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Pumpkin Spice Popcorn with White Chocolate Drizzle

Is anyone else just really feeling fall all of a sudden? It might have something to do with our suddenly-much-cooler temps this week. Whatever is, I’m suddenly craving the warm, toasty flavors of the season. Which is why tonight, I’m encouraging you to make a tasty snack, snuggle up under a cozy blanket with your honey, and watch a little fall tv (or Hocus Pocus– I won’t tell!). You might have all of the ingredients for this quick snack in your kitchen already. If you don’t, it’s worth the trip to the grocery store, I promise!

popcorn

Pumpkin Spice Popcorn with White Chocolate Drizzle

Ingredients:

2 Tbsp coconut oil (divided)

1/3 C popcorn kernels

1 1/2 C brown sugar

1/2 C water

1 Tbsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp ginger

1/4 tsp salt

1/8 tsp ground cloves

1 bag Craisins

1 bag (or around 2 cups) of pecans or walnuts (or your favorite nut)

1 bag white chocolate chips (we love Ghiradelli)

cooking spray

You will also need:

1 large dutch oven with lid

2 cookie sheets

1 large bowl

1 medium sized saucepan

1 wooden spoon

1 cereal bowl (or small mixing bowl)

1 candy thermometer

Preparation:

In a dutch oven, melt 1 Tbsp coconut oil, and pour in 1/3 C popcorn kernels. Cover the pot. Over medium heat (and using pot holders), shake the pot periodically until you hear the kernels begin to pop. This can take a few minutes. Once they start popping, shake continuously so that the kernels don’t burn. Listen for the kernels to stop popping. Alternatively, remove from heat when the lid of the pot begin to lift from being over-full. Allow the popcorn to cool for a few minutes, and then scoop (do not pour– you’ll end up with extra, unpopped kernels from the bottom of the pot) into a large bowl.

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees (F), and spray two cookie sheets with cooking spray. In a medium sized saucepan, combine brown sugar and water. Stir to combine well, and then cook over low heat until the candy thermometer reads 235 degrees, or reaches the soft ball mark. If you don’t have a candy thermometer, you can cook the mixture 5-7 minutes, until it boils up and can’t be stirred down.

While your syrup is cooking, combine all spices in a small bowl. Pour over the dry, cool, popcorn, and toss to coat well. Layer nuts and Craisins over the top of the popcorn. Do NOT stir them in.

When syrup reaches appropriate temperature, remove from heat and pour immediately over the layered popcorn/nuts/Craisins. Using a long wooden spoon, stir gently, but well, coating the popcorn and causing the add ins to become stuck in the mixture. Popcorn should be lightly coated, rather than completely submerged in syrup. Pour popcorn mixture immediately onto two greased cookie sheets. Spread gently, and place in the oven, setting a timer for fifteen minutes.

When the timer reaches the last two minutes of cooking time, combine remaining coconut oil and white chocolate chips into a microwave safe bowl. Alternatively, you can re-use the saucepan you used to make the syrup. Just make sure it’s well rinsed first. Do NOT heat yet.

Remove popcorn from oven, and allow to cool to room temperature. Gently break large clumps apart.

Warm chocolate chip/coconut oil mixture slowly, either cooking over low heat and stirring constantly, or by microwaving in 30 second intervals, stirring after each. In either case, warm and stir continually until the mixture is completely smooth. If it doesn’t seem quite fluid enough for drizzling, you can add extra coconut oil, 1 tsp at a time, until the desired consistency is met. Using an oven mitt to hold the bowl, and a fork or spoon, drizzle the hot chocolate mixture over the popcorn. Allow chocolate to cool and harden completely. Store popcorn in an airtight container. Or…eat it all during the course of one movie. Totally do-able. Just don’t ask me how I know, m’kay?

Rachel_signature

Re-Funk It or Junk It-Media Stand DIY

I found this big credenza, sitting lonely at a garage sale.  I was immediately drawn to it. I threw it in the back of my truck and it was mine!   I love Mid-Century Modern furniture and I had a project in mind for this baby.  I had been looking high and low for a credenza to re-funk and use as a media stand!  It was my lucky day!  Unfortunately, I didn’t get a before picture of it, just a picture of it after it had been sanded a bit and two of the drawers had been removed. I was too excited to get it started and completely forgot to take one!  Lesson learned!

Media Stand Banner'

Anyway, this was a fairly simple project.  It was sanded a bit, which I wouldn’t do if I were to do this project all over again.  It didn’t need it.  The paint has good adhering qualities and it’s a step that just isn’t necessary if the existing finish is flat.  It was wiped down with a damp cloth and allowed to dry.

Now comes the fun part!  I removed all of the drawers and painted both the body of the credenza and drawers with one coat of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in a color called Florence.  I wouldn’t normally choose something this bright so I had to be brave.  We had recently been on a trip to the Pacific Northwest and for some reason, this color just spoke to me.  It reminded me of driving into Seattle with the mist coming over the mountains.  I snapped this pic quickly out of the car window on that trip.  For some reason, this color is calming to me and what I had always imagined that drive into Seattle would be like.  Poetic right?  Mountains

Back to the DIY…Make sure to paint the inside of the piece where the drawers should go if you are going to use it as a media cabinet.  You don’t want any of the unpainted parts to show when you put your electronics in it.  If you look closely at the pic, you’ll see I neglected this step and had to go back and fix it later, but shhh….don’t tell.  I let it dry completely and added a second coat of Florence.  After the second coat dried completely, I distressed it with fine grit sandpaper.  I sanded lightly, just on the edges and where the wear would naturally occur.  I wiped it down again with a dry rag to get any of the sanding residue off.

Next, I waxed with Annie Sloan Clear Wax.  When you’re waxing a project, it’s important to use a small amount of wax and rub the heck out of it.  In my experience, a waxing brush really helps.  I tend to use way too much if I use an old rag to apply the wax.  It’s an investment, but it’s completely worth it.  Let it dry for a few minutes and then rub the wax off with a clean rag.  I use old t-shirts for this.  What you’re left with is a slight sheen and a smooth, buttery finish.  I went ahead and put a coat of dark wax on to give it a more aged appearance.  I used the same technique as I used for the light wax, with a waxing brush, I applied a small amount of dark wax and then rubbed the heck out of it.  When you’re waxing, do small sections rather than trying to do the whole piece at the same time.  You’ll get less blotchiness that way.

After I waxed, I let it dry completely, for a few days while I picked out hardware.  For this piece, I wanted long, skinny handles.  I wanted them to accent the overall shape of the piece.  I kept two of the drawers out to house the DVR and DVD players.  In order for this to work as a media stand, the cords needed to be fed through the back of the credenza, where the drawers would normally go.  That’s an easy fix.  I drilled a hold big enough at the back of the credenza for the cords to feed through.

Media Trio

Voila!  That was it!  We  moved this baby into the basement and put the TV in it’s new home.  I love the way it turned out.  It’s funky and fits with the guy space in the basement.

End Tables

I ended up finding two little end tables at a tag sale.  I did the same  process on those as I did above on the media stand. Now my basement TV room is complete!  Open the chips and turn on the football!

Jen Graphic

Finding Hope

There are phrases in your life that someone mutters and it completely changes your life… forever. These things can be good or bad, a sleepy “I love you” for the first time as you are snuggled on the couch, a quick “this is not working”, you know those types of things.

Finding HOpeThere is one that changed my life more than any other so far, the words for me are “I am not seeing anything.” It was a sunny, warm Friday morning and my husband and I were sitting in the doctors office, video camera in hand, super excited to see our peanut for the first time. We got called back to the ultrasound room and got all set up, I was 12 weeks. This was especially exciting for us because we had been trying to have kids for almost two years, that is 24 months of disappointment, 720 days of finding out that your friends are pregnant and finally it was our turn. But, as the tech started the ultrasound instead of excitedly turning the screen towards us he turned it towards himself and instead of telling us he was measuring the baby or telling us what the heartbeat was he ask again when I got my positive test. Then he got up and walked out. I think this is where my husband turned off the video camera. A few minutes later my doctor came in with the tech and they both sat down and started the ultrasound back up. A couple minutes later, after pointing and whispering the tech muttered “See, I am not seeing anything, ” under his breath.  Then the tears started.

Long story short, I was three months into an ectopic pregnancy (they finally did see something but it was in my left tube, not my uterus) and after a roller coaster of a weekend on Sunday night I ended up in emergency surgery with a ruptured tube. The moment, days and weeks after this were filled with pain, darkness, empty words and an utter reliance on my faith to make it through. One thing it wasn’t filled with were people offering to talk when I was ready. No one that I knew had ever had an ectopic pregnancy. Sure many people would whisper as they hugged me “I had a miscarriage too,” but no one talked about it loudly and no one offered any more explanation. That is when I became aware of the stigma related to pregnancy loss.

Many women will experience at least one miscarriage, a lot of women will experience more than one. Miscarriages are VERY common things (please note, I am not saying routine, I am saying many women have been there), but they are VERY RARELY discussed. For some odd reason there is a stigma attached with pregnancy loss. There is an overwhelming feeling that you should not be sad, you should not feel a loss, after all you never actually met the baby right?? Women are expected to return to work quickly and emotions that follow a miscarriage are mostly swept under the rug. Many time, partners don’t even discuss the loss much after the initial discussion of what is happening. Women begin to feel isolated and that there is no reason they should feel sad or upset still. The inability to talk about miscarriages can have a lasting effect on women that experience them.   So I refused to be silent. I talk to people about my experience and I always offer a shoulder to cry on. I talk about how hard every January is for me (that would have been when I was due) and how I smile and think about my baby during family events. I write in a journal of all the milestones that they are missing and about the memories they would be making if there were here, for me it justifies my pain and the missing that I feel. It is amazing and wonderful how quickly a mother becomes attached to her baby before she even meets them, the attachment is there the moment you find out you are pregnant. You start doing certain things and stop doing other things to ensure the health of your baby, from the very beginning the love is unconditional and when you lose them so is the pain. It is important to talk about the pain after a miscarriage (if you want to!) and it is important that when women are comfortable they share their experiences. The support that comes from sharing your experiences is life changing and healing. The pain will always be there, but the isolation doesn’t have to be there. October is pregnancy and infant loss awareness month. If you are comfortable share your story with someone that is going through the same thing, you may be the only one that offers and helps them begin to heal.

~Hope

Junk It or Refunk It-Faux Mercury Glass DIY

I’ve been lugging around this windowpane for roughly 8 years.  My kiddo was a pre-walker when I bought it at an antique sale on a rainy, Father’s Day weekend.  It’s been through three moves and I still haven’t done anything with it.  I was perusing Pinterest and it hit me….MERCURY GLASS!  It was a  super easy project!  I even went out on a limb and strapped my Iphone to a patio chair and risked my neighbors questioning my sanity, just to bring you a video to show how easy it is!  And that my friends, is the other big announcement here at TEoM.  We now have our own TEoM YouTube Channel to show you all sorts of fun stuff.  We are so excited to share all kinds of new content with you!

Windowpane Header

But, back to the windowpane mercury glass DIY.  Here’s what I started with.  Pretty plain right?

Windowpane beforeI chose to use Annie Sloan Chalk paint in a color called Arles.  If I haven’t shared this with you enough, I’ll say it again.  I LOVE Annie Sloan paint products.  They don’t require any prep.  Prep takes the pep out of a project and honestly, my attention span isn’t wide enough to go through all of that.  So, I taped off my windows and painted two coats of Arles, letting it dry in between coats.  Then I waxed the windowpane with Annie Sloan Clear Wax and let it dry for 15 minutes.  Then I waxed it with a 50:50 mixture of Annie Sloan Clear and Dark wax mixed together.  I let it dry for a day.

Now comes the fun part.  All this requires is a covered work area, Krylon Looking Glass Spray, a rag and a spray bottle of white vinegar mixed with an equal part of plain old tap water.  It’s super easy and super fast.  Here’s the video DIY on how to create faux mercury glass.  It’s my first ever video so be gentle people and I apologize in advance for the shaking of the spray paint can and the abrupt ending, but my phone died.  You can add as many layers of the Looking Glass Spray and vinegar as you’d like to get the look you want.

Mercury Glass Final

After I finished the mercury glass, I let it dry completely and asked my handyman (Dad) to add a handle for me.  Voila!  I’m hanging this baby up today!  I love the way it turned out.  I may have an old door in my garage that might become faux mercury glass as well.  Stay tuned!

Jen Graphic