Saturday, August 24, 2013

My Favorite Etsy Sellers - Part 1

Etsy is such a great place to find anything and everything unique, handmade, upcycled, creative and fun. I love supporting artists and small businesses. I can (and have) spent hours just going through listings and adding things to my wish list that I didn't even know I wanted or needed.

I've compiled a list of my favorite Etsy sellers. These are all shops that I have personally purchased from and loved their products.

Custom House Portraits by Patty Fleckenstein 

Patty creates amazing pen and ink watercolor portraits of your home. I purchased a gift card for one of her paintings for my in-laws for Christmas and Patty was great about answering questions and sending out the gift card so it made it in time for Christmas. I am so excited to see what the finished product will look like.

Sofie hand crafts amazing one of kind sculptures of creatures and animals out of polymer clay. Her attention to detail is amazing. She created a custom cake topper of 2 ferrets for my best friend's wedding and it was beautiful. The bride loved it! 

How adorable are these Siamese cats? I love that they even have individual little whiskers.

I've been seeing Foxes pop up in home decor, clothing and prints everywhere. This pair would be perfect as a cake topper or displayed in a collection. 

I worked with Liv from Belle announcements to create invitations for Rini's 2nd Birthday Party. She was super helpful and had a quick turnaround time. She has a ton of options for invitations, announcements and more. 
These wedding or rehearsal invitations have a trendy look and are customizable with your wedding colors. 

I love the idea of hosting a football themed gender reveal party! So many possibilities for decor, favors, games, etc. If I was ever to have another baby (which is NOT happening) I would totally do this! 

All opinions are my own. I was not paid to write these reviews, these are just sellers that I have worked with and loved. I hope you do too!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Aislinn Irene

Things have been a little crazy the past few months here on Colgate. We’ve seen a job promotion, potty training, two weddings, a camping trip, multiple house projects, the loss of one of our dogs and most importantly we have a brand new addition to our family.

Introducing Aislinn Irene
Born May 13th at 12:46 pm
7lbs 6oz and 19.75 inches of pure joy
We are all crazy in love especially big sister

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Banana Coconut Muffins

I make a batch of muffins about once a month. I usually freeze half of the batch so we have some quick grab and go breakfasts in the freezer. These muffins have a delicate coconut banana flavor and they are not overly sweet. The whole wheat flour and coconut oil make them a healthy alternative to sugary cereal or pastries. 

Banana Coconut Muffins
(Adapted from How Sweet Eats)


  • 1 2/3 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup organic cane sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup canned coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 4 bananas, mashed
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon coconut extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray muffin tins with nonstick spray. In a small bowl combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl whisk together eggs, sugar and honey until smooth. Add in coconut milk and coconut oil, mixing until combined. Stir in bananas and extracts. Slowly stir in dry ingredients until just combined. Divide batter between muffins tins - the recipe made 12 large muffins for me but will vary depending on the size of your tins. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick insterted in center comes out clean and the tops are lightly browned. Cool and enjoy!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Whole Wheat Pizza Dough in the Bread Machine

Our family loves to eat pizza. It is such a versatile food that it seems we never run out of combinations for toppings, sauce and cheese. We eat it at least once per week. Having a recipe for a good, easy pizza dough is essential for any home cook. I'm not a big fan of having to knead dough by hand so I use my bread machine to mix this up and it comes out great!

Whole Wheat Pizza Dough in The Bread Machine


  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons of yeast
  • 2 1/4 cups of whole wheat flour
  • 2 tablespoons of vital gluten
  • 1 teaspoon of honey
  • 3/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
Combine all ingredients in pan of bread machine in order listed by manufacturer - my bread machine calls for wet ingredients followed by dry ingredients with the yeast added last. Run machine on dough cycle. When cycle is complete use dough to make your favorite pizza recipe! 

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

What Rini Wore

I've been trying to take more pictures of Rini, it seems I do well for a few months and then I inevitably slack off and will find that I have only taken a hand full of photos over the course of the month. It really helps that she loves having her picture taken now. She is such a ham and will say "Cheeeese!" over and over for me. It's much nicer than the months of camera hating that we went through starting with her birthday over the summer and ending right after we had our family photos done in November. She would put her hand up and yell "NO pictures" every time the camera was brought out. 

Cardigan - Baby Gap
Dress - Hand me down
Tights - Babies R US
Converse - Kohls

I found these frog rain boots at a local thrift store last week and she has been in love with them ever since. She will even wear them with her pajamas.

Cardigan - The Children's Place
Dress - Old Navy (hand me down)
Boots - Target (thrifted)

Rini loves to play dress up. On this particular day we went through 4 different "princess" dresses over the course of the afternoon. This is her "Cinda-yella" dress.

Dress - Costco (gift)
Arm Warmers - Baby Legs

We attended a Valentine's Day party with our local mom's group last week and I forgot my camera but I did get a quick picture of her with my phone. 

Cardigan - The Children's Place
Shirt, Skirt and Tights - Kohls
Shoes - Payless

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

What Rini Wore

These are a few of the outfits Rini has worn over the last couple weeks. Now that she is a little older (2.5 yesterday!) she has started having more of an opinion on what she wears and what she likes and doesn't like. Her new favorite shoes are her rainboots and she loves anything pink. I love to dress her in cute clothes but I don't like to spend a lot of money. Thrift stores, Ebay, Kohls and Old Navy are our go to stores for her clothes. 

Sweater - The Children's Place
Dress - Hand me down that was dyed black
Tights - Ebay
Boots - Kohls

Rini loves to play dress up and her favorite character is Belle from Beauty and the Beast. She wears this dress at least a few times a month. She is also loving purses and accessories. I gave her a few of my old purses and some bracelets I don't wear anymore and she was in heaven!

Dress - Belle Halloween Costume

Adidas Track Suit - Costco (gift)
Chucks - Converse Outlet

Shirt and tights - Kohls
Skirt - Old Navy (thrifted)
Rain Boots - Baby Gap (thrifted)

Shirt - Wal-Mart
Skirt - Old Navy (thrifted)
Tights - Ebay
Rain Boots - Baby Gap (thrifted)

Monday, January 28, 2013

Homemade Yellow Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting

I have a big sweet tooth. I LOVE dessert. Cakes, pies, cookies, brownies. You name it, I love it. Combine my love of dessert with being pregnant and you get intense "I NEED IT NOW!" cravings for something sweet. Last week I really wanted a cupcake but it was Monday. The two "good" bakeries near my house are both closed on Mondays so I decided to take matters into my own hands and make cupcakes. These cupcakes were moist and the addition of the homemade chocolate frosting made them rich and decadent. I was a very happy pregnant woman! 

Yellow Cupcakes


2 cups cake flour (I didn't have cake flour so I subbed AP flour and they still came out great)
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
3 eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla
3/4 cup whole milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. Using a mixer cream butter and sugar on high speed until fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each one. Add the vanilla and mix to combine. Now alternate adding dry ingredients and milk in three batches, mixing well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix one final time. Fill paper lined muffin tins 3/4 full with batter. Bake for 20-22 minutes or until cake is done but not brown. Cool before frosting. 

Chocolate Frosting
Adapted from Allrecipes


1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup whole milk
2 1/2 cups confectioners sugar

In a large bowl beat butter and cocoa together until combined. Add milk and vanilla, beat until smooth. Gradually beat in confectioners sugar until desired consistency is reached. Adjust with more milk or confectioners sugar if necessary. Frost cupcakes. 

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Crock Pot Lemon Chicken and Brown Rice Soup

We are admittedly not big soup lovers but when the weather gets frigid like it has been lately a nice bowl of soup is the perfect thing to warm you up. I saw this recipe on Sweet Anna's and I was intrigued by the addition of lemon to chicken soup. My husband loved the flavor of this and has actually requested that I make it again. This is big. He claims to hate soup so I am glad that I have at least one cheap, easy and delicious soup recipe that he enjoys. 

1 small onion, diced
2 large carrots, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups leftover cooked chicken (or raw boneless breast or thighs!)
8 cups chicken stock
salt & pepper, to taste
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4-1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons fresh parsley
2 cups cooked brown rice
juice of two large lemons

Dump everything but the rice into the slow cooker.  Cook on low for 6 hours or until veggies are tender. To serve place cooked rice in bowl and ladle soup over. Enjoy!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Super Easy French Bread In the Bread Machine

I love my bread machine. I use it multiple times a week. I'm all about saving money and cooking from scratch and my bread machine helps me achieve that quickly and easily. I actually bought mine used at the thrift store for $7 or $8 and it has been going strong for over a year. Most of the time I use it to make dough and then bake the final product in the oven. I like having more control over the cooking process and find my bread comes out fluffier and it rises better vs when I cook it in the bread machine.

This recipe for French Bread is super easy (hence the title) and it is really tasty. Rini and Charlie love eating it hot out of the oven slathered with butter. I like to use it to make French Bread Pizza or sandwiches.

Recipe from
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 4 Cups Bread Flour (I use half unbleached AP flour and half whole wheat)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Salt
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons Yeast

Add Ingredients to the pan in the order listed by the manufacturer of your bread machine (mine calls for wet ingredients first followed by the dry ingredients). Run machine on the dough cycle. Shape dough into 2 long skinny loaves and place on a greased baking sheet. Cut slits in the top of dough and allow to rise, covered, in a warm place for about 30 minutes. Brush the top of each loaf with egg white and bake at 350 degrees for 25-35 minutes (loaf is done when light golden brown) 

Friday, January 18, 2013

Apple Cheddar Cranberry Turkey Meatballs

This recipe combine two of my favorite things - meatballs and Thanksgiving or at least flavors that are reminiscent of Thanksgiving. We are not big fans of ground turkey in this house as it is usually dry and not as flavorful as beef. However Whole Foods carries all dark meat ground turkey and it was great in this recipe. This is one of my husbands favorites although the toddler was not a fan of "raisins" in her meatballs. 2 year olds are tough critics.

  • 1 1/2 pounds ground turkey (I used dark meat)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tsp dried or fresh minced onion
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 green apple, shredded
  • 1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened dried cranberries
  • 3/4 cup apple juice
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
  • dash of crushed red pepper flakes
  • cracked black pepper to taste
  • 2 teaspoons cold water
  • 2 teaspoons corn starch


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl mix all the meatball ingredients until thoroughly combined. Shape into golf ball sized meatballs and place onto a greased cookie sheet. Cook for 25-30 minutes or until meatballs are browned and cooked through. Toss cooked meatballs in the glaze and serve. 

For the glaze: Mix together cornstarch and cold water until smooth, set aside. Combine remaining ingredients in small sauce pan over medium heat. When glaze starts to bubble whisk in cornstarch slurry and stir rapidly. When glaze is desired consistency remove from heat. Serve over meatballs. 

Monday, January 14, 2013

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake

Is there any better flavor combination than peanut butter and chocolate? In this house we tend to think not. When I saw this recipe I knew that it would be a hit with my family and it did not disappoint. The cake is super moist and the chocolate/pb glaze gives it a little extra shot of flavor. 

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake

(Slightly Adapted from


  • 2-1/4 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup peanut butter (I prefer chunky)
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1-1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup peanut butter
  • 1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 12-inch Bundt pan.
In large bowl combine all ingredients except chocolate chips and beat on low speed until combined; then beat three minutes at medium speed. By hand, stir in 1/2 cup chocolate chips. Spoon batter into pan.
Bake at 350 degrees for 55-65 minutes until set, brown, and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then loosen edges and turn pan onto serving plate. Cool completely, then frost.
To make frosting - In a double boiler melt 1-1/2 cups chocolate chips with 1/3 cup peanut butter, stirring until smooth. Spoon over cake.