Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

It's hard to believe that 2013 is already ending.  I tried explaining it to my toddler this morning and she wasn't too impressed since it didn't involve presents.  ;)

2013 has been a great year.  I finally got First Sight released in paperback, a dream I've had for a long time.  I've read lots of great Chick Lit, made friends with other authors, and even had Sophie Kinsella reply to one of my tweets. (Yes, I'm still excited about that!)

I've expanded my blog, which started out strictly focused on Chick Lit and Independent Publishing, and included posts on Fashion, Recipes, Kid's Corner, and more!

I'm looking forward to lots of writing projects in 2014, more blogging, and of course reading many more great books.

Wishing you a very Happy New Year!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Rudolph Handprints

Today we made Rudolph handprints...complete with lots of extra glue!
We used googly eyes and pom poms to decorate our Rudolph. You could easily just use paint if you don't have the other supplies.
These make cute gifts as well!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Kid's Corner: Pinecone Ornaments and the Best $1 I Ever Spent

Are you looking for an easy ornament to make with your kiddos this Christmas?  Pinecone ornaments are so simple and fun for the little ones.
 


 
 
Supplies Needed:
Pinecones
Glue
Small pompoms
Ribbon
 
 
If your child is old enough, they can glue on the pompoms themselves.  If they are really little, put a little glue on the pinecone yourself and instruct them where to place each pompom.  Tie a ribbon on when you are done and hang from your tree!
 
 
 
So what is the best $1 that I ever spent? 
 
I found this penguin advent calendar in the $1 section at Target.  It is numbered 1-25, with the idea of gluing on one cotton ball each day (included in the craft).  My preschooler doesn't have the patience for only gluing on one per day, so she glued them all on in one sitting.  We talked about numbers, practiced our counting, and she got to glue to her heart's content.  She also colored the face of the penguin.  She was happy, and I was happy that I'd managed to entertain her for over an hour on a craft I only paid $1 for!
 

 
 

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Kid's Corner: Christmas Sensory Bin

I started seeing cute pictures of sensory bins all over Pinterest this summer and couldn't wait to make one for DD.  These are a great way to entertain a toddler or preschooler.  I made a summer and fall sensory bin, and they were such a hit that I've created a Christmas sensory bin as well!



Supplies Needed:
Plastic bucket or bin (This is actually a plastic ice tub)
Small shovel or scoop
Plastic cups or bowls (these were from Easter last year!)
Green and red dyed pasta
Pinecones
Small ornaments
Glass gems
Christmas toys (I used a reindeer rubber ducky)


I dyed pasta using food coloring, but I've seen others where they used Kool-Aid as dye instead.



 
 
The ornaments I found in the $1 section of Target.  They are plastic, so I don't have to worry about them breaking.
 
 



The glass gems are the standard vase filler found at craft supply stores.  Obviously don't include those if your kiddo still puts things in his or her mouth!  The pinecones were extras that I had.  The rubber ducky reindeer was another find from the $1 section.

Add a scoop and cups, and your kiddo will love to sort, scoop, and discover!

 

The best part is that this will literally keep my kiddo entertained for over an hour.  I don't keep it with the rest of her toys but bring it out from time-to-time to make it extra special.  I'm looking forward to creating a winter-themed sensory bin in January!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Winter Meals: Crock Pot Shepherd's Pie

If you saw my post on Facebook yesterday, you know my house was filled with the amazing scent of Shepherd's Pie all afternoon.  This is a great recipe for cold winter's days, and there is enough for leftovers the next night, too!
 
Ingredients
2 lb ground beef
2 onions, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
10 oz sliced mushrooms
3 garlic gloves, minced
1 tsp thyme
1 can tomato paste
1 can chicken broth
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 cup of frozen peas
3 cups mashed potatoes
1 cup shredded cheddar
 
 
1) Fully cook beef in skillet and transfer to crock pot.
 
 
 

 
 
 
2. Sautee onions, carrots, mushrooms, garlic, and thyme in pan until vegetables are softened, about 8 to 10 minutes.
 

 
 
 
3. Stir in tomato paste.
 
 
4. Add chicken broth.
 
 
 
5. Transfer to crock pot,  Cover and cook 6 to 8 hours on low or 3 to 5 hours on high.
 
6. Stir in peas and spoon mashed potatoes over beef filling, smoothing them over with a spatula.
 
 
 
7. Top with shredded cheddar.

 
 
8. Cover and cook 20 to 30 minutes until potatoes are heated through and cheese is melted.
 
9. Enjoy!
 
 

Monday, December 9, 2013

Fashion Forward Monday: Winter Boots

Happy December!

I've been so busy with the holidays and various other writing projects that I've gotten behind with blogging.  I've got posts coming up all week though, so be sure to check back!

It has been cold around here with our first actual snowfall of the season over the weekend!  Although I have heavy-duty, waterproof boots perfect for DC snowstorms, I love having a warm cozy pair to slip into as well.

Check out these suede boots from Target, a steal at only $28!

Women's Xhiliration Suede Boots

 
I love the brown and grey pairs, but they also come in cobalt and emerald if you are looking for a pop of color.


Xhileration Suede Boots


Old Navy has some cozy boots as well.  In fact that are actually called cozy suede-sherpa boots! 
Right now this pair from Old Navy is on sale for $24.00!

Old Navy Cozy Suede-Sherpa Boots
 


If you're looking to splurge, you can't go wrong with this pair from UGG.  They are suede with sheepskin lining and oh-so-warm!



UGG Bailey Button Boot


 
And what boots do I like for East Coast Snowstorms?  This classic Caribou boot from Sorel.
Sorel Caribou
 
I hope you've been staying warm so far this winter season!