Friday, March 29, 2013


Maybe you've seen this pin, or one like it:

At the Pretty Pink Princess Party, we decided to try this on Chloe's hair.  Chloe has so much hair, and it's so straight and long and beautiful.  But it refuses to hold curls from a curling iron.  So, we thought we'd see how this 1950's-esque fad worked.

Let's just say this to start: that girl in the picture has 1/16th of Chloe's hair at half the length.  It took me all of Alice in Wonderland and half of Pocahontas to do this to her hair!

And then she looked ridiculous.  But I promised her that her face wouldn't be in the pictures with the funny curlers.

In the morning, Claire and I took out the rags (a much shorter process) to find this:

How cool is that?  (She's laughing because Claire and I were both surrounding her, taking pictures like paparazzi.)

So, they're not perfect, but if she ever asks me to do this again, I'll know that taking my time makes nicer curls.  The ones I tried to rush (because I knew it was killing her to sit still that long) were the ones with funky ends.

And the best part is they stayed all day.  Except then she had to shower.  She said the curls evaporated the second they heard the water start, basically.  Which is the opposite of what happens when you straighten my hair.  :)

Love and the Color Blue,
Leah Joy

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Homemade Pop-Tarts!

When I first saw this pin, I got pretty excited:

I mean, I really like Pop-Tarts.  There have been several years in my life where I would buy a box of Pop-Tarts to stash in my room and eat when I wanted a snack.  (This probably explains a lot of my health problems, actually.)  I'm not sure if I liked them because they were an easy snack, good-tasting, or because my dad hated them and declared them contraband.

I haven't had a Pop-Tart in a couple years, which is probably really good for me, but when you make them yourself, they're almost healthy, right?

I followed the recipe from the pin except that I used homemade pie crust (see below for recipe) and homemade strawberry jam.  To make it even more healthy.

And then I covered them in a powdered sugar glaze and "sprinkled" sugar on top.

These were a great snack.  If you try to make them, here are a few tips:

1. You really have to search in the original recipe for the size she makes them: it's 2" x 3".  Yes, that's tiny.  But if you're only using 1 tsp of jam, that's the size you want.  You can see I didn't stick to the same size for all of them.  I tried a few sizes, adding more or less jam as the size dictated.
2. Use your pizza cutter to cut out the rectangles.  Make your life easier.  It's the rotary cutter of food.  

Also, as you can see, I didn't squinch all my edges together too well.  This made the bigger ones fall apart much more easily, causing them to be eaten more in the manner of a delicate sandwich.  Therefore, if you're making these to eat in the car on the way to work, be much more careful about sealing your edges.  If you're going to eat them at your kitchen table, who cares?  They still taste the same!

Love and Sugar,
Leah Joy

P.S.  Homemade Pie Crust:
1 cup flour
1/3 cup + 1 Tablespoon room temperature butter
1 Tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt

Mix until evenly flaky throughout (I use my mixer), then add 2 Tablespoons cold water.  This should cause it all to ball up.  If you use room temperature butter, this should make a very easy to handle pie crust.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

101 Things Update - March 27

I did so much this past week!  And I've been busy at the start of this week, too, but I'm saving those projects for next week's update.  :)

7. Homemade Granola Bars.  

The Original:


This is, of course, before I cut them into bars, but that's how much room they took up in a 9x13 pan.  I got about 12 decent-sized bars out of it.  I accidentally doubled the butter, so they tasted very very buttery, but still really good.  I'll definitely be making them again with the right amount of butter!

16. Cleaning schedule.  I checked out Martha Stewart's checklists that are so popular on Pinterest:

Then, I took out things that didn't apply to my house, decreased the frequency of some items, and increased the frequency of others.  It was interesting the things I thought should be cleaned every week that she thought should be cleaned every other week, or once a month.  And vice versa.  Anyway, I typed up my own schedule and put it in a 49-cent Salvation Army frame so I can use dry erase marker on it.  The top left is daily items; we don't check those off.  The rest of the top is weekly items, which I'll erase at the beginning of every week to start fresh.  Can you tell what my least favorite chore is?

The bottom part is things that only need to be done once a month.  I split them up into weeks so they'll get done on a fairly regular schedule.  

I already need to change things, but I'll go through a whole month (I started on a 3rd week) first to catch all my errors.

80. Energy Balls.  Here's another popular pin.

I followed her recipe (just without the chia seeds).  These were very good, fairly filling, and easy to grab when I was rushing out the door to work.

86. White Chocolate Popcorn.  I've made this for two Christmases in a row, but I really wanted to make it for a party, when we could just eat it instead of packaging it up to give away.  I made it for the Pretty Pink Princess Party this past Friday.

90. Pretty Pink Princess Party!  We originally planned this party because Claire, who loves all things pink and princessy, asked Chloe if there were more than 4 Disney Princesses.  We were horrified!  But then we realized that since she didn't come to America until she was 6.5, it totally makes sense.  But we still had to rectify her appaling lack of education.  So we invited Anna, who also loves pink and princesses.  We ate a lot of food, made Chloe do all our hair and paint all our nails, and watched Beauty & the Beast, Pocahontas, and Alice in Wonderland (not technically a princess movie, but very good nonetheless).  We're hoping to get together again to fill in more gaps (i.e. Sleeping Beauty, Aladdin, etc.).

Also, thanks to Claire for taking this picture with her phone, because all I could get were really blurry shots.  

Love and PINK,
Leah Joy

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Earring Update - March 26

March 21 - I'm pretty sure these were from Claire's or maybe The Icing.

March 22 - I have these in pink, purple, and blue.  I think they were from Claire's or the Icing, also.  I wore these for the Pretty Pink Princess Party!

March 23 - My friends sent me these for my birthday.  They're so cute!  I'm thinking about adding a jump ring or two so they hang nicer.

March 24 - These were another pair from my friend Kayla.

March 25 - I bought these at an Art Fair our church had.  A girl in our youth group made these.  Sorry the picture is a bit blurry.  They quiver. :)

Love and Sparkles,
Leah Joy

Monday, March 25, 2013

The Room Equivalent of the Junk Drawer

I while back, I briefly shared with you the pictures of our 2nd bedroom.  It may have been messy then, but it only got worse from there.  Here's a reminder of how it looked then:

I was too ashamed to take more pictures of the more recent state of the room, but let's just say that you could walk about two steps into the room, and then if you had small feet, hop around the room to find things.  The entire floor was covered in stuff.  Why?  Because it's the room equivalent of a junk drawer.  I think junk drawers are a great thing.  I actually feel that every room needs a box for "stuff you don't know where to put".  At least when for the first few years you live there.  Eventually, you can probably have a place for most things, but we don't have a place for most things yet.

But I digress.  

Any time we had company, I'd frantically run around cleaning.  Anything I didn't know where to put, I'd toss into the yellow room.  Yes, literally toss (unless it was fragile).  No wonder the room was a mess.  I was sick of it.

So, this past Friday, when Chloe came over to help me get ready for the Pretty Pink Princess Party (more on that later this week), I enlisted her help in the yellow room.  I had already spent the entire day scrubbing, sweeping, washing, mopping, dusting (I know, right!), vacuuming, organizing, tidying, and doing lots of other participles involving cleaning.  The truth is, this room only took about a half hour to organize.  I'm not sure why I didn't tackle it before, except that it was a bit intimidating.

We started with a ton of cardboard boxes and plastic totes.  I split up my craft supplies into big categories like yarn (including my knitting needles for now), fabric, supplies for which I have a project, general supplies (random bits of paper, old books to use for crafts, etc.), and tools (writing and coloring utensils, hot glue gun, scissors, etc.).  The room held a bunch of the supplies Caleb and his dad and uncle are using to fix up our home, so two boxes corralled all of that stuff.  We now have a paper recycling box and a "to shred" box.  We have a box of extra boxes.  And we have a box of stuff I don't know where to put.  But it's one box, and it's all in the box.

The room looks so much better now, and I actually like it.  :)  Plus, I now have a system to help keep it from getting catastrophic again!

Love and Housework,
Leah Joy

Friday, March 22, 2013

More Shameless Plugs

Many months ago, I put in a plug for my friend Anna's YouTube channel.  You should still check it out.  She's been sick lately, but she's still astonishingly adorable even then!

Anna has also started a blog about crafting and homemaking.  She inspires me so much!  She tries tons of things from Pinterest, and her crafts turn out so cute!

So, if you like my posts, but wish I had more class and finesse, you should definitely check out and subscribe to her blog!

Also, consider following her on Pinterest.  She pins so many great things.

Love and Pink,
Leah Joy

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Yet Again - The Lizzie Bennet Diaries

I don't know if you guys have taken me up on my suggestion to watch the Lizzie Bennet Diaries.  I really hope you have.  They're almost done.  One week from today is supposed to be the last episode.  I'm so so excited for today's episode.  If you've been watching along, you know why.  If not, please go watch them all.  Here's Monday's:

I about flipped out at the end.  :)

Love and Scarves,
Leah Joy

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

101 Things Update - March 20

In the past two weeks, I'm afraid I haven't accomplished much more than the lemon projects.  Actually, everything for today is yellow!  :)  Check it out:

97. Finish the 2nd sock!  I'm so excited about this one.  (I'm actually wearing them as I type this.)  They are so cute and unbelievably warm.  AND I MADE THEM!  I used I Love This Yarn! sport weight in Sun Yellow.  If you want more details, check out my post on the first one from over a year ago. :)

I know when I finished the first one I said it took me about 6 hours, but after making this one, I think it was probably closer to 8-9.  Ridiculous.  But probably worth it.

(Please ignore my pasty white legs.)

Now, I know I haven't been great at my 101 Things projects the last few weeks, but this past week, I gathered lots of ingredients, put some holds out at the library, and scheduled the Pretty Pink Princess Party!  These are all in the works now:

7. Homemade Granola Bars
16. Start a cleaning schedule.
80.  Energy/breakfast balls
86. White chocolate popcorn (for the Pretty Pink Princess Party)
90.  Pretty Pink Princess Party on Friday night!
94. Lady Susan by Jane Austen is on hold at the library for me now.

Plus all of my sewing projects I have gathered for when my mom teaches me to use her sewing machine.  All three of them.  :)

Plus all the projects I've had sitting around that I haven't bothered to start.  Yep.

Love and Tanning Lotion,
Leah Joy

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Earring Update - March 19

Today's earring picture makes it look like I wore an impossible number of earrings this week, but it was really two weeks' worth of earrings.  Because of the size, you might need to click it to see them more clearly.  And sorry they're not in perfect order.  It's hard to do that with 11 pictures.

March 5 - This was lemon day, so I wore my lemon yellow guitar pick earrings I made a while back.

March 6 - My friend Kayla gave me these (along with a couple other pairs) because she realized they weren't really her style.  Pretty much every earring is my style, though.  I love these little stereos!

March 8 - More of my pop tab earrings.  Now that I have to actually wear these all, I realize it's kind of silly how many different varieties I have.  I'm pretty sure I grabbed one of every possible variation out of the ones I made to put into my jewelry box.  Fairly unnecessary.

March 10 - I think I got these at Claire's or maybe the Icing.  If I can't remember where I got a pair of earrings, they're usually from one of those stores.  :)

March 11 - I love these earrings so much!  And how can I help it?  SO CUTE!  (In case you didn't know, hippos are favorite animal.)  I got these at our local Farmers' Market from The Empty Nest booth.  Check them out on Etsy!

March 14 - My sister made these.  These are some of the first earrings she made and she's embarrassed when I wear them because they're not as high quality as what she makes now, but I like them.

March 15 - These are probably the second pair of earrings I made when I first got my wire jewelry kit in middle school.  I love them.

March 16 - I made these to match a dress in high school.  This time I wore them for my uncle's wedding!  (Sorry about the weird lighting in this picture.  Caleb's dad and uncle were working on our electrical system [Thank you!] and so I didn't have any warm lighting.  I look so pale! [Oh wait, I am.])

March 17 - Happy St. Patrick's Day!  These are actually the first pair of earrings I ever made for myself (apparently a trend this week).  They're so dorky, but I think they're cute, too.

March 18 - Just another pair of pop tab earrings.  :)

Love and Mix-tapes,
Leah Joy

Monday, March 18, 2013

Monday Rant: THIS BOOK!

Recently, I was skimming the "Everything" tab of Pinterest (a dangerous pastime, I know), and I found this book:

Now, don't tell me you don't pick a book by its cover.  I love lemon cake.  I wanted to know what was so sad about it.  And after reading the description, it sounded pretty cool.  A girl who can 'taste' your emotions in the food you cook.  Neat.

So I put a hold on it at our library, and when it came in, devoured it.  (There is no such thing as an unintended pun here.)


It starts out as you might expect.  She turns 9, and discovers her new ability in the most unfortunate of ways: eating her birthday cake that her mother made.  It tastes extremely sad.  As she grows up, she discovers more things about her mother: guilt, an affair, etc.  And you know what?  This wasn't the weirdest part of the book.  Not by a long shot.

See, she finds out from her dad that his dad could 'smell' people's emotions.  Apparently, these 'powers' run in the family.

And then, her brother turns into a chair.

Not like, a new chair.  No, he sits on a chair, and becomes the chair.  So he's not even useful at parties when you're short a few chairs or something!  Talk about an pointless superpower.

He can also become the bed, the couch, the dresser, etc., but the chair is his favorite.

Oh, and he really likes it when he's a chair, but it's very painful when he comes back.

So he becomes a chair forever.

The end.

Um, what?

I want my three hours back.

Love and Cake,
Leah Joy

Friday, March 15, 2013

Lemon Brownies

Normally you should beware the Ides of March, but I guarantee that if you like lemon, you'll love this recipe.

Today's recipe needs a better name.  I got the recipe here, which is adapted from someone who adapted it from someone else, etc.  Regardless, everyone is calling them Lemon Brownies, or Lemon Cake Bars, and they deserve a good name!  I mean, there's nothing brown or chocolatey about them, so we can't call them brownies.  And Lemon Blondies isn't really a great name either.  And Lemonies sounds weird.   These have the taste of Lemon Bars (except better) with the texture and consistency of brownies.  So I need your help - make these, and then help me name this recipe!

Whatever they're called (my mom suggested Lemon Heaven Bars), these are amazing.  Chloe and I weren't so sure when we finally had all the ingredients in the mixer and it looked pretty lumpy.  Just keep beating, and it will eventually turn out creamy like this:

Once baked, it looked like this:

Yes.  We ran out of toothpicks and had to use a fork.  Whatever.  It's still delicious.  The glaze was an amazing and inspired addition.

Although it kind of makes it look like a pan full of raw eggs.  :)  I promise you, this recipe is amazing.  These bars are so lemony and so delicious.

I hope you enjoyed Lemon Week as much as we did.  I know my stove sure did:

Love and Washcloths,
Leah Joy

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Raspberry Ice Cubes

Chloe and I got today's recipe from Too Stinkin' Cute.  It's also Number 95 on my 101 Things in 2013 list.

I must say that this is the recipe we followed the least.  First of all, we didn't even use their lemonade recipe; we used the Anne of Green Gables Lemonade Syrup recipe.  I'm sure their recipe was fine, but we know we like this one.  We actually made the lemonade part last, so that we could use all the leftover lemon juice.  We had just the perfect amount for a double batch.  It filled five 12-ounce jars, plus made a very large glass of lemonade leftover. I froze two of the jars and sent one home with Chloe.  

But I digress.  

We only made the ice cubes, and even those we only sort of followed the recipe.  We halved it because it says it makes 30 to 36 ice cubes, and I only have ice cube trays for 28.  (That's not actually true, because I have several shaped silicone ones, but I didn't want to use them for this.)  Then, we thoroughly mashed the mixture, and then instead of pouring the cooled mixture straight into the ice cube trays, we strained it first to get all the seeds out.  We basically made a raspberry syrup and froze it into ice cube trays.

It looks so cute in the glass (as it melts, it becomes a homogeneous pinkish-red) and tastes amazing!

It might be the best raspberry lemonade I've ever had!

Also, you may notice that there is zest back in my lemonade.  Last time I made it, I skipped the zest, because I don't like floaties.  But they add so much flavor, so I'll be leaving them in from now on.

Love and Paisley,
Leah Joy

P.S. I caught Chloe making a very arrogant face as she strained the lemon juice, and I asked her what she was doing.  She said, "Well, I'm stirring lemons.  Only pompous people stir lemons."  

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Lemon Ice Cups

I am so excited about today's installment of Lemon Week!  Do you know those Luigi's Lemon Ice things that you get at the baseball games in the summer?  You know the ones where it's awesome, but then you have to sit through a whole baseball game in return for eating this wonderful treat?  (Turns out you can also just get them at the grocery store... Hm, who knew?)  WE MADE THEM.  AT HOME.  IN LEMONS.  How cool is that?  (Obviously, I think it's very cool.  How often do I use all capital letters?)

I found the recipe here.  These are also Number 46 on my 101 Things in 2013 list.

Chloe and I first juiced lots of lemons:

Then she got mad at me for taking pictures instead of working.

Just kidding, we're still friends!

We took the lemon halves, and used knives to get the pith out.  (The original recipe suggest grapefruit spoons, but Caleb and I have only been married a year and a half, and our parents haven't run out of gift ideas yet for Christmas and birthdays, so we don't have any grapefruit spoons.)  When you do this, don't be afraid to dig into the side of the lemon a bit to get the pith out.  There's more there than I thought there'd be.  Also, we'd recommend cutting the bottom to get it flat before you go through the effort of cutting the pith out, just in case you cut too much off the bottom and ruin the entire idea of a cup (you know, the basics, like 'no holes in the bottom').

While I was working on this step, Chloe was still juicing, but at one point she stopped and asked, "Do you need help shaving your lemons?"  Yes, it kind of feels like you're shaving the inside of a lemon.

The lemon ice mixture was the simplest thing to mix up.  Then, I just poured it in the cups and put them in the freezer.  So delicious.  And cute.

Another idea: if you didn't want to put them in lemon halves, you could save and wash some yogurt containers.  That would be quick, easy, and easier to put in the freezer.

Love and Frozen Hands,
Leah Joy

P.S.  If you're as crazy about lemon as I am, you might want to leave a little bit of the water out.  I mean, it's fantastic, but with a little less water it'd have even more of a kick.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Raspberry Peach Lemonade

Lemon Week continues!  We made 5 recipes, involving 10 pounds of lemons.  We also made a mess.

But it smelled good.  Even the trash smelled awesome for a while.  :)  Until it looked, as Chloe said, "like someone puked lemons."

But really, most of the recipes turned out great.  I'd say 4 out of 5 is pretty good.  I wasn't sure when to share the one that wasn't good, so I'll just get it over with today.  I was really bummed that this wasn't fantastic.  It sounds like it should be.  Raspberry Peach Lemonade!  I got the recipe here.  Now, I did substitute honey for the agave nectar, simply because I have no agave nectar, and honey works the same way.  Here's all the fruit in the pot.  It's at least really pretty!

Maybe it's that my raspberries were frozen (but they've been fine before in other things).  Maybe it's that my peaches weren't fully ripe (but they're fine in other things).  I really don't know where we went wrong.  Everything actually went fine until I got to the straining part.  That took forever.  I ended up mixing the puree with the water and lemon juice before straining it so it would go faster.  Once this was finally done, we tasted it and it still needed something, so we added 1/4 cup of sugar.  This helped, but it really did not make it worth all the effort.  We eventually discovered that adding some Lemonade Syrup to it made it pretty good, but not amazing, and certainly not worth all the time and work we put into it.  Which is a bummer.  It's pretty, though!

Love and Grapefruit,
Leah Joy

Monday, March 11, 2013

Lemon Loaf

Last Tuesday, I kidnapped my sister Chloe and held her hostage all day.  We (okay, mostly she) juiced 10 pounds of lemons.  But not before we took some pictures.

We took this first shot of the bags, but that didn't look impressive enough, so we put them on a cute tray (Goodwill!), and then photographed Tim the Dinosaur conquering the mountain of lemons.  We hadn't even begun and we were already punchy.

Today's recipe is from Sweet Pea's Kitchen and it is also Number 41 on my 101 Things in 2013 list.  Christina from Sweet Pea's Kitchen has a similar recipe for a lemon-blueberry loaf, which I've made before and adored, so I was excited to try this one.  If possible, this was even better.  We halved the recipe, only because I only have one loaf pan (now accepting donations).  I have never purchased cake flour in my life (and probably never will) so we only used all-purpose flour.  I also substituted yogurt for the sour cream because I don't like to cook with sour cream (it makes me sick).  I'm sure these small changes did not damage the integrity of the recipe, as it was delicious.

Here's the bread out of the oven, before the syrup or glaze had been applied, but after I'd poked multiple holes in it (that was fun):

And with the glaze:

This was gone within 3 days, and that's only because there are only two of us in this house.

As you can see, our counter got quite messy with the syrup and the glaze.  I'm not sure how to avoid that, other than putting down some plastic wrap first or something.  But I don't mind wiping the counter multiple times.  :)

Caleb came in while we were glazing this, and partway through the following sentence, I realized how strange it sounded, so I decided to make it as strange as I possibly could: "Here, run your finger in this sticky, yellow liquid on the counter and then lick it."  :)

But seriously, this bread is fabulous.  Go make it.

Love and Sugar,
Leah Joy

P.S. These are the cooling racks we have.  I love that they can be tall or short, and that they stack when they're tall or short.  They're really easy to clean, too, even when you thoroughly coat them in lemon syrup. :)

Friday, March 8, 2013

Next Week: Lemon Week!

This week, I kidnapped my younger sister Chloe and kept her with me all day.  We juiced 10 pounds of lemons and made five treats with them.  Next week, instead of my usual blogging routine, I'll be sharing one recipe each day.

See you next week!

Love and Lemons,
Leah Joy

Thursday, March 7, 2013

White Chicken Chili/Soup

Yesterday, I showed you the initial picture of the "chili" I made.  Today, I'll share the original recipe, and how I tweaked it.

For the original, go here, to

First of all, I read in the comments that most people thought this was more of a soup than a chili.  That was a relief to me.  Chili scares me, for very irrational reasons.  My mom hates legumes.  Like, despises them, can't stand them, would rather battle an angry cougar than eat them.  Therefore, we never had chili growing up.  I assumed that I hated it, too, but every time I've had it, I really like it.  And anytime a friend has made a white chili, I loved it, so I wanted to make my own.  And yet, I'm still scared that maybe this time I'll hate it.  So, soup is safe.  

When I bought the ingredients, it was like learning a whole new world.  Honestly, I've never purchased chiles before.  I didn't even know where they'd be, except in the "World Foods" aisle.  And I've never bought canned beans.  Truth. 

When I made them this time, the biggest change was that I couldn't find cannellini beans.  Unless they're not kept by the other beans, our Meijer doesn't carry them.  I used great northern beans instead, because they're white, too, and I've had them before.  :)

Now, when I was defrosting chicken breasts, I wasn't sure if "chicken breast halves" (as the original said) meant what I had, or half of that, and since I'm stingy, I only used 2 frozen chicken breasts.  Also, I cooked them up in a frying pan with the onions and then transferred it all to a saucepan, because I'm weird about raw chicken being in with other things.  At this point, I noticed that there seemed to be a lot of onion.  Maybe we just have big onions around these here parts, but next time, I'll only use a quarter or half an onion.  I only put about half of what I cooked up with the chicken into the soup, and there was still so much!

The reviews suggested more spices, so I did double most of them.  And many reviews said not to drain/rinse the beans, because this makes it more soupy, but I definitely drained and rinsed them.  I like soup!

So I guess my final recipe would go like this:

White Chicken Chili-Soup

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 chicken breasts, cubed
1/4 onion, chopped
1 and 1/4 cups chicken broth
1 - 4oz can diced green chiles
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried cilantro
1/8 - 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (to taste)
1 - 15oz can great northern beans, drained and rinsed
chopped green onion for garnish
shredded cheese for garnish

Heat oil in a medium pan, then cook chicken and onions together.  When chicken is mostly done, transfer to medium saucepan.  Stir in chicken broth, chiles, and spices.  (Add more spices if you desire.)  Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.

Stir in beans and simmer for 5 more minutes.  (Make sure chicken is done all the way through)

Garnish with green onion and shredded cheese.

Love and Beans,
Leah Joy

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

101 Things Update - March 6

I must admit that I didn't do a lot of my 101 Things this week.  As I mentioned yesterday, I spent most of the week wallowing around in sweat pants.  However, near the end of the week I got my act together, put on my big girl pants, and managed to make these two recipes.  One was a keeper with a few adjustments, the other one can go far, far away and never come back.  

55. White Chicken Chili.  I chose this recipe from  I tweaked it a tiny little bit, but next time I'll tweak it more.  I'll share more tomorrow about the changes I made and what I'd do differently next time.  Bottom line, though, is that Caleb loved it, I thought it was pretty good, and when we get a can opener, it'll be far easier.

81. Strawberry Oatmeal Breakfast Smoothie, also from  Here's the original:

Here's mine:

I actually doubled the recipe because we were having it for lunch and I wanted it to be more filling.  Like every reviewer suggested, I put the rolled oats into my blender first and ground them for a bit.  I didn't want to have to chew my smoothie.  Since I doubled it, my strawberries and bananas were half fresh and half frozen, based on what I had available.  I did add the optional vanilla, but used honey instead of sugar.

The flavor was fine, not as great or kickin' as some smoothies, but good.  The texture, however, made us cringe with almost every sip.  I don't know if I should have let the oatmeal soak a bit, or use quick oats so they'd get moist quicker, but I got dozens of oatmeal bits stuck in my teeth in every gulp I took.  Drinking this felt like a chore.  About halfway through, Caleb discovered that if you eat a pretzel after every couple sips, it's more tolerable.  I don't know why, but it worked.  Regardless, I probably won't be making these again.  

I will say, though, that the oatmeal (and the milk base - I usually use fruit juice) helped it be more filling.  If I drink a smoothie for lunch, I'm usually hungry again in 2 hours, but I wasn't with this one.

Love and Strawberries,
Leah Joy

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Earring Update - March 5

I didn't do so well this week.  The first part of the week, I didn't feel very great, so I mostly lounged around the house (or wanted to) in sweat pants and flannel.  Because as we all know, I'm the classiest person around.

March 1 - These are another attempt with my sister's Shrinky Dinks kit.  I adore paisleys and the rainbow, so I made the big paisley red, orange, and yellow, which looks cool.  But the small paisley, which is supposed to be green, blue, and purple, just looks like a dark blob.  Bummer.

March 2 - I love these earrings.  I got them at a Rue 21 outlet store in Indiana one year.  I love all the colors!

March 3 - Salvation Army!  These came in a set with circles and diamonds, too.  I think the circles are broken, or at least one of them, because I stepped on it.  On a scale of 1 to 10, that pain is pretty close to Lego.

March 4 - These are another pair my little brother Jacob picked out for me!  They're funky, yet cute, which is my favorite combo in earrings.  It means I can wear them for anything!

Love and Pink,
Leah Joy