Thursday, June 30, 2011

DIY Chan Luu Wrap Bracelet

A while back I posted about a wrap bracelet I made very similar to the Chan Luu wrap bracelets.

my wrap bracelet

I had some requests for a tutorial, but since I am terrible with giving instructions for crafts, I found some tutorials elsewhere on the web that were good.  So, if you want your own Chan Luu bracelet without the price tag, here are some links to get you started!  I chose several tutorials because they vary in length and detail of instruction, so hopefully at least one of these suits your style of learning.

Simple instructions and close-up pictures of how your bracelet should look each step:  here
photo via craftaytaylor


A YouTube video with clear instructions and a close-up of how to thread the beads:  here


A video with a close-up of threading the beads with written instructions:  here
photo via sewpetitegal


A video with very detailed instructions, but not as close-up on how to thread the beads:  here
photo via makebraceletsblog

I actually think checking out each of these would be the most beneficial, because they are all a little different and choose to use different beads and string.  Let me know if you make one and how it turns out!  Happy Bracelet Making!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Zucchini Nut Bread Cookie Sandwiches

These would make a great gift, but we've been selfish.

My mother-in-law sent us some cucumbers and zucchini from her garden, and I immediately was thinking of what I could bake with the zucchini.  Last time I made this banana zucchini bread, so I wanted to switch it up this time.  Then I remembered something I had put on a list (of course) of recipes I wanted to try. They are seriously the best thing I've eaten in a while.  The Coconut Seven Layer Bar ice cream at Ben & Jerry's over the weekend was a close second, but these cookie sandwiches are telling Little Debbie and her oatmeal creme pies to move on over. You can get the template for the labels (here).

I love the texture of the nuts, oats, and zucchini.

Zucchini Nut Bread Cookie Sandwiches
1 cup flour
1 1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup grated zucchini
1 cup old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup chopped pecans
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted

Combine flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a bowl.  Beat 1 stick of butter and the sugars until pale and fluffy.  Beat in egg and vanilla.  Beat flour mixture into butter mixture.  Stir in zucchini, oats, and pecans.  Cover and refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.

Drop dough onto parchment-lined baking sheets, in balls of about 2 Tbsp and placing about 2 inches apart.  Bake at 350 degrees until edges are golden, about 17 minutes. Cool on wire racks.

Beat together remaining 1/2 stick of butter, the cream cheese, and confectioners' sugar until smooth.  Once cookies are cool, spread filling onto the flat side of one cookie, and sandwich with another cookie.  Repeat with remaining filling and cookies.  To keep fresh, place in Ziploc bags or airtight container and store in fridge.  Makes 10-14 sandwiches.

source: recipe slightly altered from Martha Stewart Living, March 2011

I've linked up with sweet as sugar cookies!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Lists, Post-Its, and Notepads

Hi.  My name is sherri lynn and I am a compulsive list-maker.  I make to-do lists, grocery lists, to-pack lists, wish lists, books-I've-read lists, movies-to-watch lists, recipes-to-try lists.  Sometimes on my to-do list, I write things that I've already done.  Just so I can experience the satisfaction of crossing it off. Coupled with this obsession with lists is my obsession with post-its and notepads.  I have a drawer full of them that will probably take me years to use, but here are some more I've recently found:


Z gallerie, $6.95


crane & co, $9


barnes & noble, $4.95


amazon, $12.50


chronicle books, $12.95


barnes & noble, $6.95


amazon, $8.57



chronicle books, $9.95

Does anyone else make lists all the time?  Do you have an unnecessary amount of something sitting in a drawer somewhere?

Monday, June 27, 2011

Homemade Iced Mochas

*The winner of the popsicle summer giveaway is Amanda of Simple Girl, Simple Pleasures!  Amanda, email me your info so I can mail you your goodies!  Thanks for playing everyone!*

homemade iced mocha

I love iced coffee.  Iced mochas, to be exact.  I make myself drink hot coffee at times in the winter, but I would always rather have it iced.  The problem is I could never figure out how to make a good iced mocha at home.  They always were too watery or too bitter or just gross.  However, I have now discovered a delicious recipe for homemade iced mochas.  I can't tell you how much I've enjoyed making a good iced mocha at home instead of going to Starbucks and spending over $4 each time.  You probably already have most or all of the ingredients in your kitchen, so go whip one up.  It will cure those Monday Blues.

Homemade Iced Mocha
5 ounces brewed coffee, cold*
1/2 cup milk
1 Tbsp heavy cream
2 Tbsp chocolate syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp brown sugar**

for whipped cream:
In the bowl of your electric mixer, add 1/2 cup heavy cream and 1 Tbsp sugar. Beat until peaks form and you have the consistency of whipped cream - about 6 minutes.

Fill the bottom of your glass with 1 Tbsp of chocolate syrup.  Pour in the coffee, then the milk, then the vanilla, then 1 Tbsp heavy cream, then the brown sugar. Mix well with a spoon.  Add ice cubes.  Top with whipped cream and additional chocolate syrup, if desired.  Serves one.

*I brewed a pot of coffee, let it cool, then put it in a pitcher in the fridge.   Let it sit in the fridge for hours or even overnight to make sure it is really cold before you make the mocha.

**Unpacked brown sugar if you don't want it super sweet; packed if you like it sweeter.  I pack mine.  Obviously.

source:  recipe from how sweet it is

Friday, June 24, 2011

Joy Pockets

I'm so happy that it is finally Friday:  the weekend has officially started!  So I am linking up with Monica at bohemian twilight for a joy pockets post, because I love remembering the little moments of joy throughout my day.

one) I loved reading about this amazing Starbucks in the woods proposal!  
Hearing other proposal stories takes me back to the night we got engaged.


two) I went running today for the first time in like a year.
It will be a long process of getting back in shape, but I
was inspired after reading this post.


three) I got to see two of my nieces on Skype today!
They are growing up so fast!


four) I successfully made my first omelette.  I usually
mess up as I try to flip them and it turns into scrambled eggs.
I learned the correct technique here.
via here


five) We get to spend our weekend at home.  Just 
the two of us.  So incredibly excited.


I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!

Raspberry White Chocolate Muffins


It had been a while since I had picked/seen/eaten raspberries, so when I washed these all I could see were all those little hairs.  Why do raspberries have those little hairs on them?  I was tired of wondering so I googled.  Apparently they are the remnants of pistils, the female portion of the flower, and they may help protect the fruit from insect damage.  Good to know.  I guess?  Anyway, we think these muffins are really good, and I'm glad to have a good raspberry muffin recipe.


Raspberry White Chocolate Muffins
2 tsp lemon juice
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
2 cups flour
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cups sugar
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 1/4 cups raspberries

Line muffin pans with paper liners or lightly grease.

Whisk lemon juice, milk, oil, and egg in a medium bowl until well combined.

Mix together flour, baking soda, salt, sugar, and white chocolate in a large bowl.  Add the raspberries to the dry ingredients and gently stir to coat the berries in the flour mixture.  Then gently stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.  Stir until all ingredients are well combined.

Pour the mixture into the muffin tins about two-thirds full.  Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Let cool for a few minutes in pan before removing to wire racks to cool completely.  Makes 15-18 muffins.

source:  recipe from gimme some oven


Thursday, June 23, 2011

Photo Booth Collage

Does anyone else love taking pictures in photo booths?  It's seriously one of my favorite things to do.  My favorite part is when everyone on the inside of the black curtains gets to laughing because of how fun and silly the booth is, and then the pictures turn out even better!

I've slowly been in the process of decorating our home.  I love the wedding pictures we have up, but I don't want just wedding pictures everywhere.  I thought about doing a collage of framed pictures on the wall, but everyone has one of those and I wanted something different.  That's when I decided to gather some of these photo booth strips that I've been collecting for years and make them into a little mini-collage.  The hardest part was trying to figure out what color background I wanted.  I like the simplicity of the black and white, so I didn't want a colorful background, but any more black or white might be too much.  I settled with the grey and I think I like it how it is.  Obviously it will look much better hanging on the wall then sitting on the floor.  I'm scared of hammering so I'm waiting for Caleb to get home so he can hang it up for me.


How do you creatively display photos in your house?  Do you only like to hang up perfectly posed, smiling pictures?  Or do you also have some silly/slightly embarrassing pictures on display? 

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Guacamole

I'm not a huge fan of green foods with weird textures, so I've never really liked guacamole too much.  This recipe, however, I like.  It's super easy, and I like all of the healthy benefits of avocados! 

Guacamole
2 medium very ripe avocados, halved, seeded, peeled, and cut up
1/2 small onion, diced
1/2 of a 4 oz can of diced green chile peppers
1 Tbsp snipped fresh cilantro*
1 Tbsp lime juice
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp salt
1 medium finely chopped, peeled, and seeded tomato (optional)

Combine avocados, onion, chile peppers, cilantro, lime juice, garlic, and salt. Blend in food processor or mash together with potato masher.  Make sure everything has combined well and mixture is smooth.  If you are using tomato, do not add until right before serving.

*I've made this with and without the cilantro, and it's good either way

source:  recipe courtesy of my sister Kristin

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Food Memoirs

I've been on a food memoir kick lately (thisthisthis, and this), and The Gastronomy of Marriage is the latest one I've read.  I don't remember where I first saw this title, but I was drawn to it and knew I would like it.  I love the way Michelle Maisto describes the dishes she and her fiancĂ© are making.  "I break up the dried spinach and add it to the ricotta batter along with more salt, ground pepper, a pinch of nutmeg, and the thin ribbons of basil, and then spread the mixture down the centers of eight somewhat cooled lasagna noodles, rolling them gently so their fillings stay inside.  The finished rolls, with their spiraling green interiors and little fluted edges all pointed north, are pretty in the white casserole, with its thin layers of red sauce on top and below."  When someone can describe food and make it sound appetizing without a picture, I'm sold.  In addition to her writing about food, she's learning about compromise and what it takes for two people with different backgrounds, preferences, and even eating styles to live together.  She says, "It's one thing to know how to be together, and it's another to learn when to be apart."  So true.  Sometimes you just need space.  Anyway, I loved this book and if you like food or reading about food, you would probably like it too.  However, since reading this book and Girl in Translation, I've been in a book rut.  I keep starting books and putting them down.  What book should I read next?  I want book suggestions!

P.S. Happy First Day of Summer!  Have you entered to win a popsicle making kit?

Monday, June 20, 2011

Sausage Balls

Don't you love the feeling of arriving home after you've been gone?  In the last six weeks, I think we've slept 10 different places and have only come home for about four days at a time before leaving again.  It's been fun to travel but I'm excited that we are home for a solid two weeks before it's time to leave again!  

Today I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed with all that I have to do to catch up on life here (i.e. our fridge is empty) plus a huge project that I have to finish by tonight (yikes!).  So, today is an easy, delicious recipe.  I make a batch of these sausage balls, then stick them in the freezer to pull out to supplement a bowl of cereal for breakfast or for a snack when dinner is running late.

Sausage Balls

Put one pound of grated cheddar cheese (at room temperature) in a bowl.


Add one pound of regular breakfast sausage (at room temperature).


Dump 3 cups of Bisquick into the bowl.


Mix these ingredients together until well combined.


Form into walnut-sized balls and place on ungreased cookie sheet.


Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown.
Let cool on cookie sheet for 1-2 minutes, then remove
to cooling rack or waxed paper.

What recipes do you use that freeze well?  I'm always looking for more!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Happy Friday!

It's Friday and I'm loving confetti.  Not loving it in that I want someone to throw confetti all over my house, but I'm loving the idea of how fun it is and all that you can do with it!



And get crazy with it.


Decorate presents with confetti.




Set off confetti rockets during your first kiss.




Sprinkle it over your baby.


Happy Friday!

don't forget to enter my summer giveaway!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Summer Giveaway!

In celebration of summer (officially) starting in a few days, here is a summer giveaway!

(here)
This popsicle recipe book has so many delicious recipes!  From fruity ice pops (watermelon-lime, blueberry-lemon verbena, fresh peach) to chocolate ice pops (classic fudge, chocolate truffle chunk, raspberry-chocolate) to creamy ice pops (cheesecake, root beer cream, vanilla toffee chip), and new flavored ice pops (cappuccino, mimosa, cucumber-lime-mint); this book has over 40 recipes and I want to try all of them right now!
(here)




These popsicle molds have a no-drip handle to prevent messes, and are easy to remove with a pull-tab to easily pop out the popsicles.  Also dishwasher safe (always a plus in my book!).





One winner will receive this popsicle recipe book and this popsicle mold!

How to enter:  You must be a follower of life of a wife through Google Friend Connect (see right sidebar).  Leave a comment telling me your favorite flavor of popsicles and you're entered to win!

If you blog or tweet about this giveaway, you may leave additional comments letting me know (counts as one extra entry for each).

Limited to the U.S. only.

Deadline to enter is Sunday, June 26 at 10 PM (EST).  Winner will be selected using random.org and will be announced Monday morning!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

What I'm Loving Wednesday

I'm linking up again for What I'm Loving Wednesday!  It's good for me to recall all the little joys!



I'm loving this book.  The story sucked me in right away
and I couldn't put it down!  I love finding a good read.



I'm loving this shampoo + conditioner!  It makes my hair feel
really good, and it smells good too!



I'm loving the iced white mocha I had
from my favorite coffee place back home.



I'm loving that I got to see my niece today!  
She has three new words:  baby, apple, cheese.  
She is such a cutie!



I'm loving this Baked Chicken and Rice with Black Beans.
recipe & photo via indigo sugar spectrum

And I'm also loving the summer giveaway that I'll be posting tomorrow!

What are you loving this week?

Banana Macadamia Muffins

So here it is: a muffin with bananas, coconut, pineapple, AND macadamia nuts. Say whaat?!  They're pretty much screaming aloha as they come out of the oven.  All of the different flavors blended so well together and made for delicious, moist muffins.  Enjoy!


Banana Macadamia Muffins
3 cups flour
2 cups sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
3 eggs
1 cup oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 medium ripe bananas, mashed
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
1 can (8 oz) crushed pineapple, drained
1 cup macadamia nuts, coarsely chopped

In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt.  In another bowl, combine the eggs, oil, and vanilla.  Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, just until moistened.  The batter with seem very stiff.  Fold in the mashed bananas, the coconut, and the pineapple.  Combine well to ensure the fruit is evenly distributed throughout the batter.

Fill greased or paper-lined muffin tins two-thirds full.  Sprinkle with macadamia nuts.  Bake at 375 degrees for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes in pans before removing to wire racks.

source:  recipe from Simple & Delicious, June/July 2011

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Bookends

A while back I posted about some amazing built-in bookshelves.  My love for these bookshelves comes not only from my love of books, but also for bookends. Right now our bookshelves are unable to accommodate all of our books, let alone bookends.  But hopefully one day I will have more than enough bookshelves so I can have some great bookends.

whale, jonathan adler $150

bicycle, lighting direct $65

owl, y living $125

golden gate bridge, restoration hardware $69

elephant, west elm $24

fleur de lis, barnes & noble $29.95

poodle, anthropologie $58