Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Vintage Sale Online Tonight!

I'm posting a vintage sale tonight on my Instagram account!
I would love for you to hop over and check it out!

http://instagram.com/belljarvintage  (or click on the instagram link on the top right of my blog.)

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Hello, Tangelo! Smoothie Recipe & Mason Jar Tumblers

I recently found a 3 pack of vintage-inspired Mason jar tumblers by Aladdin at my local Costco. They were a great deal and had 3 extra straws to boot. As much as I love real mason jars {in evidence from my blog header}, glass is not kid-friendly in my house.

About the same time as I found these great mugs, I started a green smoothie kick. I am not a big breakfast person. I can go hours in the morning without food, just coffee. But I am completely aware of how unhealthy that is... so, enter green smoothies. And the mason jar tumblers have lids and straws, so when I am dashing out the door to chauffeur my littles, it is a portable breakfast.

This morning I tried a new recipe inspired by the tangelos I picked up at the store the other day. At first I was concerned that it would turn out brown, which I find utterly unappetizing. Orange and green, should not equal green... but somehow they do! Look at the pic for yourself!

My recipe was adapted from this recipe from Once a Month Mom's Tangerine Dream Smoothie. I only changed it because I did not have some of the ingredients on hand. {By the way, Tangelos are a type of Tangerines. Just something new I learned today. Thought I'd share that little nugget with you.}

Here is my latest smoothie recipe if you are interested...

Hello, Tangelo! Smoothie (serves 2)

2 tangelos (peeled, seeded, and sectioned)
2 cups of organic baby spinach

1 scoop of vanilla Protein powder of your choice 
1 banana

honey to taste (optional, I used about a tablespoon)
handful of ice cubes

Put the tangelo sections {and any extra juice from the cutting board} into the blender first.
Then add the spinach. {Taylor Organic is my favorite}
Blend until there are no bits of green left - just a smooth bright green liquid.
Now add your protein powder {I have Whey Factor french vanilla}
If you don't have/like protein powder, you may want to add some almond, coconut, so or regular milk.
Blend again, as protein powder can clump a little when mixed with too many items. Just a quick blend will do.
Next add your banana. At this point, you may want to taste test. If it is tart {and that's not your thing} add some honey, sugar or stevia. I prefer honey.
Finally you can throw in a handful of ice cubes to make it cold and thick. If I have extra banana in the freezer, sometimes I use that for the 1 banana and skip the ice.

Pour and sip! This complete recipe fit perfectly in my Mason jar tumbler shown here, which could easily be shared by two.

When sharing for 2, each serving is approximately 215 calories according to Calorie Count.

A sunny, refreshing {and vitamin A and C filled} breakfast smoothie.

P.S. This recipe is not intended for weight loss. I have started consuming green smoothies to get more green veggies in my diet and adding protein to my mornings. As I mentioned, I am prone to not eating at all until lunch. And 2 cups of spinach a day would not happen in my day without a little fruit or honey to make me like it. :) So for me, this is a good solution for right now.

Calorie Count gave the recipe an A! Bursting with vitamins and goodness... but lots of sugar/carbs from the honey and tangelos. So beware if you are watching carb/sugar intake.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

A to Z About Me

Again, MIA for months at a time. 26 more days until both kiddos are off at school! Hurray! I just might throw a party - don't worry - I'll take pics for you!

In the meantime, here's a quick and fun survey post to share a little about yourself ... (try it, you'll like it!)

A - Available or married?
Married for almost 11 years. Whew! Over whole decade. Yep. I'm impressed, too.

B- Book?
All-time favorite is probably To Kill a Mockingbird. I am currently reading Tomorrow River by Lesley Kagan. I love reading books written from a child's perspective.

C- Cake or Pie?
That's like asking me to choose which is my favorite child. I love them both the same. Really, I do!

D- Drink of Choice?
Coffee with a ridiculous amount of French Vanilla Coffeemate non-dairy creamer. Not the fat free kind. Not the powder. 
source - btw, this site is loaded with gorgeous photography!
E- Essential Item?
Was it not obvious? French Vanilla Coffeemate non-dairy creamer! Just kidding. Sort of.
Essential item for me? Sleep. I am not the kind of person that can function on lack of sleep. I remember seeing an episode of Jon & Kate Plus 8, and Kate Gosling was describing how much sleep she got. She went to bed around 2am and woke up by 6am. Something like that. I remember thinking that I would have to be hospitalized. I could never get enough sleep. It regulates my mood, my body's agreement to get me from one place to another, and it keeps me from getting migraines.

F- Favorite Color?
How to pick just one? Aqua is definitely at the top of the list. That and greige. Top two of the moment.

G- Game to play or watch?
Hockey. Hockey. And more Hockey. :)
My son plays on a travel team, which my husband coaches. I had know earthly idea how much I would come to love this sport. But I can't even stand in skates, so no, I do not play it myself. That would end up in an ER visit. But my 4 year old daughter is learning to play and really starting to get fast. I can't wait to watch her play on a team one day. She is fierce!

H- Hometown?
I was born in Peoria, Illinois and lived there for the first 13 years of my life. Then I moved to Rockford, IL, for high school. I graduated from Western Illinois University in Macomb. Upon graduation, I decided I'd seen enough of Illinois. I got in a car and headed West without a destination or job. After nearly exhausting my bank account, I found and job in Denver, Colorado, for about a year. I moved back to Illinois to live with my sister in the Chicago suburbs. Here I met my husband and started a family. I still wish I lived in Colorado, but we are currently in a great 'burb to raise kids.

I- Indulgence?
Ice cream. Almost every night. Yes, I realize that is not considered within the limits of "everything in moderation". But in my defense, I cannot have a glass of wine, bottle of beer or something stronger. I had a complete thyroidectomy in 2000 and strangely have not been able to metabolize alcohol since. Not even a sip of champagne at my wedding. So, ice cream is my poison of choice.

Source - isn't this photo scrum-diddily-umptious?
J- Job?
The hardest I've ever had... Stay at home mom. I ran my own business from home for years. But when my daughter was almost 2, I realized that she (very unlike my son) was not the kind of child to play quietly at my feet. She was the monkey that would scale walls and kitchen cabinets to get a bottle of Benadryl because it's yummy. She requires not only 24-hour surveillance, but 86,400-second surveillance. 

K- Kids and names?
2 expert bedtime avoiders (Can you guess what time I am typing this post?)
Jackson is 9-1/2 years old and Izabella is 4. No, the age difference was NOT on purpose. Jack has an incredible almost photographic memory, so his nickname is Jacksonian (like Smithsonian). Bella is an adrenaline-junky who would like the world to revolve around her, which it does - and so her nickname is Princess Monster.

L- Life is incomplete without?
My family. They drive me certifiably crazy, but I love them like crazy. I am getting used to being without my son for hours at a time - school, sports, etc - but when I am all alone - no Princess Monster around - I feel like I'm missing a limb. Or my head. I need to constantly remind myself that she's at preschool. And that she's ok. And that the teachers are ok, too. :)

M- Music group or singer?
My music taste is fairly eclectic, and varies by whom is riding in the car with me. :)
I love Adele and Mumford & Sons, but who doesn't. My kids love Ke$ha. My son falls in love with every female singer on The Voice. But honestly, the majority of the time, I am listening to Shrek, Brave or another Disney/Pixar movie. I could sing all the theme songs if you would like it? No? Ok, maybe another time.

N- Number of siblings?
One brother, one sister. I am the baby. A point that was drilled home when we were younger. My big brother is 6 years older than me and my sister is 13 months older. Couldn't find a photo of all 3 of us quickly. So here's a pic of my sister and me from the 70's. Don't knock it - yellow and brown tank tops were all the rage.

My big sister and me. I think we're 4 and 3 here. Don't we just look like trouble?

O- Oranges or apples?
Love them both. Even have a fruit basket filled with them both right now. And some almost-perfect-for-banana-bread bananas. 

P- Phobias/Fears?
Flying. Can you feel my shivers? It is totally ridiculous - and utterly terrifying. I can think very practically, but my body completely disregards my attempt to rationalize.
And, I'm a mother. We fear for everything. The past, present and especially the future. But we have good friends and family to talk us off the cliff of our mental over-exaggerations and extreme Google searching of whacky symptoms at midnight.

Q- Favorite Quote?
Again, too many to choose one. But here's one I'm particularly fond of:

R- Reason to Smile?
When I'm really frustrated with my daughter for pushing every possible button - and limit, she will do or say the cutest doggone thing ever.  She could have just put her foot in my lemonade for the fourth time (no, this example is not random), and then come over to me, kiss my knee and say {cue the BIG blue eyes} "Mommy, I kissed you. Did I make you happy?" I can't stop from smiling. It is her saving grace.

S- Season?
This is an easy answer. Fall. Always has been. Probably due to my October birthday, but it really is my favorite weather. And the Midwest in fall is truly a site to behold.

T- Tattoos?
Do temporary Spiderman tattoos count? In college, I really wanted one, but I wanted to design it myself. I am a fickle creature. I was pretty afraid of commitment to one particular design, and back then laser removal wasn't an option (hey, it wasn't that long ago).  So no ink on this momma. :)

U- Unknown fact about me?
Maybe less of a fact and more of an observation. I am equally left and right brained. It sucks and it's awesome. I am creative, but my analytical side stifles it. The planner in me wants organization, but my right brain makes me crave spontaneity. I think everything through too much. You can imagine how many barely started projects I have around my house (and garage). And I'm a daydreamer. So, to sum it up, I'm a lazy perfectionist.

V- Vegetable you love?
Green beans. In fact, my Dad's nickname for me when I was little was "Green Bean" or shortened to "Beanie". I never had trouble eating my veggies. It was the meat that I pushed around my plate. Unless it was covered in BBQ sauce, because I'd eat cardboard with BBQ sauce on it. :)

W- Worst habit?
Making simple things far more complicated than necessary. Surprisingly simple answer. Ha!
X- X-Rays you've had?
Chest x-rays my senior year of high school for pneumonia. CAT scan in college. Numerous x-rays after rolling my car during college - I was in shock and don't remember anything. Biannual x-rays for my thyroid (or lack thereof). Over 12 years cancer-free! Woohoo!

Y- Your favorite food?
This is a strange one. When I was pregnant with my son, I craved tuna melts. I don't know if I had ever even had one before that. But I ordered one the day I found out I was pregnant. I had to make a special trip during my lunch break to get one. Then I couldn't eat it. A co-worker said, "Giiirrrrlll, you need to go home and pee on a stick." I'll  never forget that. And she was right. :)
Several times throughout my pregnancy I had that same craving. One of the times I was at a restaurant  called Così. That tuna melt was legendary. The next time I went there to see if it was truly as good as I remembered, they had closed. I've been craving that sandwich ever since. The closest Così is about an hour away. 
But, who am I kidding? Ice Cream. Always. Ice Cream.

Z- Zodiac?
Libra all the way - the scales symbol. One of my dreams when I was younger was to be a Supreme Court Justice. This could also explain why I am so equally left and right brained.

If you would like to do an A-Z post, send me a link so I can learn more about you, too!

Credit where credit's due: (post idea from Rainbows and Honeysuckles)

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

A Few Thrifty Finds

Ok, anyone still out there? I have been MIA for only 2 months or so! If you are still reading this, thank you!

I was cleaning/sorting my vintage and thrifty junk finds, and I was struck with the need to capture photos a few of my recent treasures.

I found this sweet little set of 4 pink glass dessert plates for $2.00. The cutie-pie grapefruit pincushion is an etsy find from a year or two ago. The store is SeaPinks and it has the most adorable offerings for handmade felt pin cushions.

This little wall hanging I found so sweet. It has 2 to 4 layers to create a dimensional effect. Even the little bee and flowers have an extra layer. 

This was intended to show the details, but it was difficult to get closer without reflecting off the glass. I also have a thing for velvety ribbon, so this little piece totally charmed me.

This find was at a random stop for an estate sale sign. The ladies running the sale were making great deals on everything because the sale was thrown together very last minute by the homeowners. And, sadly, the house smelled like cats had been living there without people. Yuck! There were lots of diamonds in the rough, but nothing worth bringing home with that smell.

I did pick up a pewter water  pitcher and the ladies through this book in for free when I picked it up (it does not smell, thank goodness - except for that old book smell). It may not look like much to anyone else - other than a vintage children's book. But to me it is a childhood memory. My grandparents had us over every Sunday for dinner. They had remnants of toys and books from my mom and her siblings. Not a lot, but back then we made due with our imaginations and the front yard.

In the old books my grandparents kept was a set of Peanuts books from the early 60's, this one included. The books had very retro covers with bright bold pages inside. In this one, each new page started with "Happiness is...". Similar to our imaginations, the list was all very simple things, like a warm puppy, a thumb and a blanket, and playing with friends. So simple, and so true.

And my last item of the day~ I almost fell over when I saw this beauty. It was working perfectly as a display stand for some vintage gloves, jewelry and odds and ends. A four-tiered silver-plated server. I assumed that it was NFS, but was so pleasantly surprised that it had a price tag - a very reasonable price tag. It could use a good cleaning, but I love it just the way I found it, too, with all its patina. I need to decide what to use it for first. Wouldn't this be great to hold craft supplies on a desk?

I hope to be posting more frequently! But life as a momma bear can be pretty darn unpredictable.

Until then... Happy junking treasure hunting!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

You Are Loved...

A little late for posting, but I thought I'd share some Valentine's decor from around our house. 

My vintage heart tin molds stacked on top of my chippy, vintage scale. I am not too big on red and pink, so I just added a hint of red to keep in the Valentine's spirit.

My son and I have always had our competition of who loves whom more. And at an early age, being obsessed with numbers and how high they could go, we used the terms of infinity. Then infinity times infinity. Then infinity to the infinite power. {My daughter is less adamant of her love for me. She gives up quickly and says, "How 'bout we just love each other."} Can you tell which one is more romantic?

In keeping with that tradition, I used a measurement theme for this year. Vintage ruler, vintage scale and I just LOVE this giant, wooden rosary with a heart. I had an hourglass, as well, but it didn't balance the table.

You can see better in this closeup how I added red and white twine around the edges of the vintage ruler.

This little guy didn't figure into the table, either - but I couldn't resist taking a photo all by itself.

Just a small little table to celebrate February's most celebrated holiday.

Sometimes I link up with the following fabulous linky parties: The 36th AvenueA Ruffled Nest, At the Picket FenceAtkinson DriveBe Different Act Normal,Between Naps on the PorchBeyond the Picket FenceBlissful & DomesticBowdabra BlogCheerios and LattesThe Chicken ChickCoastal CharmCommon GroundThe Cottage MarketCountry Momma CooksCrystal & Co (The Mommy Club)The Dedicated HouseDIY Show OffDo Small Things With LoveElizabeth & Co.Embracing ChangeFaded CharmFamily Every AfterThe Farmhouse PorchFinding Fabulous, Fine Craft Guild, Fireflies and JellybeansFree Pretty Things!, French Country CottageFresh Eggs Daily, Ginger Snap CraftsHappy Hour ProjectsHigh Heels and GrillsHome stories AtoZHouse of HepworthsHubby Made MeI Heart NaptimeLil' LunaLadybird LnLife on Lakeshore DriveLittle Becky HomeckyMandatory MoochMilk & CuddlesMod Vintage Life, My Repurposed LifeMy Romantic HomeMy Uncommon Slice of SuburbiaNap Time CraftersNifty Thrifty ThingsNot Just a HousewifeOne More TimeProject Inspire, Primp Your StuffRedouxRooted in ThymeSavvy Southern StyleShabby Art BoutiqueSimple Home LifeSix Sisters' StuffSkip to My LouSomeday CraftsThe Shabby Creek CottageStuff and NonsenseTatertots and JelloThirty Handmade DaysTimewashedTip JunkieTwigg StudiosUncommon DesignsUnder the Table & DreamingThe Vintage Farmhouse, Western Warmth, ...

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Ranunculus Love

I've really been wanting to take photos of the snow and icy branches outside around our home lately. We have some stunning roads with horses and wooden fences that are just begging to be photographed. But I'm just too busy spinning, pushing or helping carry a sled instead. And that is as it should be. It makes me happy that my yard is now a mushy mess - I remind myself that my kids are making memories. And my artful eye can wait until I am missing them off at school to take photos.

But as luck would have it, on our mad dash through Costco the other day, I showed a small bouquet of ranunculus to my daughter. I told her that they were some of my favorite flowers. She agreed. Very pretty. So we picked them up.

They provided plenty of beautiful inspiration for my camera. Each blossom was so unique and gorgeous in its own right. From the just-budding to the about-to-fall-apart stage.

It really was a small bunch, and once they survived my daughter's loving squishes in the shopping cart and the car ride home - well, they were even smaller. Definitely shorter, too. 

But still grand nonetheless.

They remind me of cabbage roses, if I remember that right. I love them. How they start spherical and  have never ending layers of petals.

I am not a very romantic type of girl, but this flower is so very romantic. Had I known they existed when I got married, they would have been in my bridal party bouquets. 

I am still learning my camera settings, and I had to keep waiting for clouds to part to get some natural light - but I am so happy with the photos that captured this mother/daughter bouquet.

I put the majority of the flowers that made it home into this creamy white vase from Goodwill. And this poor little guy below that bent over before we left the store... he got special treatment in a vintage purple bottle I got at an antique store.

My friend Laura, from Pruning Princesses, has been writing with a theme this week of No More Perfect Moms, a book by Jill Savage. It focuses on not keeping up with the Jones' on a mom level. Don't compare yourself to other moms or assume that because their blog looks like their life is beautiful and perfect - that you're seeing the whole picture. 

If you ever notice the photos of my home on my blog, you will most often find them of VERY small vignettes. A fairly empty table - as shown above, or just the entry. NOT the family room, which is in constant disarray. NOT the kitchen which gets hit daily with a bomb of paper, toys and food. Just a tiny snippet of the cleanest corners of my home. 

So in the spirit of just keepin' it real and showing the imperfections of my life and home ... 

This is where my vases of beautiful ranunculus are actually located to protect them from little hands and giant paws. To be honest, even this is pretty clean for my house. I think the hockey water bottle really works in this vignette. Don't you? :)

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Blush and Bashful

10 points if you can name that movie!!!! :)

Warning: This post will probably turn into a series. But first it needs a backstory. 

You see, I waited a long time for my baby girl. I was surrounded by boys and their "boy stuff". My husband, my wonderful son, and my dog - a very aggressive male at that. I felt like I was surrounded by testosterone. Sports, cars, trains, trucks, rough and tough.

Never having been a girly-girl myself I didn't mind. I appreciated my family. But after almost 6 years, I started to wish for a sweet baby girl to have tea parties together and embrace my feminine side. Then finally, as fate would have it, my baby girl came into our lives. 

And, yes, I may have gone overboard, but all I could see was pink. Pink car seat, pink stroller, pink bouncies... And, of course, a pink bedroom.

I knew I wanted white furniture for her nursery. It is all from Young America by Stanley Furniture. The paint color is French White. Aptly named, no? Not pure white, but not cream, either. A lovely soft white. The bed converts to a full size bed when she's ready. The bedding was from Pottery Barn Kids on clearance. I LOVED it and still want to come up with some way to repurpose/upcycle her crib bumper. It is so beautiful! 

These photos are from her bedroom in our last house. {We moved 2 years ago, but these photos show how her room was originally designed.} We knew we planned to move, so I didn't want to paint the closet doors or trim. I opted to remove the doors completely and paint the back wall a soft green. My son helped me {he was 6 at the time}, and I left his little imperfections as a memento.

The lamp is Simply Shabby Chic from Target and the gorgeous carousel clock was from a local baby boutique called Cradles and All, where I also got the furniture. 

This curio (or doll cabinet as the catalog called it) was a MUST! I fell in love with it. However, since my daughter turned 3 and became very rambunctious, we decided to remove this piece from the room. Too much glass on spindle legs. I guess I planned on having a very calm little girl. My mistake! :) It now resides in my sunroom as craft/fabric storage. Not a bad consolation.

I filled the curio with felt bakery goodies and a felt tea set from various etsy shops. Each little treat has so much attention to detail. Too bad our puppy ate the strawberries off one of them. :(

From left to right, top to bottom: Felt Play Food Cheesecake and Tea Cakes from feltfakerybakery, Lady Sassafrass Felt Tea Set from kiddycoutoure, Beautiful Felt Food Cakes from daisydaydreamsYou Pick 4 - Felt Assorted Cupcakes also from feltfakerybakery, and Felt Cake Dessert Set - 3 Pink and Lemon Cakes from onenonly88.

Quick Note: I apologize for the photos, this was with an old camera and blackout blinds in the window! Ahhh, what a few years and time spent with a camera will teach you. 
My son picked out a white beluga whale stuffed animal for his baby sister from The Shedd Aquarium which is hanging out on the corner of her crib - if you were wondering what that white blob was. :)

I got a handmade mobile from etsy to hang over her crib, as well. I hung it from the ceiling with a small planter hook. There are at least 100 butterflies floating from it. All in different patterns of pink, green, white and yellow. It is from littledreamersinc.

Here's the view from inside the crib. She loved it when I would gently blow on the butterflies and they would dance around above her. Her new bedroom has a vaulted ceiling and I wasn't able to incorporate it into the room. Plus, she would try to climb her crib rails to touch the butterflies. 

It was very hard to get a decent photo of the vinyl lettering I added above her crib. It was a soft white color that said, "Such a big miracle in such a little girl." So sweet and I loved the mix of fonts.

Can you see my little baby girl in her bouncy in the reflection of the mirror on her armoire? She was snoozing while I took these photos. The pretty dresses that hang in the closet above her were some of the only girly clothes I ever got her to wear before she started making up her own sense of style.

There have been many changes to her room since we have moved. Due to her growing up and being a little rascal. And especially due to her above mentioned self-declared style: part biker chic, part sports star, part rapper, part rockstar. She is truly one of a kind.

Stay tuned for more in this series on how my baby girl's room evolves.

Linking up to the following wonderful parties: Make it Pretty Monday