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Tuesday, October 13, 2015

This Week | Menu & Projects


I'm pretending today is Monday... I have no idea what happened to yesterday, but it was a quick one.  I wish October days crawled by as slowly as August ones.  They are going too quickly - I can hardly believe it is already (almost) half over.  Time, please slow down.

Last week's checklist got partially completed - very partially.  I did accomplish Emma's 1-2 year-old book, so I'll call it a win!



Another big "win" was the after school Caramel Popcorn (recipe here).

A side not about making actual (non-microwave) popcorn : I haven't had real stove-top popped popcorn since we got a microwave in 1985.  It was such a treat.  Emma and I were both amazed that just a small scoop of kernels filled the pot!  We enjoy our fair share of treats (Emma's slightly obsessed with Starbucks cake pops...), but I do love being able to show her how food is made - and that it doesn't have come out of a package to be a treat.  I really do try to avoid things that coming in fancy packages (kid yogurts, snacks, etc.) because I like her food to look like food instead of a fun toy/treat.  So, "homemade" popcorn is going to be a new favorite... especially topped with caramel.

The entire recipe was very simple and easy.  I added a lot of extra sea salt and we both gobbled it up.  I plan to make this often - and might throw in some cashews next time, too.  Yum!



I've been getting requests for more unedited photos and snippets of our home.  I love the idea of that - and it is actually much easier than staging anyway.  I took my camera around this morning a captured a couple of favorite moments happening in our home this October.

I love this pumpkin!  From one side he looks green and from the other he looks orange.  Very pretty in our hearth room.  Clearly, Mr. Darcy couldn't care less.

These little gourds were supposed to be made into vases for the mantle to house bittersweet, but they've moved right into their spot on the counter and I don't think they are going anywhere.


Emma and I've been collecting leaves for a new project.  Last year when we didn't have a house (ok, that's a little dramatic - we were living with Mike's parents while our house was being built), I would dream about all of the projects and crafts we would do to decorate each season.   I love seeing our real life strewn about the house.  It might be a pile of leaves, Emma's "notes" she's been writing or a stack of thank you notes received.  I feel like all of these signs of life make a home feel so good.  Did you spot that playdoh creation in the background with the copper cookie cutter?  A playdoh cupcake topped with a My Little Pony - a house specialty.


This is our leaf project.  I bought a foam wreath form and wrapped it with Gold Ribbon (2" grosgrain from my store).  We'll collect favorite leaves throughout the fall and pin them on the wreath as we go.  I'm always up for activities that will help engage her in nature and changing of the seasons.  Whatever I can do to avoid requests for shows/ipad... the never ending battle.



By Thanksgiving I hope to have a wreath full of leaves to hang on our door.  Emma loved using the pins - now she wants to start sewing... eeeek!


Our dining/kitchen table has evolved from apples a couple of weeks ago to mini pie pumpkins.  I've also been lighting these bayberry candles I had left over from last year.  They will be back in the store in a couple of weeks.  The scent is so earthy and everything I love.  Usually I don't burn scented candles at the table - and these aren't really "scented."  They are naturally fragrant because of the bayberry wax used.


Shoes, two by two, on the stairs.  I buy Emma the same pair of shoes every year in the same color - Navy and Pale Pink.  I'm so glad she still loves them and picks them out to wear.  I dread the year she no longer wants to wear her leather Mary Janes.

*my flats are from j.crew.
*emma's are L'Amour found here.



We made our first "real" rug purchase over the weekend - an antique persian for Mike's Office.  I love the colors.  Normally, I lean toward warm neutrals, so this is a big departure.  I'm hoping to add a rug like these to each room of our house - especially to use during the colder months.    It will take some time to collect (and be able to afford...) them and I look forward to the hunt.  The next on my list is a runner for the kitchen.  I'm hoping to find one that is well worn and a steal, since it will take a beating between my stove and the sink.

Now that we have the rug, I'll be sharing the design board for his Office/Library tomorrow - the chairs are arriving today.


I'm so glad that we left some of the original hardware in the house when we re-built.  Many times my builder and Mike tried to talk me into a new door and new hardware for the front entry.


 But then, I would've missed moments like this that show some age and life.  Stick to your guns.


Some pumpkin piles from last weekend and leaves beginning to pile up, too.  Mr. is using all of his restraint not to dart out of the front door.  I still need to fill my basket.  I'm hoping to find some branches of leaves this week that will fit the bill.



I'm obsessed with these little "copper" salt and peppers I found at target last week.  Just this tiny bit of copper color gives the kitchen a warmer feel.  And they were a steal.  I don't know if they are "heirloom quality" (maybe plastic/copper?), but they do the job.

This week's menu :


Braised Beef & Vegetable Stew

I am sure that I sound like a broken record when it comes to recommending this stew, but it is my absolute favorite.  It is also my go-to for delivering to friends with new babies... as we did yesterday for a friend with new twin girls.  It is just so, so good.



















I had to reach way back into the archives for this one.  I have been in the mood for really yummy gravy and mashed potatoes.  Maybe I've been looking at too many Thanksgiving inspiration photos.



Because I can't avoid pasta for more than a couple of days in a row : )  This was also from many years ago, and I always forget about it.  It is a great dish for fall because the roasted red pepper cream sauce makes it very hearty and comforting.


Ginger Spice Cookies

I'm looking to experiment with these this week - maybe a cross between this recipe and a snicker-doodle.  If I fail, at least the kitchen will smell amazing : )

Happy Week,
Jenny



16 comments:

  1. Such a beautiful, warm and welcoming home you have created. I love these little snippets and am definitely going to make the leaf wreath! Such a great idea. I've hesitated to bother you with this silly question, but am curious if you had any baby proofing tricks? We've just moved my beloved warm layered (jute and antique) rugs from our main living room as our 8 month old has been picking and pulling away! I keep telling myself I am going to simply teach him what he and can and cannot touch without removing too many favorites...but we will see how that goes. I definitely try to disguise baby items with pretty baskets, etc. Do you have any baby-proofing tricks? Thank you and thank you for sharing these snippets today!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Katelyn,

      I didn't really baby-proof too much. We did have a very dark and patterned rug while emma was really little, which helped. We have had a dog for 8 years, so our standards are a little worn : )

      Delete
  2. Jenny,
    I love your ideas for fall and I love, love being able to see bits of your home. I admire your style and always come away inspired. The leaf wreath is a great idea and I will be enjoying a Thanksgiving visit from our 5 year old granddaughter (and parents :-)) so I might just have to copy this project to work on with her.
    xo,
    Karen

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi Jenny!

    I'm so glad I recently found your blog---it's so much fun t hear about your life and see pictures of your cozy home! Little Emma is precious, as is your pup. I hear you on the popcorn. I always make the microwave stuff and now I've been eating PopSmart to cut the calories. Hubby makes the real stuff with tons of butter and I can't resist! I love the cake pops from Starbucks, too. There are tons of recipes on Pinterest, I bet you and Emma would have a great time making them. Baking with my daughters when they were little is one of my favorite memories!

    Thanks for the recipes, the photos are beautiful. It's getting colder here so I've been using my slow cooker a lot and I'm ready for some new one pot recipes.

    Have a great week!

    Jane x

    ReplyDelete
  4. Love these pictures.

    ReplyDelete
  5. What a beautiful post of your welcoming home. So warm and lovely. So you know, the link for the Penne and Shrimp in Roasted Red Pepper sauce takes us to shrimp scampi. Equally great, but would love the other recipe as well.

    Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for letting me know - I just updated to the correct link!

      http://jennysteffens.blogspot.com/2012/09/make-ahead-meal-rustic-penne-shrimp.html

      Delete
  6. I love the photos of your real life and your home. Even if it wasn't staged, it still looks perfect and beautiful, but also warm and welcoming. Thanks for sharing your life with us.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Really enjoyed this post! You own play doh!! ;) Look forward to more like this. Your home appears more comfortable, real and homey.

    Previous commenter, you are not alone!! My nine month old cannot keep from picking my jute rug apart! I'm on the hunt for something new but also apprehensive about buying online. This search could take some time..

    ReplyDelete
  8. Anonymous7:24 AM

    Soooo love your blog! Class and elegance defined. I am a fairly new grandma and love Emma's little leather Mary Jane's. Would you share where you get them. My little sweet pea would look lovely in them! Thank you for sharing your beautiful life with us.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They are from BabyChelle.com, the brand is L'Amour. Here is the link to the Pink : http://www.babychelle.com/collections/lamour-mary-janes/products/lamour-girls-classic-758-pink-leather-mary-janes

      There are many style from this brand that I love. They are really comfy, too, instead of stiff, as I find many shoes for kiddos to be. These are only $37, compared to others of similar style that are $60-80!

      http://www.babychelle.com/collections/lamour-mary-janes

      Delete
    2. Anonymous5:44 PM

      Thank you!! :)

      Delete
  9. Love seeing the pic of Emma enjoying the popcorn! So glad it was a hit. Your home looks lovely as always! ADORE the new (old) rug! And Mike's office! (I saw my favorite green lamps found a home in there. I was worried they didn't make the cut in the new home ;)) I vote for neutral herringbone ottoman and light ivory drapes to make it flow with your other rooms and break up the darker tones. It's such a handsome space and that desk - big heart eye emoji! xx

    ReplyDelete
  10. Hi I was wondering where your glass canisters are from and what size are they! I love them!

    ReplyDelete
  11. My favorite type of post, sharing with us a little slice of your life:) Lovely. Always enjoy the recipes. Curious, does Emma eat them all "as is" or do you change them up a little bit for her?

    ReplyDelete
  12. Your blog is so fun and interesting and I love your photographs. What kind of camera are you using? My daughter loves photography and I am looking for one for her. Thank you

    ReplyDelete

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