Friday Favorites: Voting, Starbucks Drink, Instagram to Pinterest, Abercrombie Pullovers, True Comfort (again) & Pumpkin Squares

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The statement is so true that the days are long but the years (weeks in this case) are short.  I feel like each day this week was pretty darn long, but I am having a hard time believing it is the end of the week, and almost the end of October at that!


I have a handful of favorites to share this week, so I'll get to it!


1.  Voting.  The older I get, the more I understand the importance of voting.  And what is privilege it is to live in a place and in a time where I am able to vote.  I was a little nervous to go vote - I just wasn't sure what to expect, I was a little nervous to see if everyone would be wearing masks/social distancing, and honestly just the weight of this election (although it should be the same for every election - they are all important) was a lot.  It was totally fine, though, and I was in and out within an hour and a half.  It feels so good to have it done, and like everyone, I will anxiously be awaiting the results.  If you haven't had the chance to go vote yet (and are able to do so now), this is just another reminder to do so!



2.  New Starbucks Drink.  I was looking for a non-coffee drink at Starbucks, and decided to try the Caramel Apple Spice.  It was really good.  Just slightly sweeter than your normal apple cider.  I normally decrease the syrup pumps in drinks, both because it can be too sweet for me and also to make it just a tiny bit healthier.  For this drink, I ordered a grande with two pumps of syrup and no whip (whip on apple cider just doesn't sound great to me).  If you are also looking for a non-coffee drink, and want something still festive for the season, this is a good one to try!


3.  Saving Instagram Posts to Pinterest.  It's no secret I am not the most tech savvy person, so I may be late to the game on this one, but did you know you could save instagram posts to Pinterest?!  Jess, @rootsoutwest, shared a little tutorial on how to do this, and it's the easiest thing!  I often will see home posts, or recipe posts on instagram, and wish I could save them somewhere to refer back to.  I know there is the collections option on instagram, but for home/recipes I much prefer Pinterest.  All you have to do is hit the three little dots at the upper right of the picture.  From there, you click share to, and then choose Pinterest.  Easy peasy! 


4.  Abercrombie Pullovers.  For the past year (or two?), I have seen people rave about the asymmetrical fleece pullovers from Abercrombie.  I always thought they were cute, but never ended up buying one for myself.  Until a few weeks ago.  Gosh, I don't know why I waited so long.  I love it.  I think I have worn it almost weekly since purchasing.  I also got a half zip, too.  It reminds me of those Wubby pullovers, but is more flattering in my opinion.  When I tried the Wubby one on, I swear I looked like the abominal snowman.  This one, not so much.  It is very warm, though.  I have started off the day wearing it, only to have to change later on because it was a little too warm.  I know when it hits freezing and below, I am going to be loving it, though! 



5.  True Comfort cookbook.  I know I have mentioned this cookbook over and over on the blog, but it just keeps on being a favorite.  To me, the recipes are much more approachable/doable than her last cookbook, and are more things that sound good to me.  I have said it before, but I am a sucker for comfort food, and this delivers!  

Bonus favorite...

6.  Pumpkin Squares recipe.  I mentioned having pumpkin squares when I was back home last weekend, and there was a comment (Hi Anne!) asking if they were cake like with frosting, or more pie-like with a crumble.  Well, they are cake like with the best cream cheese frosting - you can find the recipe here.  They are just SO good and I always try to have them at least once during the fall season.    

On the blog this week:

Hope you all have a great weekend!

Linking up with Andrea and Erika.

Repost: DIY 'I'm Thankful for...'

 I post this DIY craft a year ago (to the day!), and I wanted to re-share it today.  If anything, I think finding the little things to be thankful for are even more important this year.


From 10/29/2019...


Today I have a fun DIY to share, just in time for Thanksgiving.


For some reason this year, I got a bee in my bonnet about finding a Christmas countdown hanging.  Kind of like an advent calendar but without little treats - more of a countdown.  Something I could hang on the door in my kitchen as decoration, and a fun way to be a bit more festive.  As I was searching for Christmas options, I started thinking about having the same for Thanksgiving.  

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, and I love the idea of thankfulness around it.  The past few years I have been filling out a gratitude journal, and I really feel like it has helped my mindset.  Everyone has a ton of not so good things going on in their life, but focusing on the good, especially the small things, can make a difference.

So, I thought it would be fun to incorporate both a countdown and thankfulness into this DIY project.

Here's what you'll need:
An empty frame
Twine, wire or ribbon
Numbered tags
Small clothespins
A staple gun, glue or tape
2 screw eyes

Here's how to put it together:
Screw in the screw eyes at the top of the frame.  Depending on what your frame is made of, you may need to drill a pilot hole.  Alternatively, you could just tie ribbon around the frame, and forego the screws all together.

Cut four lengths of your twine/wire/ribbon to fit the frame, leaving a bit extra for attaching.

Using a staple gun, glue or tape, attached your twine/wire/ribbon to the side of the frame, leaving equal spaces between the rows.  We used a staple gun, but if you don't have one, I think that you could use glue or tape to secure the twine/wire/ribbon.

Attach your numbered tags to the twine/wire/ribbon using the small clothespins.  I found that if I put the clothespins up and down, they would overlap the above row of tags, which is why I ended up putting them to the side.  Also, for the tags, my mom printed numbers on card stock, then using a tag punch she had, punched them out.  If you have the materials, this is a good option, or could you buy premade tags, and write numbers, or use stickers.

Tie the hanging ribbon through the first screw eye, then loop through the other.  Hold up to see the length you would like it to hang, then tie it off on the other screw eye.  

Add any decorative touches.  My mom had made a tag that said "I am thankful for...' which we attached to the top.  I also think it would be cute to add a little mini garland to the top, or a bunch of leaves, or something for added decor.

Each day in November, write what you are thankful for on the back of the tag, rehanging the tag so that the 'thankful' side shows.  

I really loved how this turned out - it was exactly as I had pictured in my mind!

I can't wait for Friday to start on this, and then for the end of the month, when I can look back on all the little things I was thankful for.

I am curious if you do any type of countdown, or counting of your blessing leading up to Thanksgiving?  I'd love to know - please feel free share in the comments!

Classic Chili Recipe

Today I am sharing my mom's classic chili recipe.  I thought for sure I had shared this recipe on the blog before, but when I went to look it up when making my grocery list, I realized I hadn't.  


This is the chili my mom made for us growing up.  Eating a bowl definitely takes me back to those nights sitting around the kitchen table.


It's your classic red chili with onions, beef, tomato sauce, beans, and of course, seasonings.  It comes together in just a bit over an hour, and the most of that time is spent with it simmering away on the stovetop, giving you a bit of your evening back, while making your house smell oh so good.  And it's absolutely perfect for these chilly, rainy days we have been having!



Classic Chili

1 1/2 pounds ground beef

1 large onion, chopped

1 46 oz. can of tomato juice

3 teaspoons chili powder

1/4 teaspoon cayenne red pepper

1/4 teaspoon paprika

2 16 oz. cans light red kidney beans


Brown meat & onion.

Stir in tomato juice, chili powder, cayenne red pepper, and paprika.

Heat to boiling.

Simmer uncovered for 45 minutes.

Drain & rinse beans.

Add to chili, heating for 15 minutes.


Enjoy!

Weekend Recap: Whirlwind Trip Home

Hey there, long time no blog!  I am still struggling a bit on the blogging consistently front, but hopefully you all will bear with me on that!


This past weekend I took a quick trip home, and was back in St. Louis again in just over 24 hours.  The reason for the trip was to hang out with my parents and my nephews.  The boys were staying there for a few days, and I couldn't say no to the opportunity to see them, and be an extra set of hands to help out my parents.  Bonus, I got to see my grandma, too!


Some of the highlights...


My youngest nephew is talking SO much, and he even says 'Em' now!  It comes out more as 'Eh', but I will take it.  Definitely close enough.


We had some dance parties...the boys are quite the country music fans.  Plus a little 'wheels on the bus', and 'pumpkins on the gate' thrown in there, too.


As I mentioned, my grandma visited for a few hours, too.  I miss her hugs so much, but I am so happy to be able to see her in person.


Even though it was chilly, we did get outside for a bit.  This tree had all the fall colors going, and it was nice to get that fresh air.  Plus we had to check out the Halloween blow up next door.  I feel like more and more people decorate the outside of their houses for Halloween and it's so fun!



We attempted to check out a local drive thru fall fest, but the line was long and we all were getting a bit too hungry to wait.  I think we made the right choice, because it sounded like people were in line for hours!  


I always eat well when back home - my mom made her chicken noodle soup for lunch (and pumpkin squares!), we had my favorite local pizza, Mario's, for dinner and to go with eggs and bacon Sunday morning, we had houska for toast.  If you aren't familiar, it's a Czech bread that has raisins and sliced almonds in it...it's so darn good.


And just like that, I was headed back to St. Louis.  I did normal weekend stuff when I got home, and got to watching some Hallmark Christmas movies.  Countdown to Christmas started this weekend, and my DVR is already full with a few new movies, as well as some of the old ones I haven't seen before.  The end of the evening came all too soon.  


Ready or not, the new week is here, and it's going to be a busy one.  But hopefully a good one, too.


Linking up with Lindsay.

Prime Day Purchases: 2020

This post may contain affiliate links, meaning that any clicks/purchases may result in a small commission at no additional cost to you.


With Amazon Prime Day continuing today, I thought I would share the few purchases I made yesterday. 


Digital Thermometer - $15.  Once COVID hit, I realized I didn't have a thermometer.  I have obviously been a little slow on the take to get one, seeing as we are 8 months into this, but I figure better late than never!  I originally saw this on Andrea's blog, added it to my wish list, then added it to the cart when saw that it was a Prime Day Deal.  It has a ton of good reviews (in addition to Andrea's), and at $15, I felt it was too good to pass up. 


 Air Fryer - $79.99.  This isn't a Prime Day Deal, but it is on sale.  At the time I bought it, it was $20 off, which has changed just a bit, because as I type this, it's $16 off.  I had been wanting to try an air fryer for awhile, and this one caught my eye when I saw that it was a Prime Day Deal in red.  It was sold out when I saw it, but I figured since it was still on sale I would give it a try!


Levi 721 High Rise Skinny Jeans - Prices range with color/size.  I purchased these jeans during the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale for twice the amount.  They have since become my favorite jeans, and I thought it might be a good idea to have two pairs to spread out the wear and tear.

I am still pretty new to Prime Day...I think this is the first time I really shopped it.  I think it can be pretty overwhelming, given all the different deals to be had.  But there is also a ton of coverage, so that definitely helps!  While there are a bunch more accounts, the three I kept checking back in with throughout the day for updates on deals were: 

1) The Babbling Blondes (local gals!)

2) Honey We're Home

3) Lindsay's Sweet World


Did you make any Prime Day purchases yesterday?  If you found a good deal, I'd love to hear about it!


Linking up with Lindsay.


Favorite Crockpot Recipes: 2020

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I am a big fan of my crockpot - I feel like it makes life so much easier.  Even if the full meal isn't made in the crockpot, at least a portion of it is, which again, makes life so much easier!  I have a good amount of go-to crockpot recipes, and I feel like I add at least one or two more each year...hence the reason it feels like I do this post each year!


If you are in the market for a good crockpot, I upgraded mine this year.  I was having issues with my old one running extremely hot, and this KitchenAid one was said to be the most consistent heat-wise, exactly what I was looking for.  Plus, the price was right, coming in about mid-range (found the best price at Bed, Bath & Beyond), and more so with the 20% coupon that always seems to be available there.


Here are my favorites:

Beef & Noodles.  This one comes from my childhood, and is probably the first crockpot recipe I ever made!  My mom got me and my brother these little crockpots when we were in college (he may have been just graduated) and at the time, I think this was the one thing I knew to make in it.  That crockpot has been a work horse over the years...I still pull it out when I don't need my big one!  But back to the recipe - this is so darn easy, you only need a handful of ingredients and it is absolutely perfect for a chilly evening.  To be honest, I eat it year round...sometimes you need a little comfort food even in the heat of summer.


Crockpot Shredded Chicken.  If you have any recipe that needs shredded chicken, this is a great way to make it.


Shredded Crockpot Buffalo Chicken.  I have been making this recipe for years.  It's the easiest thing - literally 3 ingredients.  You can scale it for a larger group, making it great for a get together.


Andrea's Pulled Pork from Mix & Match Mama.  Another delicious and ridiculously easy recipe.  And so versatile.  It's perfect in a sandwich, by itself, in a quesadilla, served over rice...the options are plentiful!

Easy Healthier Crockpot Butter Chicken from Half Baked Harvest.  While you may need to stock up on some ingredients you don't use on a regular basis (unless you cook Indian food often!), it's completely worth it for this recipe.  It's warm and comforting and just so good.  And the smells are amazing, too!

Chicken A La King from Mix & Match Mama.  I love the peas and corn mixed in with this chicken.  And you can't skip the biscuit part...everything together is just so darn good!



Persian Inspired Herb and Beef Stew with Rice from Half Baked Harvest.  Somehow this stew is both hearty and light.  You are eating comfort food, that is for sure, but it's not too heavy at all.  I would recommend getting those squeeze herbs to make this recipe just a bit easier.  And if you are cooking for 2 or less, I would recommend halving it - it makes a ton!  
 
If you have a favorite crockpot recipe, please send my way!  My friend Jess, who blogs over at Roots Out West, just put together a post that compiles reader favorites...definitely going to be giving some of those a try!

Linking up with Lindsay.

Friday Favorites: Family, Running & Nordstrom Sale Items

This post may contain affiliate links, meaning that any clicks/purchases may result in a small commission at no additional cost to you.


Hi there, happy Friday!  My mind is still blown that it is already October.  Even though we are still in the middle of a global pandemic, time does not stand still, that is for sure!


Going to keep it short and sweet today - here are some favorites from the week...


1.  Phone calls with my brother.  If you have read here for long, then you know how incredibly important my family is to me.  I talk to my brother on a relatively regular basis, obviously sometimes more than others depending on what each other has going on, but still pretty regularly.  Usually it's over FaceTime, because then I get to see my nephews.  Which I absolutely love, because, duh, I love those boys SO MUCH!  But every so often we talk, just the two of us, and it's nice to catch up and talk about different things going on.  We had one of those calls this week and it really was one of the highlights of my week.  And made me very grateful that we have that type of relationship with each other!


2.  Running.  For the past few months I have been slowly but surely getting back into running.  This week I finally graduated myself from the walk + runs on the Peloton app to doing a fun run.  I still walked a tiny bit, but the majority of the time was spent running, and it felt like a great accomplishment!  


3.  Nordstrom Anniversary Sale items back on sale.  Nordstrom has quite a few of the items I purchased during the Anniversary Sale, back on sale right now.  

Topshop Stripe Crewneck Sweater (on sale for $40.80).  When I ordered this sweater, it was more on a whim than anything.  I didn't have high hopes for it.  Well, I was wrong!  It's incredibly soft, incredibly warm, and soooo pretty.  I will say, while the name of it says crewneck, it's more of a mockneck, which you can see in the picture.


Steve Madden Nadalie Pointed Toe Bootie (on sale for $69.90).  I purchased these in black earlier in the year.  I feel like they have a really classic look.  I like the fact that the heel is wrapped - just adds a little something extra to the overall look of the shoe, and makes it easy to dress up!

Steve Madden Kaylah Pointed Toe Bootie (on sale for $79.90).  I broke these booties out for the first time this week (big outing at Target!) and can't wait to wear them again.  The notch adds some interest, and also I think some comfort to the shoe.  Another classic option I plan to wear for seasons to come.

Steven Madden Feather Genuine Calf Hair Loafer (on sale for $44.98).  I have always liked the loafer trend, and a good leopard print shoe.  These are really comfortable, and fit extremely well.  I feel like some loafers can hit funny, and then bend and gap oddly when you walk, but these hit at the perfect spot on the top of the foot and don't gap like that all.  The sole is super cushy, too.  I wore them out this week (another big outing - the eye doctor!) and like with the booties, can't wait to break them out again!

Levi 721 High Waist Skinny Jeans (on sale for $68.60).  Ever since I bought these during the sale, I have not worn another pair of jeans.  They are super stretchy, more like a jegging material which makes them ridiculously comfortable.  Another thing that makes them really comfortable is the high waist.  It truly is high waist, so there will be no need for tugging on them, or adjusting the waist as you move around.  Really, really, really love these jeans.

On the blog this week:

Linking up with Andrea and Erika.