DIY Cookie Jar Vinyl With Cricut + Butterscotch Oatmeal Cookies

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Once upon a time I had a little cupcake business.
This was before Hunter and I were married and I mostly just had a lot of fun with it!
I made cupcakes for bridal showers, weddings, birthday parties, baby showers, events... you name it!
There was something so fun about creating new flavors and topping them to look cute.
However, I never actually really ate said cupcakes.
I would try a few here and there and lick the spoon when I was done with the frosting, but I mostly just did it for my customers. 
When I married Hunter I quickly found out that he is so not a cake person.
He would prefer a cookie over a slice of cake any day.
Even though I still love to bake cupcakes, I quickly found myself falling in love with the different types of cookie combinations out there.
I started baking new creations every Sunday and we would judge each of them.
Hunter's favorite is hands down peanut butter and mine is butterscotch oatmeal!
Now our tiny person absolutely loves cookies too! 
She asks for a "tookie" almost every day now... oops!
If I could make cookies every day, I totally would ;)

Usually when I make cookies I'll bake half the dough and freeze the other half for the next week.
That helped eliminate some waste since there's no way our little family can or should finish a dozen cookies.
However, our cookies still got stale and ended up in the trash after about 24 hours if i left them out. 
I've always loved the idea of a cookie jar but couldn't find any I liked. 
I just wanted a simple jar that was easy to open and had plenty of room to store the cookies.
I found a glass one at Walmart for super cheap, but just felt like it was missing something. 
I wanted my cookie jar to actually say "Cookie" somewhere on it so I didn't end up putting a million other unnecessary things in it... yeah that's totally how I clean ha. If something is empty I just put more stuff in it!
Insert my new favorite toy... The Cricut Explore Air 2!

You guys, how have I lived my life without a Cricut for so long??
These things are so cool!
I'm now realizing how much time I've wasted in the past on crafts.
Seriously, my Cricut makes crafting SO easy!
I got the Cricut Explore Air 2 in Mint and it has been a dream.
I've made this personalized cookie jar, a card, a shirt for Oaklyn, a few little decor things, and I'm already planning out some onesies for our new little girl!
While all of the Cricut machines are amazing, this particular model cuts and writes up to two times faster than older models and even has a "fast mode!"
Now get ready for all the rest of this info because trust me... you need this thing!
The Explore Air 2 gives you the ability to create on your computer, tablet, or smartphone and will send your design to your machine to print, cut, or write.
It has an Embedded Bluetooth® for wireless cutting, can cut 100+ materials from vellum to leather, has a smart Set® dial for easy material settings, includes a double tool holder for cutting and writing or cutting and scoring in one step, has Cut Smart® technology for precision cutting and easy and pre-calibrated material selection, allows you to upload and use your own image files or fonts for free, and has integrated storage compartments.
You guys, it's seriously amazing!
There is also an image library with over 3,000 ready to make projects if you need a little help coming up with creations.
There are seriously soo many ways to use a Cricut and I have no doubt you will quickly fall in love with it just as much as I did!

For this particular project I used the matte adhesive foil in dark silver and loved how it turned out!
Not only do I love the finished product but I couldn't believe how easy it was to make.
I very easily designed the look of it in Cricut Design Space and in seconds it was sent to my machine and printing.
I was also so scared it wouldn't transfer easily but was amazed at how easy it was!
Trust me, if I can do it... you absolutely can!
Make sure to Check out Cricut and explore all their amazing machines because you definitely will not regret it!

As for the recipe of these amazing cookies... you're going to want to make these asap as well ;)

 -1 cup softened salted butter
-1/4 cup white sugar
-1 cup brown sugar
-2 tsp. vanilla
-2 eggs
-1 package vanilla instant pudding mix
-1 tsp. baking soda
-2 1/4 cups flour
-1/2 cup old fashioned oats
-1/2 cup butterscotch chips (more or less)

1) Cream together the softened butter and sugars with a stand mixer or beaters until light and fluffy.
2) Add vanilla, eggs and the pudding mix and continue mixing.
3) Next add in your baking soda and continue mixing.
4) Start slowly adding in the flour and mix gently.
5) Add your chips and oatmeal to the batter and mix a minute longer.
6) Use a small cookie scoop (mine is from Wilton)  to drop dough onto a very lightly greased cookie sheet. Or just drop by the spoonful ;)
7) Bake your cookies for 8-10 minutes at 350 degrees until the sides are slightly golden.
8) Remove the sheet from the oven and transfer cookies over to a wire cooling rack if you have one
9) Store leftover cookies in your new cookie jar!

I hope you forgive me for missing Tasty Tuesday this week now since I technically still posted a recipe ;)
And seriously, run over to the Cricut website and get yourself a new present... you deserve it ;)

All my love,
Aleigh Joy

Tasty Tuesday: Perfect Sunday Crockpot Roast

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Okay, so you don't have to only make this on Sunday haha.
It's just more of a Sunday meal for us!
I love making a big meal on Sundays because I have the most time and I just want to keep it a tradition in our little family.
Sundays are a special family day for us so I like to make a special meal that we wouldn't have any other day of the week.
Hunter is obsessed with pot roast.
Like, if you want him to be in a good mood all day... just make pot roast haha. 
I remember when we first got married, he said he always looked forward to Sundays because he knew there was a good chance his mom would make a pot roast.
Because of that, I decided to make my first ever roast!
I was SO disappointed when it was tough, chewy, and dry.
There was zero flavor to it and it was almost hard to eat haha.
I was so bummed because I knew it was Hunter's favorite, so I tried out different things and finally found a combination of things that work!
So, here's what I do to make our Sunday roast :)

-Chuck Roast or Chuck Tender Roast (either of these work, but stick with chuck! No rump or anything else)
-Potatoes (I usually either use russet or red. I quarter them and do probably 6 red or 4-5 russet)
-1/2 Yellow onion sliced
-1 packet dry onion soup mix
-3/4 cup water
-Salt and pepper
-Garlic Salt
-Garlic powder
-2 tbsp olive oil

1) Put your oil in a frying pan and get it sizzling
2) Coat your thawed roast in the dry onion soup mix with salt and pepper
3) Add your meat in the sizzling oil and sear for a few minutes on each side until browned. 
4) Stick your roast in the crockpot and add your potatoes and sliced onion over the top. Pour the water over the top. Sprinkle with garlic salt and garlic powder (about a tsp each) and cover.
5) Now here's the part that you HAVE to make sure you do. You need to SLOW cook it to get it to fall apart. And i mean like realllyy slow. I do like 7 hours on high or I'll do 8-10 hours on low. Remember, the longer the better! 
6) Take a fork and twist it in the meat. You know it's done when it is tender and easily breaks apart. If it feels tough, let it go longer. 
7) Place on a plate and and serve the potatoes and onion on the side. Use your drippings to make a gravy as well. I usually strain the drippings to just get the liquid. I'll do about 1 stick of butter melted in a saucepan and add 3 tbsp of flour to make a roux. Then I add my drippings and whisk together. I usually just add a little water if it seems too thick and more salt if needed. Then serve with some rolls and veggies!

I hope this works for the rest of you that just couldn't seem to get your roast right.
This is tried and true and the only way I do it now!
The browning of the meat gives such a good flavor and the slow cooking just makes it so tender!
Now go ahead and make yourself a delicious roast ;)

All my love,
Aleigh Joy


When It Comes To Milestones

Friday, March 10, 2017

It happens at almost every baby shower, birthday party, play date, lunch date, or casual grocery store convo... The comparison of milestones.
There's a lot of things you don't expect before becoming a mother, and one of them is definitely feeling self conscious about your child being even the least bit behind from another child.
It usually goes something like this...
"Ohhh look how big she is now! Is she crawling yet??"
"No. Not quite. We're working on it, but she just isn't interested yet..."
"Oh, really? My oldest was crawling a month before her!"
Then the mom walks away feeling discouraged and wondering what is wrong with her as a mother.
Is it her fault her baby isn't crawling yet?
Is her baby behind?
Should she be worried?

I was that mom several times over with Oaklyn.
My bet is that it happens more often with your first, but it needs to stop.
The comparing of our children, it just needs to end.
However, I'm coming at this with the standpoint of changing myself.
I've come to realize over time that as much as we'd like to, we just can't change others.
The only person we can really change is ourselves.
So here's what I want to say to all of you moms that are just like me.

When another mom is bringing up their child's accomplishments in a conversation, the first thing you're going to do is get defensive over your own child.
Then you'll get a little worried.
Then you'll overthink things and it just isn't worth your time.
Try to remember that the other mom might just be trying to keep the conversation going.
After all, being cooped up in the house all day watching Frozen 100 times over kind of creates word vomit to occur when you actually have some social interaction ;)
Then, look at your little one and smile because I can almost guarantee they are doing A-Okay.

When you walk away feeling discouraged and wondering if you're doing enough as a mother, I want you to think of all the things you've done for your kid since they woke up.
The list is never ending right?
You are absolutely doing enough. YOU are the only one that can mother your child the way you do.
It doesn't matter if your best friends baby started sitting two weeks earlier, if your sister's child was potty trained before you even thought of doing it, if you stop breastfeeding after a month or if you keep it up til your kid is 2 1/2, if your little one had a pinterest worthy party or a boxed funfetti cake to celebrate their birthday... none of it matters!
What matters is that they're loved and that you care.
Kids do things at their own pace.
It's just the way it goes and now we can all feel a little sympathetic for our own parents ;)
You can get on your hands and knees and show your baby how to crawl over and over again but if they aren't ready, you're going to be looking like a fool with rug burn ;)
I'm all for helping and encouraging kids, but also letting them figure things out as they go.
I think writing that was almost therapeutic for myself haha.

So the next time every mom is talking about how many words their one year old can say or striking a conversation about how their 2nd grader is reading full on chapter books, stop and remember that you can't change what comes out of their mouth.
But, you can change the way you process what they say.
Offer a congratulations and then make a mental list of every wonderful thing your own little one does that you are incredibly proud of.
Every child is special, every single one of them.
And it's all because of you mama, because you are raising them to be the best they can be.

All my love,
Aleigh Joy


Tasty Tuesday: Crockpot Tomato Tortellini Soup

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

I originally took these photos back in December.
Then pregnancy sickness hit and even looking at pictures of food made me want to throw up.
It was so sad! 
All I really wanted was gatorade, popsicles, in n out, and french fries. Awesome diet I know haha.
Once we got out of the first trimester I got my appetite back and found these pictures and was SO excited to post this recipe!
This is one of the easiest, if not THE easiest soup recipe, like ever.
Hunter also approves because it's definitely filling with tortellini and sausage... he's usually not a soup fan because he has to eat like 5 bowls to get full haha.
Crockpots are quite possibly the best invention ever.
And soup is the best meal when Utah decides to still be cold in March...
Enjoy friends!

-32 oz chicken broth
-1 can diced tomatoes (even better if they're Italian style)
-3 cups tomato juice
-1 cup heavy whipping cream
-1/4 cup tomato paste
-1 pound mild Italian sausage
-1 bag frozen cheese tortellini
-1 bunch spinach
-1 tsp dried basil 
-1 tsp dried oregano 
-1 tsp garlic powder
-2 tsp garlic salt
-salt and pepper to taste

1) Add chicken broth, diced tomatoes, tomato juice, tomato paste, seasonings, and sausage to crockpot. (I've made this where I cook the sausage in a pan first, and I've made it where I add the sausage raw and let it cook in the crockpot. I think I prefer making it on the stove first but either way is good!) Stir it up and cook on low for 6 hours.
2) After six hours stir it again and add heavy whipping cream and tortellini. Recover and continue to cook for about 30 minutes or until tortellini is no longer frozen and cooked. At this point I also taste the soup to see if I want to add any more salt or pepper.
3) Right before serving I add the spinach in and let it wilt. 
4) Serve in bowls with a good amount of freshly grated parmesan cheese  and crusty bread!

You guys that's literally all you do!
Technically the fourth step isn't even really a step so there's like 3 steps to this!
That's all from me today!
I sure hope you guys enjoy this simple yet tasty soup!

All my love,
Aleigh Joy


Anniversary Recap

Monday, March 6, 2017

Our anniversary was last week!
Three years of marriage in the books, woohoo!
Hunter and I were talking about how small of a number that seems in comparison to how long we've known each other and wanted to get married ha.
Whenever people ask how long we've been married it feels so funny saying only three years because I've loved the guy since I was 14!
Now here we are with a 2 year old, one baby on the way, and three years of marriage under our belts.
Life has been insane lately but there's no one else I'd rather do this insane life with than Hunter.
He's working two jobs consistently and another when he has time and gets asked to.
He's also going to school full time and working so hard to graduate by December.
I'm at home growing a baby and raising a toddler while running three business of my own.
It's challenging, but at the end of the day, we have so so so much to be thankful for and forever to spend with each other :)
I was going through my old journals last night and laughing at my teenage self and how smitten I was with Hunter.
"I can't believe this is real life! He's so dreamy and perfect in every way. I'm the luckiest girl in the world!"
I wrote that after our first kiss, awww young love ;)
While we probably get on each other's nerves a bit more now (ha), I still think he's the dreamiest guy alive and I still feel incredibly lucky to be his wife :)

I wasn't feeling my best the day of our anniversary but was so excited about dinner.
We planned to go to The Black Sheep Cafe in Provo which is one of my favorites!
I was craving their buffalo nickel burger literally all day. 
Hunter sent me the sweetest text when I woke up and as I was getting ready for dinner, he brought in the cutest bouquet of daisies. 
He put some lemonade in champagne glasses and we toasted to three amazing years together :)
Then we headed out to the restaurant where we had an amazing meal and incredible service.
You guys, if you haven't been to Black Sheep, you need to go!
Hunter got the special which was filet mignon with a whole lot of other fancy things and it was seriously soooo good! I kept stealing bites ;)
I got the buffalo nickel burger which is a ½ lb. Buffalo burger with lemon-rosemary mayo, jack cheese, grilled onion, a cabernet sauvignon reduction (uhmm this is the best part), arugula, and tomato on a pretzel bun and served with rosemary cotija fries.
Are you drooling yet??
Gosh I'm craving it now haha.
Like I said before, you need to go!
Every single thing on their menu is delicious.

Sorry for the iphone quality food pics. We were so excited to eat I forgot i had my nice camera!

Overall it was a great and low maintenance way for us to celebrate three years in the books :)
(the lower maintenance the better for this pregnant mama)
Thank you soo much to Black Sheep cafe for  an amazing meal and to Hunter for 3 incredible years of marriage :)

All my love,
Aleigh Joy 

My Secret To A Cleaner Home

Friday, March 3, 2017

Let's get something straight here... my home is almost never clean haha.
Like seriously, I have other strengths in other areas but when it comes to cleaning I have zero motivation!
It was a little different when we were living in the condo because it actually felt like our place, but currently this basement just doesn't feel like ours.
And quite frankly, it isn't.
None of our pictures are on the walls, nothing really has a spot, and the constant clutter of nothing really having a spot is overwhelming to me.
When something is overwhelming to me, I'd just rather not deal with it haha. 
I decided if anything else, I want the carpet to be clean and the floors to be without crumbs.
This can be really difficult with a toddler running around constantly spilling everything and a loud vacuum that will wake up said toddler during naps and bedtime. 
This is where my little secret comes in ;)

I want to introduce to you my favorite household item like... ever.
A little while back we got a bObsweep robotic vacuum that has literally changed my life!
Haha yes I dislike vacuuming that much!
With Bobi, as Oaks calls him, we can just turn him on and not worry about the rest.
The constant messes Oaklyn makes don't stress me out near as much anymore because I know by the end of the day, Bobi has it covered. 

Our particular model is the bObsweep Pet Hair which at first I was like uh... I'm allergic to any animal with fur so we don't currently, nor will we ever have an animal.
However, this could not a more perfect model for our family!
Have you seen the hair on both me and Oaklyn's heads??
Yeah... we might as well be pets ha!
When I empty out Bobi, the majority of the contents are me and Oaklyn's long hairs.
Thank you Bobi, for making sure to pick up all that hair we didn't even know existed... yikes!

I was skeptical that Bobi wouldn't be able to figure out the set up we have down here because there's a step from the kitchen to the family room.
I was sure he would just fall right off the step but he has so many awesome features that make it so he can literally clean anywhere.
You can use the remote to control him, you can set him to clean one specific spot, you can make almost like a "do not cross" line that he won't go past, you can turn him on auto and just let him do as he pleases, etc...
He vacuums the carpet, he sweeps up crumbs off hardwood, you guys, he even mops!
Wait let me say that again... MOPS!
I seriously love this little robot so much.
He has a little charging port he goes to when he needs to get a reboot that plugs into the wall so you don't have to worry about batteries either.

I really could go on and on about why everyone needs one of these in their because it honestly has made all the difference in mine, but I'll end here ;)
Now if only someone could invent a little robot that does the dishes and scrubs the toilet... haha.

All my love,
Aleigh Joy

*Disclaimer: We received a bObsweep in exchange for posting. All opinions on this post are my own. 

Finding Strength in Motherhood

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Before having Oaklyn, I'd like to say I was pretty brave. Confident too. I had what I needed to understand figured out and didn't worry about the rest. If something was wrong, I got it fixed. If something made me sad, I dealt with it. If I had to put on my big girl pants, I pulled up that zipper and went for it. A whole lot of things changed for me after having my sweet daughter. There's the simple things that were to be expected like buying diapers often, sleeping less, hearing lots of crying, less date nights, a messier house, and you know... having a tiny person always following me into the bathroom. But, there were a few bigger things that I guess I just didn't expect. One thing in particular is the fact that I managed to dig up strength that I didn't know existed. I found bravery that was hiding in the back of my closet and quite frankly, I didn't know I'd ever need it. Like I said in the beginning, I thought I was pretty brave before having her...

Here's what I would like to classify motherhood as... "Dealing with fears you didn't know existed to find strengths you didn't know you had." Oh and mixed in with a whole lot of snuggles, poopy diaper explosions, and the cutest little person clothes. But in all honesty, motherhood has brought out so much of me I truly had no clue existed. I became a different person the moment they laid my child on my chest and evolved into something I never could have imagined over the course of several 2am parties with my mini bff. Because when you become a mother, you learn to think about someone other than just yourself. You learn how to be brave for a scared little child. You learn how to care for and tend to every basic and extraordinary need out there. You literally have to dig up another part of you that you've never needed before.

I vividly remember the first doctor's appointment I went to when Oaklyn had to get shots without daddy there. I didn't know who was more afraid... me or her. She of course had no idea what was coming though so it was probably me. The checkup was done and over with and the nurse came in ready to poke my baby girl. I knew (and still know) I was making the right choice for her, but was worried out of my mind that I wouldn't be able to truly comfort her afterwards. I cried harder than she did when I saw her little face after feeling the first poke, but we all made it out alive. Oaklyn clung to me and snuggled me tighter than ever before. She trusted me. She needed me. So, that part of me I had no idea existed came out and made sure my child knew I was right there comforting her. I drove home a whole new mother. I was stronger and I was more secure with myself. This same thing, different circumstances, has happened several other times... When I prove to myself that I was made for this, that motherhood is and always has been built in me. Times like teaching her how to pick up and eat food for the first time, helping her through her first cold when I felt clueless and helpless myself, and kissing that scraped up owie even though the sight of blood makes me queasy. Somehow, I always came out stronger and that much more confident. Because, the toughest job I've ever had has also helped me find the most strength. 

Before becoming a mommy, I had no idea I would fear what I do now... my child being constipated, it being too cold in our home, the first time she tried a new fruit, the way her little nose gets clogged when she has a cold... I had no clue any of this would cause me to lose sleep. But it did and still does because I love my baby more than I knew possible and I will do anything to keep her well and happy. I had no idea there were more strengths to find, but I'm continually finding more right as I need them. Parenting doesn't come with an instruction manual, and it surely doesn't come with anxiety pills... but it does shape you into exactly what The Lord wants you to be. The words "God gave us families to help us become what he wants us to be" of a Primary song have never sounded truer than they do now. I know Oaklyn was sent to me to help me become exactly what I need to be. She is shaping me into the person my family needs, and helping me see the woman The Lord needs of me as well. I'm sure I have a long way to go, because life just keeps throwing curve balls, but I'm so thankful for all I've learned so far. I remember thinking I had it all figured out when I was 19. Life was so easy and there was so much good ahead. But for me, it absolutely took becoming a mother to really understand who I am. It took becoming a mother to really see my divine role and calling in life. It took becoming a mother to find strengths I truly didn't know I had. Because somewhere along the way, you realize this journey is so much more, and so are you.

All my love,
Aleigh Joy