Sunday, November 29, 2015

Mochas at Home: A Recipe

I've never been a coffee drinker. Always loved the smell, but couldn't stomach it. 

I'm thinking coffee purists would still say I'm not a coffee drinker, but I've developed a serious love of mochas. You know, grown up hot chocolate - but the kind you can drink and drive with :)

The downside has been that they haven't tasted *quite* the same made at home - and I can't justify spending all those dollars on a caffeine fix , so mostly I've done without. 

Well, Advent is starting off with a bang because today - TODAY - I finally figured out a less expensive home brew that rivals that $5 cup. 

It all started with an IKEA French press for under $10 and a bag of ground espresso blend. 

Espresso (or dark roast of choice) Concentrate:

4 cups water
2 cups ground beans

24 hours cold brewing in a container of your choice in the fridge. 

After 24 hours, strain and reserve liquid in the fridge. (Mine lives in the French press in my fridge.)

When you're ready to brew your mocha:

2 Tablespoons cocoa powder
1 Tablespoon sugar (or sugar substitute)
2 Tablespoons very hot water

Mix cocoa powder, water and sugar into a syrup. 

Add 3 Tablespoons Espresso Concentrate (adjust this up or down a tablespoon as desired, 3 is perfect for my tastebuds!)

10 ounces hot or steamed milk

Add milk to mocha solution and stir. 

Now make a cup, sit down in your favorite pjs and do some Advent reading with an online shopping chaser. Make your season prayerful and convenient, right!!?! :)

If you stop by my shop (Annery's Handmade on Etsy - shop from my tab up top!), be sure to use the coupon code SMALLBIZ20 through 11/30 for 20% off. 

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Theme Thursday {Groups}

Theme Thursday Oct NovLinking up with California to Korea for Theme Thursday!

Last weekend, we had family pictures for the parish directory.

Since everyone was already dressed in coordinating clothes, and the weather was beautiful, we went to our local nature preserve and snapped a few shots (with the help of my niece).

Here are some outtakes of our "group" shots :)

File this under "things I made my kids do"

Friday, November 13, 2015

Bursting with Pride

Last weekend, L competed in her very first tumbling meet.  Her events were trampoline and double mini trampoline.

She did a great job and I was so proud of her, I found myself on the edge of spontaneous, big, blubbering tears a few times.  Thankfully for the comfort of the complete strangers around me, I held it together!

She placed in both events - second and third.  A great start and it's safe to say, she's hooked.  She's already talking about the December meet :)

Mommy pride overload complete....for today :)

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Theme Thursday {All the Catch-up}

Theme Thursday Oct NovBy my count, I'm only three weeks behind (gah!)

So, I'm going to play a little catch-up!

Linking up with California to Korea once again - and very truantly!

10/22 - Same Photo, Different Angles

I opened an Etsy shop at the beginning of October (can't imagine why I haven't blogged much - ha!).  As a part of the process, I took lots of product photos.  A. Lot.

10/29 - Silhouette

 I took a series of shots of a full moon recently.  While I still have a lot to learn about my settings, I love this one because of the shadows and depth.  The silhouette of the trees in the foreground and the barest shape of the moon, something about this one just sits well with me.

11/5 - Catchlights

Ah, the light in her eyes.  This is a special catchlight.  This is my girl after her first tumbling meet.  She competed in two events, trampoline and double mini trampoline and came home with second and third place trophies.  That catchlight?  It's about doing something that makes you deep down inside yourself proud....and your hard work made your mom so proud she almost broke into blubbery tears no less than twice.

11/12 - Close ups

Recently, we've been helping with my nephew a couple days a week.  L is a "baby person" to her core.  She loves babies.  Here's a close up of their sweet snuggles.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Our Family's Jesse Tree: A Review

Author provided book for review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Recently, I got a copy of the digital book Our Family's Jesse Tree.

I love the Jesse Tree tradition.  If you're not familiar with it, the Jesse Tree is a set of images that tell the story of salvation from the start of creation. 

Each picture corresponds with a scripture reading.  It's like a miniature bible timeline study for Advent.  A small thing you can do each day that gives your kids an overview of our entire story.

With this book, you can bring the salvation story to life in a way that works for your family, crafty skills, and speed of life. 

It includes each of the scripture readings that accompany the images - as well as a prayerful reflection.

The book offers detailed directions - great for the beginning crafter.  It offers a variety of ways the ornaments can be created, including:
  • Printing the pictures
  • Printing the pattern for coloring
  • Printing the pattern pieces for craft foam 
  • Printing the pattern pieces for felt or embroidering
This project will absolutely meet you where you are, wherever you are.

Maybe this is a season of busyness for your family - print the pictures or let the toddlers color the patterns to use.

Maybe you have a budding new artist in your home - let them create with colored pencils, craft foam or felt.

Or, maybe crafting is your downtime.  This book offers you a how-to guide to a beautiful tradition.

My youngest is just getting old enough to color and sit for a few moments.  My oldest is able to do quite a bit more in the crafting department.  This Advent, we'll be able to print two sets of ornaments and let the girls create their own sets. 

I'm looking forward to incorporating this book into our season, and now that I have a beautiful set of patterns, we'll be able to use them to the girls' abilities over the years to come.

You can find it for sale - and very reasonably priced - here: 
To find more of Jen's beautiful work and patterns, check her out on Facebook or find her on Instagram at @faithandfabric

Friday, November 6, 2015

Sharpen Your Sword

As a young teen, I remember my mom retelling her reading of a book on a saint being attacked by demons.  She was reading it late at night and my father was out of town.  A pretty great time to spook yourself out.  But, then the voice of Mary spoke to her heart, "What would you do if there were someone attacking your child?"  Of course, she would fight them.  She would go after them with the veracity of a wild animal....and in that moment, Mary said, "Aren't you my child?"

Mama's got our back.

Still, I've always been abjectly terrified by the idea of demons attacking me.  On the nights when the fear crept in, I would pray that I never face such trials.  I would pray, "God, I'm not strong enough for that."

Every now and then throughout my life, I've felt attacks pulling and pushing on my emotions, on my life.  No physical assaults, but there all the same.

At the beginning of October, I opened an Etsy shop that includes little knit roses for counting out the prayers of the rosary - especially helpful in the hard-to-pray categories of little fidgeters and older hands unable to hold small beads.

Before opening, I thought about how these would help more families bring a decade (or five!) into the realm of possible with family life.  I thought about little hands squishing the roses and proudly placing them in a basket or the family prayer space as each prayer was said.

I didn't think about how irritating lots of little hands holding roses and praying would be to the enemy.

I didn't think about how all those prayers - all those potential prayers coming from my knitting needles would be a declaration of war.

But, over the last month, my three year old has been plagued with nightmares.

My ten year old becomes anxious when she's not around others in our house.  The dog growls in strange moments.

There's been a lot of holy water and praying in these parts lately and things seem to have calmed down. (prayers appreciated though!)

After the first week, orders were really slow, and I started to doubt that my shop was such a good idea.

But it really came back to wanting these roses out there.  However many I sell, whatever profits or losses, I want little fingers to hold something soft and have sweet memories and attachments to the rosary.

This week, I've been working on a little bonus to toss in with the roses......and it's been a symphony of errors.

First, my printer decided to print everything in a lovely zebra pattern.

Then, I took the materials to my parents' house to print.  My computer wouldn't link up with the printer....the one that's it's been linked to for years.

After I was able to open the file on my dad's PC, I printed it out......then I noticed that everything had somehow shifted and the font was askew.  Awesome-sauce.

So, I'll keep plugging away.  One of these times, I'm going to get these cards to print right.  Until then, accept my slightly askew bonus with purchase of the roses - just as soon as I get them laminated.  What could possibly go wrong?  :-)

Now that I'm engaged in battle, it's time to sharpen my sword.  The battle has always been raging, but, now I'm paying attention.

If you'd like to sharpen your sword, take 20% off your order with the code MYSWORD20. 

Shop now.