peanuts, it all should work fine. Once it is stuffed, finish "sewing" it shut and knot it up tight at the end.

This is what my hand stitching looked like. I used a large needle and thick brown thread and did a very large in and out of the burlap. Just put the thread through the needle and tie a couple of knots at the end and start at the back and work the needle to the front, back, front, etc. until you are almost done. If you run out of thread, don't worry, just knot up the end and repeat the initial step. If you want it more rustic and done quicker, a stapler will work just fine! Before loading the staples in, use a brown Sharpie to color them. Works perfectly!

 Look at this cute, big and fat football! I love it!

If you want to take it another step, you can add fun ribbons and a bow in your favorite school colors. Think NFL, college alumni, or even the local high school where your kids play! You can also paint on a school logo, name, or your son's football number in the middle.

There are lots of options! This simple method would work for other sports, too. A big orange basketball would look awesome in the winter! We made this one for some friends hosting our Fantasy Football draft party last weekend and added the colors of Purdue University, where he went to school.

It is honestly my favorite season of the year and I am happy my front door is joining in the celebration this year!