Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Vanilla-Brown-Sugar Body Scrub

Each year I strive to make homemade gifts. Not sure if you remember, but last year I made caramel popcorn and honey cinnamon butter. This year I made a body scrub. Vanilla-Brown-Sugar body scrub to be exact. It's super easy to make and all the ingredients come from the kitchen. I was pleasantly surprised at how soft it made my skin. I bought the little jars from amazon and 1 batch filled 7 1/2 jars.

2 cups of brown sugar
1 cup of granulated sugar
1 tablespoon of vanilla
1 cup of sesame or sunflower oil

Begin by mixing all of the sugar together until there are no lumps. Add in 1 cup of sunflower or sesame oil and 1 tablespoon of vanilla [I like to use sunflower or sesame oil for this body scrub because it does not carry the strong scent that olive oil does].

I added some ribbon and a tag and it was ready to go.

You can use on your hands, feet, elbows, legs, or anywhere really.

Happy exfoliating!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Peanut-Butter-Stuffed Ginger Cookies

When I saw this recipe in the latest Rachel Ray magazine, I couldn't wait to try it. For some reason, we've found favor in ginger snaps recently, so I couldn't wait to make this rendition with a surprise middle.

We have been trying to be intentional about starting traditions for the two of us. We're making progress, slowly but surely.

We go out to breakfast every year on our anniversary
We get a real Christmas tree every year (and have actually gone to the same place all 4 years)
We exchange gifts on Christmas Eve (that started back in high school)
We just added another one...baking a new cookie every year. So I was proud to document it.

Anyone else have special traditions?
Happy cookie baking!
If you're interested in the recipe, [click here]

Sunday, December 18, 2011

A Christmas Sign

I'm excited to share my first project in about 5 months. I wanted to display a Bible verse depicting the true meaning of Christmas, the birth of Christ. Don't get me wrong, I love my Christmas tree and glitz and glam decor, but it's easy to get lost in it all. I'm thankful for the birth of Jesus, his living testimony, and his death on a cross that paid for my sin. 

Back to the sign...
I mod podged book pages to a piece of cardboard I already had.

I didn't take pictures of each step, but after it dried overnight...

  • I used stamps to print on the Bible verse
  • bought wood from Home Depot
  • glued the wood together (it was very light particle wood)
  • spray painted the frame red
  • attached the cardboard to the frame
  • attached a mounting bracket to the frame
  • hung it up
Please bear with the lighting and photos. It's not near any windows and it was difficult to fit into one photo and still see the details... 

Right side

Left Side

The verse reads, all this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet, "the virgin will conceive and give birth to a son and they will call him Immanuel." Matthew 1:22-23

Here's the best all-in-one-photo I could get. (taken at night, poor quality)

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Crispy Peanut Butter Cups

I should be grading but instead I'm here blogging. I guess that never-ending stack of papers in my bag can wait.

Anyway, this past weekend my college roomies came for a visit. Twas a great time. We made these delicious sweet treats...

If you're a chocolate peanut better fan, you'll love them. Very rich but a great combo.

Recipe here.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Christmas Card Display

Last Christmas, Tommy and Katie bought me a black shutter.  Between not having the time and debating what do with it (for months), its been left untouched. It has such a rustic feel and I finally found a use for it.

While looking for a place to display our Christmas cards, I got an idea. Using twine and hooks I already had, I whipped a little somethin' together.
Did you notice sweet Aubrey and my brother on their Christmas card?
Now, if I get more than three cards, I'd be all set.

I've got two more posts schedule for this week, hopefully I'll get them done to share.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

another great thanksgiving

There's nothing quite like the Hessen gang. Our house is officially a zoo. When we're all home the house sleeps 8 adults and 2 kids. Lots of noise, food, fun, and family. I'm grateful to be part of such a great family.

I'm relearning to play the piano. Just have to remember the left hand notes.

Another great Thanksgiving down in the books. Ready for the next big holiday.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

i'm alive

Wow. It has been a crazy few months. I hate that I'm two days away from not blogging for an entire month. Between teaching, migraines, report cards, grad class, parent conferences, and my final project I've been working nonstop. My class ended last week but the insanity continues as I started a new class this week.  It's through God's strength and patience I accomplish it all. Among the chaos, I'm grateful for a supportive family and husband.

Last weekend we had a blast. It was the first weekend since August that I didn't have homework or grading and the first Saturday since July JD had off. Friday night we went out with his company to celebrate the release of Skyrim. [check out the live action trailer]. It's finally ready for release.

On Saturday we spent the day with my brother and Katie. The boys played paintball and Katie and I hung out with the kids.


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Lasagna Rolls

Okay, so I promise this is not turning into a food blog. But all I have time for these days is work, class, homework, grading, and cooking. I've had the same project on my to do list since school started and just can't find a moment to get it done. Maybe soon? Probably not.

Anyway, until I get my more-exciting-project-grove back, here's another recipe:

It's quick, easy, low-cal, and goooood.

Healthy Spinach Lasagna Rolls  [recipe here]

I forgot to mention the BEST part. Many of you know JD has been perfecting the latest and greatest video game about to be released next month. Which means he's MIA frequently. This week he's been granted normal hours and we actually got to cook and eat a meal together. It was joyous.

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Sunday, October 9, 2011

Halloween Bark

The only draw back to reading food blogs is discovering the many calorie-loaded, oh-that-looks-so-good, sweet treat recipes. Some I just stare at and attempt to taste through the computer but some suck me in and before I know it, all the ingredients find their way onto my grocery list.

When this Halloween Bark flashed up in my blog reader, it enticed me, and the rest is history. Seriously, who doesn't love a festive treat?

Oreos (Halloween oreos if possible)
Candy Corn
White Chocolate Chips-14 oz. bag

It's simple. Cover a 13-by-9 inch pan with wax paper. Crush 14 oreos and 6 large pretzels (or as many as you like) and lay out on pan. Toss on some candy corn.

Melt half of the chocolate chips in the microwave for 1 minute. Stir and drizzle on top. Melt remaining chocolate chips and cover second half of pan. I melt half of the bag at a time to avoid the chocolate cooling off. It is much easier to spread/cover when hot. Cover with a bit more candy corn and sprinkles.


Set in the refrigerator until firm. Break into pieces and store in air-tight container.

[Original Recipe here]

Thursday, September 29, 2011

YUM...fall food

My pumpkins are out, the weather is beginning to cool, and school has been in session for over a month. Fall has arrived. I've also read about everyone indulging in pumpkin spice lattes on facebook. Guess their quite the hit!? Even while working at Starbucks for a few months, I never tried one. Now that I have completely eliminated coffee and espresso in attempt to tame these wild migraines, I'll take your word. They must be goooood.

On to other things, I've got 2 recipes to share.

I'm all about simple meals during the week. My goal is a 20 minute or less prep time. My tired teaching legs can't take much more. Earlier this week I made Creamy Corn Chowder [recipe here]. It was quick to make and oh so divine. It's healthy too.

My second recipe is a dessert. I'm not one for pies but JD loves pie. Bake a pie was on my summer to do list and never happened. So when this recipe showed up in my blog reader, I was eager to give it a try.

Peach Crumble Pie [recipe here]

This did NOT take 20 minutes or less and more like an hour in prep time. It was peeling all those peaches. I even bought a pre-made graham cracker crust.

Sorry the lighting is bad. Not to be prideful but this was delicious. I totally recommend this recipe. My first pie was a success!

If I get around to it, I'll show you my fall decor. In the meantime, check out last years.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Pinterest Inspiration

Like so many of you, I find myself on Pinterest pinning away recipes, home ideas, fashion ideas, and whatever else strikes my fancy. The other day I stumbled upon this picture:

I loved the addition of the broach. I already own a yellow scarf and was eager to recreate this look. One problem, I didn't own a broach.

Well, after showing this picture to mom and mentioning that I wanted a broach, she went out and got me got me one. She's amazing and found the perfect one. It's magnetic. So cool.

Thanks mom. I love the broach and the extra jazz it added to my outfit.

In case you like the twisted scarf, follow these steps:
  • Fold scarf in half. 
  • Loop around neck. 
  • Pull only one strand of the scarf through the loop. 
  • Twist loop, then pull other strand through.
Have you caught the Pinterest bug? 

Sunday, September 18, 2011


How's everyone doing? Are you loving this fall weather? Soaking up the NFL games?

Today we planned on going on our annual fall shopping trip, but I was hit with another migraine and have been stuck on the couch. I tried my best to pull it together but after getting ready for 5 minutes realized I could barely stand up, let alone go shopping.
JD doesn't seem to mind. He's watching football.

With my dad's help we got our TV hung and we love it.  It looks off center in this picture, but I promise it's not, must have been the angle. I added the mini pumpkins for a little fall fun.

My mom also came this weekend. She helped me clean, grade papers, and took us out for dinner. I love her visits.
Even though I've been on the couch all day, I can't complain about spending time with my man.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

What's for dinner?

I have 3 great, quick, and easy recipes to share. I stumbled upon this blog and love it!

Healthy Three Cheese Chicken Penne Pasta Bake
It's quite the name but delicious and healthy.

Chicken and Black Bean Enchilada
Another quick dinner that was super goooood. 

Taco Pasta
A nice twist on mexican.
The desserts she makes look amazing too.
Anyone else slaving away in the kitchen?

Friday, September 2, 2011

Cookie dough anyone?

It has been a crazy week. The first day of school was Monday followed by a three hour grad class in Baltimore. My kids seem great, and I'm looking forward to a great year. That being said, I'm still adjusting to the 6 am wake up call, early bedtime, and work load.

To ease the transition, I decided to make these:
Cookie dough balls truffles. JD loves cookie dough and wants to bake cookies just to lick the bowl. Ever since I stumbled upon this recipe, I couldn't get them out of my mind.

Luckily, I had everything on hand and whipped these together this week. Recipe found [here]. I only made half the recipe which resulted in about 20 truffles.

The result? Delicious. If you're a cookie dough fan, this is your kind of dessert. 

So there you have it. Perfection in a ball truffle.

Have a great holiday weekend!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Vintage calendar turned artwork

Before finishing my bookshelf, I started another project. Call me crazy but I'm trying to cram everything in before school starts...which is tomorrow.

A few weeks ago at Borders I bought a vintage calendar (not an old calendar but a new 2012 calendar full of vintage prints). I bought it for the sole purpose of making artwork. After thinking about it for two more weeks, I finally had a plan.

Before I give you the step-by-step process, here is the final result...

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After looking for frames at multiple stores, I came up empty handed. Nothing was the right size or had the 'old' look to match the vintage prints. So, I decided to make my own.

They turned out better than what I envisioned, but it was a long 8 hours of sanding, gluing, drilling, painting, more standing, cutting, gluing, and taping. Then I repeated the entire process again and again (I made a total of three frames).

Other than being time consuming, they were actually pretty simple to make. Here's how.

Before I started, I headed to Home Depot and bought a piece of long, cheap wood (and had it cut to size in the store), L brackets (3 sets of 4), black spray paint, and picture hooks. I already had primer and sandpaper (80 and 150 grit).

Step 1-Sanding
Sand the wood. First with a rougher paper, then a finer one.
Step 2-Assemble 
Pre-drill L bracket holes

Reinforce with wood glue
Attach L brackets on all 4 corners
Step 3- Painting & De-stressing
Prime wood with white primer (sorry no picture)
Spray paint wood (I used three very thin coats to avoid drips) allowing 20ish minutes in between coats. The coats were thin and outside in the heat so they dried quickly.

After the paint was dry, I went back with sandpaper to de-stress the frame. I sanded along the edges and corners where it would most likely age naturally.

Step 4 Attaching foam board and picture
I was so eager to finish, I forgot to take photos of the final steps (oops)

I cut a black piece of foam board (from Michaels) into rectangles that were larger than the opening. Using hot glue, I glued the foam board to the back of the frame. After it was dry (10 minutes), I used double-sided permanent tape to tape the picture to the front of the foam board.

Now they are hanging proudly in the kitchen. To get a sense of where they are, when you walk into the kitchen it looks like this...

The oven is on the right and the pictures are right across from the island on the left.

I love the end product and the vibe it adds to the kitchen.