Dream Plan, Game Plan.

I started this blog with a plan to do something with it. I have been blogging on and off for years but just as a personal journal. Always worried about not having something to say, or what if no one wants to hear it? But everything comes from something right?

So this time I have a game plan/ dream plan for my blog. Hopefully it will make it more user friendly as well as keep you coming back looking for more!

To start I decided I wanted to give myself purpose to blog as often as can, goal is to get to it every day. I have even started to schedule posts for days I know I will be away from the screen. That being said I am going to join in on two fairly common blog and social media days… #MotivationMondays and #FreebieFridays !!!

#Motivation Mondays  – Pretty straight forward, I think. I will try to post motivational stories as well as photos and quotes. (Don’t worry this won’t be the only thing I post on mondays) and won’t start right away either. I want to make sure there is a good foundation behind it so its not just fluff pieces all the time.

#Freebie Fridays – Once I finish one of the courses I am currently taking I will start these up. There will be friend PDF Docs – Dominantly printables, with some how to guides, lists and a couple other cute things added in now and again. SO think party printables, school printables, motivational posted… Get it? Once a month there will be a special email list one Freebie as well! So the blog will get the normal freebie and the email list will get that one and another one straight to the inbox! Just a little something extra from me to you!

In the future, when I have more to share and say. I will look into starting a #Tips Tuesdays as well!

All this will be addition to the fun recipes, lists, diy guides, photos and reviews that the blog has normally. If there is anything you would love to see let me know!

Everyone needs a game plan/ dream plan of some sort, no matter what you are trying to do or where you are trying to do. Maybe one day this blog all support me and my family, so I can stay home and raise my babies and take care of the house. That is not for everyone, but everyone has some sort of dream.

Things to Bake This Fall

Well this is it guys. Today is the last day of September, and even though the first day of fall has come and gone, I always consider october to be the month it kicks into high gear.

So what did you want to do in September? Have you done it? Or is it rolling over to October?

Either way theres always something new to try. For me it is these following recipes. I am a sucker for fall baking, really who isn’t? If you love to bake then fall is a huge season! Personally I would skip all the pumpkin stuff and go right to anything with apples and cinnamon! I have never had a Pumpkin Spice Latte, But the amount of Apple Cider I drink is crazy.

Anyways… 

Here is a list of some of the most interesting looking recipes I have seen floating around lately. Facebook and Pinterest are always a good resource for a cook or baker. I have complied them into this post and have a goal to try at least most of them this fall! I will also try to post about them when I do so, this post will just be an overview of them, with links to the original recipes and instructions.

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Above in the photo are 16 yummy looking recipes. There are as follows from left to right, starting in the top left corner and ending in the bottom right. Click through the links in order to see full instructions and recipes!

  1. Caramel Apple Cinnamon Rolls. Oh my golly do these look good and simple too! Reading over the recipe she gives lots of goofs points that should make this recipe easy for most. I could make it one step easier and totally use a pre made dough, yes that is sort of cheating, but I won’t tell if you don’t! Also I love her tip at the end mentioning that you can bake them in a muffin tin so you already have individual servings instead of having to separate them! I am all about easy ready to go items!
  2. The Best Home Made Caramels. Wow! 5 Steps and 5 ingredients, does it get any easier (minus buying them from a store, which is never as much fun, and you house won’t smell pretty!). Reading through this recipe is pretty straight forward. Don’t get scared off with the part about the candy thermometer, keep reading, she givings you a different way to test! I am loving the fact that you can then wrap these up in wax paper, put them in a cute jar, and you have the perfect little gift! Or cute way to store in on your counter to impress your guests.
  3. Spice Apple Cider Cranberry Cupcakes. Say that three times fast. The opening line of this article sold me in seconds. ‘ A soft, melt in your mouth, apple cider cinnamon cake..’ UM YES PLEASE! A little more complicated it seems then the about 2 recipes but oh so worth it I bet. Plus I love how she breaks down the ingredients and instructions into 4 separate sections each for the 4 separate parts of the cupcake (Cake, Filling, Icing, Topping).
  4. Apple Pie Oatmeal Cookies. First off if you know anything about me you know I love oatmeal cookies. So this recipe speaks to me on a cookie lover level. Secondly she herself calls it ‘a easy, no fuss recipe’! Perfect just the kind of recipes I like. She provides a ton of good tips in this recipe to help you along, as well as video if you are visual learner! Way to have all the bases covered lady! Otherwise I am gonna go make these now so let me leave you to it….
  5. Cinnamon Candied Pecans. Now these are a recipe for my husband, he loves to snack on nuts. I would probably change it out to almonds, so I might enjoy it as well but otherwise this recipe is great. They are fairly easy to make (I have made similar in the past) and they will make your house smell fantastic. In the post they are call the “best snack of all time”, those are some big shoes to fill, but I understand where is coming from!
  6. Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies. Now I know I said I am not a big fan of pumpkin, but I just don’t cook for only myself, and neither should you! Think about your family, co-workers, and neighbours. There is always stuff I want to try cooking that no on in my house eats so I take it to work or call up my sister. Some one will take my pumpkin oatmeal cookies and someone will love them! Lots of ingredients, so it make not a be a recipe to just bake randomly, but 5 easy steps sure makes up for it!
  7. Apple Chips. This one is for me, I am snacker, but I love healthier snacks, and apples! So perfect! And I asked you before, In recipe 2, does it get any easier? I have the answer. YES! Read the ingredient list…. Done? Do you see what I mean? 1 ingredient! APPLES! so you if you apples and a microwave your ready to go! Personally, even though they are probably great just the way they are and healthy, I would add some cinnamon, I mean what is fall without a little cinnamon in your life? But that’s just me.
  8. Caramel S’more Pops. I love making things with whole marshmallows, kinda like a cake pop. Plus, S’mores are special to me and Matt so this recipe is a shoe in for being made this season. This recipe is so easy and can be done in 10 minutes. So no more worry when you all of a sudden have a guest for dinner. Just keep carmel, chocolate, marshmallows, and graham crackers in your home at all time.. plus, who doesn’t have all that in their home normally anyways?!
  9. White Chocolate Topped Gingerbread Cookies. The writer of the article used these for a cookie exchange, and I love a good cookie exchange, so I may just have to use this recipe for that this year! Plus they are a super cute spin on the normal gingerbread cookie and we love gingerbread cookies in this house. Made it is just the smell they make when the cookie but they eaten before they make it in the tin normally. My favourite part of the recipe is how there isn’t a lot of work on getting the white chocolate part done, a lot of the time I find melting chocolate a pain in the butt. But here you are just putting white chocolate chips on the warm cookie when the come out of the oven and the heat from the cookie is doing the hard work for you.
  10. Caramel Apple Cookie Cups. I have been dying to try these for a year, ask anyone I worked with last christmas, but the season got away from me. So these year I must do it! There is more steps and ingredients to this one, but she breaks it down nice for us as well as has a whole post about the caramel sauce if you are unsure. For a wife whose husband is addicted to apple pie, I think these are the cutest things. Best part, she says to eat them warm. Who doesn’t love a warm cookie, that takes about 10 seconds in the microwave?!?
  11. Pumpkin No Bake Energy Bites. I think my mom would love these, what a great snack they would make for her work. Plus they are full of great things like oats, honey, nutmeg, and ginger. Quick easy and you can add something like white chocolate chips if you have a sweet tooth (I know I do!)
  12. Gingerbread Muffins. Man do these ever look good. I love the icing! Lots of tips in this article to make the perfect replica of these muffins. As the author says “ginger bread and lemon just works!” And of course Gingerbread is always better warm so serve this as dessert at thanksgiving or have friends over just to try this recipe out.
  13. Bloomin’ Baked Apples. Wow. I love a good slow cooker recipe. What is easier then popping something in the slow cooker and it doing all the work. Plus the wait always makes the cooking/baking better. These look so good! Another thing to serve at Thanksgiving maybe? Skip the meal and go straight to a dessert buffet!
  14. Easy Caramel Apple Bars. Easy is in the name so we are good to go. Plus they have oatmeal! Anyways. These bars look and sound great. The article gives you tips as well as provides pictures most of the way. Even better they take about 30 minutes total!
  15. Caramel Apple Pie Cookies. Another great way to do apple pie, with well doing a full apple pie. Even better most the ingredients used are just bought at the store already prepped, like the crust and filling. How easy is that if you do not have a lot of time in your day! Plus I have wanted to try these for a while they look so cute! Another great treat that can be put in a cute mason jar and given out as a gift! maybe even to a teach instead of the normal apple! I also love the step by step photos, so if you are more of a visual learning then this one is for you!.
  16. and last but not least Pumpkin Seeds. These is a fall staple in most families. My mom makes them every year, even though I don’t think anyone eats them. Limited ingredients and limited steps make this easy! But I do love her two very clear tips. Clean them well, and don’t get side tracked. I know I get side tracked a lot so I will take that tip to heart.

Well those are the 16 pictures and 16 great sounding recipes, I know I am gonna try as many as I can this fall season. What about you?

Tell me your favourite fall recipe below! Or Share how one of the above recipes went for you!

**none of these recipes are mine and the photos belong to the original posts!**

My Favourite Direct Sales Companies

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Almost everyone and their mom knows someone who runs their own home direct sales business. Think about you neighbour who sells Mary Kay, or your cousin who sells Park lane or maybe you sell Epicure… Well everyone knows someone, even if you don’t know it. Even more people have tried one. I know I have tried a few different ones some with a little success and some with none. I am by no means the lady who is at the top title position making 6 digits a year that flys around the country and does trainings (a girl can dream though right? My favourite part was always learning all the info and then training others.) But to each their own, I am a sales person by blood and passion but just not that kind of sales.

Anyways. 

I find more often then not when someone comments on something it is something I have gotten from a direct sales company. Where is that necklace from? That is so cute! How did you make this? All are questions I have heard and had to answer. ‘Oh Stella & Dot, It is one of those Direct Selling Companies”. Sometimes I get a look so I go “Like Mary Kay”.. seems like everyone knows Mary Kay so it is a safe one to use. So I thought why not list some of the companies I get my items from that people are just always commenting on. This doesn’t mean I am telling you to, or that you should sign up, but I thought I would share all the same.

Here is that list.

  1. Arbonne. I don’t know if this would be my favourite but it is defiantly the one I use the most. Really I started using it because my friend was selling it and she needed someone to host a practice ladies night on. That night there was a really cool face serum there in a cute bottle and I just had to have it. Now I live by the stuff. If you know me you know I am ALL about the cute packing. Plus we gave her hell at the that ladies night (in a good way) so she deserved a little something. What I use from Arbonne? The Calm serum/lotion/and eye gel, the Sunless Tanner, the Hair Serum, the highlighter, Fit Chews, Make up Remover, and I am dying to try their Greens Balance (Since I never eat enough green vegetables). If you need a more natural anything Arbonne is your place. Now it is not 100% natural but it is way better then your local drug store. And dominantly the women are just beyond pleasant.
  2. Velata. This is a little less known of a company and is actually the sister company of scentsy but it is for CHOCOLATE. Yup they are the perfect size chocolate/cheese fondue pots that run on the same type of thing as the scentsy warmer. A light bulb and a fancy heating plate. I swear buy it. I have their Caramel Milk Chocolate at all my parties along with grapes, bananas and sponge cake! Every party people are just bagging for me, my last even we ran out of chocolate before stuff to dip in and well it was a mutiny! They also do cheese fondues (I hate warm cheese but I do it for the husband), as well as other kitchen tools and spice rubs… plus there new catalogue just came out and theres a ton it. Make sure to find a close rep tho. It is way cheaper to ship with a party and have them deliver to your door, if they are not willing to deliver find someone that will. (I have had this problem with another company, the rep told me FREE shipping if i shipped with the party and I did cause other wise it like $15 or something for a couple things about as thick as paper and one bottle of nail polish. Well she didnt tell me that she wasn’t willing to drop of cause I lived 20-30 minutes away and she still has my $17 nail polish and its been a year cause she won’t ship it to me as it costs her to much! anyways! story for another time) So again, find someone who will offer the deal but follow up! unless you love online shopping and don’t care about shipping fees.
  3. Epicure. Who does’t love love love food? We do in my house and Epicure provides simple spices to dress your meal up with. And I generally find their consultants to be super super friendly. Their Garlic & Herb Sea salt is well the perfect amount of garlic and salt already blended together for you. We don’t really have a rep we shop from, we use to go to markets and stock up when we needed but now that they changed their company rules I guess I have to get a rep. But again they are always pleasant, the product is always changing and they do have some great kitchen tools as well. Chicken steamer anyone?? Works like a charm.
  4. Steeped Tea. I am not a big tea drinker but they have great baking stuff along with some awesome hot chocolate toppers. Plus tea is so in right now it makes for the perfect gift, even better they normally carry pre made sets. I have a friend who sells this as well and she is super pleasant and not one of the pusher people so maybe that is why I like it. Not to much to say about this one since it is pretty straight forward.
  5. South Hill Designs. This is one I tried to sell for a while but had limited luck with since i never could get a hostess to not cancel her event. I tried I promise. I wanted to be working it full time after a year and a half and no such luck. Jewlery is a hard business, as it is growing so fast, but the pieces at South Hill are great! Totally customizable lockets, of great quality and the artists are mostly friendly. Recently they have also expanded away from just lockets and have earrings, bracelets and rings too. And conference was a blast in Scottsdale! Minus who thought Arizona in July would be a think Canadians could survive?

I use the above companies a little or a lot depending on the time of year and what I need. They have shown a pretty good track record for me and I do like being able to help the small businesses out. So if you ever need that something special that you don’t want to be able to just grab off a shelf in any large store then ask around and see who you knows that works one or who you know that knows someone. Plus there is a great thing call google for a reason.

What Direct Companies do you love to shop from?

My Favourite Sauce…

I LOVE food. Lucky for me it has never been a problem that I eat all the time. Ask anyone that has worked with me, my purse has a section dedicated to snacks. They have laughed but who do they come running to when they forgot lunch?!?

Anyways.

A few years back, I don’t remember exactly where or when, I had the most delicious Peppercorn sauce with my steak (I am a meat lover!). Any time my family would go out I would get a steak and peppercorn. It was getting ridiculous. Still is. If there is peppercorn sauce on the menu you might as well bet on me getting it like you bet on the end of a movie you have seen already. So my mission was to learn to make a peppercorn sauce that i could easily do at home. Something to whip up when the man wanted steak. That is were Pinterest and Google quickly became my best weapons.

Took a little while but I found one that was easy and sounded fantastic. Well I lost the recipe after the first time I used it and to this day have not been able to find it. I found one close, and remember it pretty well but it was heart breaking. So, Here is a tried and true recipe. When my dad texts me and it says “I bought whipping cream” you know he was peppercorn sauce…

Peppercorn Sauce. 

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 2 tbsp mixed peppercorns (Slightly ground and separated in 1 tbsp measures)
  • 2 teaspoons Kitchen Bouquet 
  • 8 tbsp whipping cream
  • Thickening mixture (1 tsp corn starch mixed with 2 tsp water)
  • 1/2 tsp of worshire sauce
  • salt and pepper to taste

Steps

  1. Heat pan on stove till hot – medium
  2. Slather olive oil on steaks and put first 1tbsp of peppercorns on (I use a fork to press them in a little) – Flip and repeat on other side
  3. Once pan is heated drop steaks on pan (It will fizzle – and i have to do it two steaks at a time). Let steaks sit for a moment then flip. Pull steaks off when both sides are lighted seared.
  4. Turn down pan heat and add red wine. Let simmer for a couple minutes. 
  5. Add beef broth. Also add in the juices that the steak has now pooled on the plate. Stir and then let simmer for a couple minutes.
  6. Add the remaining pepper corns, whoshisire sauce, and whipping cream while stirring. 
  7. Add kitchen bouquet and let sit till the steaks are almost done on the bbq.
  8. When the steaks are about 5 minutes from being done at the thickening mixture. You will have to turn up the heat a bit to just about a shimmer and constant watch it. If you do not constantly watch and stir it will clump up. But if stirred it will become the perfect consistently. 
  9. Salt and pepper to taste
  10. Put in gravy boat and serve hot (or pour over steaks if you like to plate food before people see it). 

Easy peasy. Sometimes it wont thicken, it may be the heat you have it on or not enough time. But I have never had someone complain, other them myself, about it not being a thick sauce.

This recipe will nicely serve 4-5 people who really like sauce and steak (we love sauce in our family and eat a lot of meat) with a little left over if you have left over steak. It also stores in the fridge perfect and re heats in the microwave perfectly for a work lunch.

Do you have a favourite steak sauce? Tell me about it in the comments and I may just have to try it!

Newlyweds… and Nearlydeads?

Weddings. Many girls dream of their wedding from a young age, some make vision boards and all they need is mister right, others think it will happen if it happens. Me, I knew it was going to happen, and I knew when I wanted it to happen. I didn’t have a vision board… though what girl doesn’t have a interested board, and I haven’t been dreaming of it since third grade. But it we a dream come true when it happened just this past july.

July 25th I married what I consider to be the perfect man. Some question how we fit together as we are so different. We think that makes us the same. This isn’t a post about how to a plan a wedding or what to expect, though I am sure I will write some of those, this is just a post that I wanted to share. Some of our beautiful wedding photos and tell you about our beautiful vendors.

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Our day was perfect, it was over cast but perfectly warm, thank goodness since me and my dress didn’t agree with the heat the sun was giving off when it broke through the clouds for all of five minutes of photo taking. Yes we had some minor hiccups like: His ring not fitting because the swelling from the humidity, the insurance going missing, an unwelcome guest showing up and the fiasco with the bar… but they all make good stories.. except that bar, that one pisses me off.

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Our venue was lovely. We picked it off the internet, not seeing it in person till two days before, and we were lucky… it was even better then the photos! Thank you Kildara Farms for the venue, and Fresh View Events for hosting us. Kildara is in North Sannich on Vancouver Island. Just breath taking!

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Back in High school I had this crazy biology science teacher, he was the best, but he always said Victoria/Vancouver Island was for Newlyweds and Nearlydeads. Yes there are a lot of retired people out there or people running their own small businesses, but I would raise my future children there in a heartbeat. And there was no better place for our wedding. Plus our guests loved the retired layer back feel of Sidney (where the hotel was).

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Also just a shout out to our awesome vendors! Sarah from Fresh View was beyond amazing, and such a help with us planning from a far. Courtney for Courtney Clarke Photography, there is no words for the beautiful photos she took (the ones above). Cassie from Cassie O’neil Cinematography. Danielle from Trend Decor! So many compliments on the decor. John from Moonlight catering, many people said it was the best wedding food they had ever had! Barbara Dinsmore, our Celebrant, she couldn’t have written a better custom ceremony if she tried. Oh there was just so many great people we were so lucky to find!

What a perfect day! What a perfect man.

Hello There!

Thanks for stopping in! First things first, a little bit about me and my expectations for this blog.

I am CJ, I am 24, born on the west coast but relocated at 3 1/2. Now I live with my husband, we are still newlyweds!! When I am not working or binge watching netflix you can find me reading, hoping from farmers market to farmers market, cooking, baking, having guests over, planing the next time I am having guests over, and spending time with my family. We are simple people.

You can expect this blog to be filled with recipes of my favourites meals, and most recent attempts. Along with reviews of my favourite products, posts about parties I am hosting, photos of our adventures, pictures of my Outfit of the day, and so much more. Hopefully there will be a little something for everyone!

Please realize this blog was started as a idea, and if it gets readers great… BUT I will be blogging, typing, and writing in the way that it flows out of me. So the sentences may not be complete, or they may be run ons. The grammar may not be perfect and there could be a lot of sarcasm. If that bothers you, sorry to hear that. Over time that may change as people change but for now it feels right to just type and go with it.

Anyways on to my first post!