Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Phoenix Magazine - Reader's Choice Best Author Award

On Sunday as I was taking the kids into our church nursery, already a bit stressed about how the morning had gone (spending over 40 minutes trying to get my daughter to eat her breakfast, changing my son twice before loading both in the car, pouring my coffee and rushing off to church that is literally 2 minutes away that we always seem to be late for) when all of a sudden I was greeted with a smile from my daughters favorite nursery volunteer, David. (we tend to call him "favorite david")

David proceeds to say, "Hey I read about you in the Phoenix Magazine."

Looking around - "Who me?"

"Ya, in the Phoenix Best Of - you were named Best Author - Congratulations."

"WHAT???!!! Me?? HOLY SMOKES!! Really?? Are you sure?"

"Ya, you're Lora Roberts right? Just Kidding - no no, I know who you are, ya, you won best author. I saw it in the magazine"

Rushing off to the Lobby - Quickly calling my mom, "MOM! This guy at church just said he saw me in the Phoenix Magazine - QUICK - GO GET ONE!

Low and behold - Jaclyn Douma has won the 2012 Reader's Choice Award for Best Author in the Phoenix Magazine!!

Here is the direct link: http://www.phoenixmag.com/best-of-the-valley/media/reader

But quick - go grab yourself a copy - I'm on page 125!

Tell your friends too - you know cuz you know the "Best Author" and all.


Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ourfirstyear
Website: http://www.a-sugarnspice-life.com/
Sugar Loco: http://www.sugarloco.com/?s=jaclyn+douma

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

My daughter was born a baker...or maybe just a sugar-holic

My daughter is by far my most favorite little girl in the world! She has brought me ridiculous amounts of joy and laughter while challenging me every day to be a better person and mother. (i.e. driving me bonkers by making obscene request like her water not being cold enough or not giving her enough room on the couch....oh the joys...learning to be patient is an every day lesson....I'm learning...)

Well, lately I've been noticing more and more that this child is destined to be a baker! (That or have a personal baker that comes in every day and prepares anything her heart desires........kinda like a "mom")

 Whenever I bake I have always included her in every part of the process....even since she has just an infant...


....and I LOVE IT! She loves stirring the batter, rolling out the dough and on numerous occasions has come flying into the kitchen the moment she hears the electric mixer shut off!


(only joking......)

Well the inspiration of this blog was from a few little conversations I've had with little Miss Aliyah lately.

Conversation on Sunday:

Ali: Mama, I'm getting Hungry
Me: I brought you a banana...
Ali: I think I need some chocolate....

Photobucket Photobucket

Conversation Today:

Ali: Mama I'm getting hungry
Me: Well that's good, I'll make you lunch...
Ali (said in a very toddler type way): I DON'T WANT LUNCH - I want butter!


Between the Chocolate and the Butter you can see where one would reasonably assume that this child is destined to be a baker! 

I love you sweet Aliyah Joy!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Throw-back Thursday: Three Little Pumpkins


First Published: Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Woo-Hoo Wednesday: Three Little Pumpkins...


In light of the beautiful month of October, I would like to dedicate this months posts to all highlight a little bit of fall. You may be asking yourself, "but why was yesterday's post about measuring flour?" And I have the answer -- because I didn't realize it was October already! Remember the sleep deprivation?  So from here on out we'll be focusing on OCTOBER!!

I absolutely love the month of October. First off, it hosts one of my very favorite holidays, Halloween. But mostly because I get to start transforming the house to feel like fall. I say feel because really, here in Arizona we don't necessarily get the changing of the seasons....we get BLAZING HOT YOU THINK YOUR SKIN IS GOING TO MELT OFF....and then we get the most beautiful weather you can imagine. Which this morning, as I type today's post, I am enjoying the "beautiful" part. Our french doors are open, windows all cracked, letting in the cool breeze of fall.

I wanted to take a minute to talk about Three Little Pumpkins. Our home is actually covered in decorations from floor to ceiling, that i have been collecting since I was little. (I seriously had a shed that I purchased when I was about 16 to store all of my *future* home decorations...I know my dad LOVED that one). Anyways, since I do my best to focus on cost effectiveness; shopping the discount stores, decorating with family heirlooms and always walking to the sale section, I wanted to show you 10 different ways you could arrange a centerpiece using just Three Little Pumpkins and some common pieces you may have around your home. As you will see, I used the same three pumpkins, the same strip of material, and same table for each of the pictures. What's so great about these ideas is realistically, you could change up your decorations all throughout the month (and even into the month of November) for no extra spending. Change it up and your friends will notice it each time they come to your home or even just rearrange for yourself. It's so fun and will keep you smiling all day long with just a few bucks from the grocery store.


Using a green goblet that I have in my cupboard, I flipped it over and placed one pumpkin on the base of the cup. Then positioned the other two against the cup.


Using one of my very favorite glass bowls, I displayed the pumpkins bunched together. If you wanted to spend a few extra bucks, pick up some flowers and position them throughout the display. (That or "shop" your home, I'm sure you have some extra foliage that will make it look like you brought the outside, in)


If you take two glass bowls you can arrange your pumpkins in a number of ways, just have fun with it!


I absolutely love candles, especially right now with the glow of all of my autumn decor. Place a few votive candles along with your pumpkins to make a long centerpiece down a table, over a mantle or in your entry way.


By taking a few votive holders I was able to make a three piece centerpiece that I have fallen in love with! These cracked glass votives are at the top of my favorites list and can be found at pretty much any local craft store.


Pedestals are also some of the favorite pieces that I own. I then paired it with a rice filled vase and voila! Beautiful centerpiece once again.


I'm sure you've all seen hurricanes filled with pumpkins, squash or any other holiday decor. I think this would be so cute paired with little white pumpkins as well. But remember, we're sticking with the Three Little Pumpkins!


Decorating with dried beans, noodles and rice have become a new obsession of mine and I think they compliment the fall decor so nicely. Search your pantry for your favorite noodles and some rice and you'll be adding those little accents that everyone will be talking about.


If you have a small easel, decorating with plates is a great way to spruce up your kitchen table.


And last but not least: Decorating with OATMEAL! I love love love it! I'm thinking these might make it to the Thanksgiving table next month!

I hope I was able to give you a little inspiration for fall. Remember, it's ok to take some decorations down (pictures, figurines, etc) and put them in your closet for a few months. De-clutter and then Redecorate!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Chocolate Raspberry Truffles

Have y'all had or made the famous Oreo Truffles? So simple right?

Well, for those of you who haven't, here's the recipe, right on the Kraft website: Click HERE

Oreo, Cream Cheese, Chocolate Chips - Vwa-La - Oreo Truffle!
No baking, no cooling, just refrigerate and Enjoy!

Now, what if I told you they get better? And after I tell you how to make them better, I'll tell you they get ....E-V-E-N......B-E-T-T-E-R! Yep, true story.

Here's the better:

Did you know there are mint and peanut butter flavored Oreos?? Did you realize that if you substitute the regular Oreos in the recipe then you've got two new flavors?

Better right?

Ok, It get's better part:


There I said it. I said I'd show you something better - and I did! Wam-Bam-Thank You- Ma'am


Seek out the pink package. Follow the recipe for Oreo Truffles (found pretty much all over the internet). Then top with half a raspberry and Enjoy! Seriously, so delicious


** Note: For dipping chocolate I usually use chocolate chips with a little oil or use melting chocolates**

**Also, if you refrigerate the Oreo's and cream cheese mixture before dipping in chocolate they form into balls better when dipping in warmed chocolate**

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Hey Jaclyn: Skillet Stew {By Karen}


 Guess what I cooked up tonight? It's a special "Karen Creation" & I call it Skillet Stew! It is the hubs FAVORITE meal. I can't remember exactly how I came up with it, but I've been making it since shortly after we got married. I know it started with a recipe for some kind of stew & I didn't have everything it needed so I improvised. Improvised meals are sometimes the BEST, don't you think?


The cool thing about this recipe is that it only takes 45 minutes or so & the most effort you put into it is to chop up some potatoes! It is such a hearty, relatively healthy & easy meal, but it will make the biggest meat lover HAPPY!

So here it is...


Karen's Skillet Stew

1lb ground beef
2 potatoes, peeled & cut into chunks
1 1/4 cups Beef Broth
Frozen mixed veggies, no exact quantity, whatever your family likes and will eat
1 can creamed corn

Brown the ground beef, season with salt & pepper, garlic & cumin. Add potatoes & beef broth to skillet. Simmer 20-30 minutes until potatoes are fork tender. Add frozen veggies and creamed corn. Heat on med-high until completely hot (to cook the veggies, since they're frozen & all, hah!)

That's it! My hubby loves this stew with corn bread or a nice French bread slice - so easy & delicious. Hearty, warm & cozy.

Have fun with it & I hope your reader's enjoy it too!


All About Karen