Stella & Dot

Recently, I have been introduced to a jewelry line called, Stella & Dot. It’s a little spendy but you can clearly tell these pieces are something special and they’re not some little chinsey pieces of jewelry you may find at some stores.

A friend invited me to a Stella & Dot trunk show but, I couldn’t make it to the party (bummer 😦 ). I took a chance and went online to check out what the Stella & Dot website had to offer me and well as expected… I fell in love.

I ordered three different pieces and what was even more impressive was that the stylist that was hosting the trunk show emailed me the next day and let me know I had picked out some great choices and also offered any help if I had additional questions. Talk about great customer service! (Thanks Mary!!)

Here are the Stella & Dot jewelry I purchased:


Wearing the Aria Pendant Necklace

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This beautiful necklace can be worn multiple ways as demonstrated above! The Aria Pendant Necklace includes semi-precious crackled quartz stones that hang from three gold plated chains. This necklaces is only $98 at


Cushion Drop Earrings

Stella & Dot cushion drop earrings are so simple and elegant that they could dress up any outfit quickly but can also be worn casually and keep your look chic! These cushion cut earrings have a canary-colored glass stones. The Cushion Drop Earrings are $34 at Stella & Dot.


Deco Drop Earrings

I cannot wait to wear these Stella & Dot Deco Drop Earrings this weekend! When I locked eyes on these beauties I knew I had to have them. These earrings seem so elegant to me and I love the vintage style inspired drop. You can snag these beauties for $44 at Stella & Dot.

K-Cup: single serving addiction

About 9 months ago I could careless about coffee, let alone a single serving Keurig machine. I went on a family vacation last February and had a sip of some awesome tasting coffee (7 days in a row) and now, I can’t live without it! After that trip I marched my little booty out to Target and bought myself and my husband a shiny new Keurig. I now wake up in the morning and almost the first thing I do is brew myself a hot cup of coffee using my Keurig machine. It’s so convenient, easy, and perfect for what I need. Even though I have a minor addiction to coffee I still love my single serving I brew up!


Keurig K10 MINI Plus Brewing System

The cups that are used in a Keurig machine to dispense the hot drinks are called, K-Cups.

Some of my favorite K-Cup flavors of coffee and hot drinks are:

  • Archer Farms Pumpkin Spice Coffee
  • Folgers Classic Roast Coffee
  • Folgers Lively Colombian Coffee
  • Gloria Jean’s Brown Sugar Cake Coffee
  • Green Mountain Naturals Hot Apple Cider
  • Swiss Miss Milk Chocolate Hot Cocoa

Whether or not you have a Keurig, I hope you’re staying warm on this cold and snowy South Dakota night!

Pumpkin Pancakes: easy, delicious, and fluffy goodness!

Here’s another tasty fall recipe that I love! Now, quick reminder, pancakes are not just for breakfast because we all know breakfast is the BEST supper too!

Pumpkin Pancakes

2 cups complete pancake mix
1 1/2 cups water
2/3 cup 100% Pure Pumpkin
Nonstick cooking spray
Lite pancake syrup, if desired (I didn’t need any!)

1. COMBINE pancake mix, water, and pumpkin in bowl. Stir just until moistened. Batter may be lumpy
2. SPRAY griddle or large skillet with nonstick spray. Heat over medium heat. Pour 1/4 cup batter onto hot griddle; cook until batter bubbles begin to burst. Turn and continue cooking for 1 to 2 minutes or until golden. Repeat with remaining batter. Serve with syrup.

Makes 6 servings, about 12 pancakes total


PS. Pumpkin Pancakes pair great with Turkey Bacon! 😉 Enjoy!!

Building Our Family Dream Home: PROGRESS!

For the past 6 months Jordan and I have been planning to build our family dream home. We have met with our architect and contractor many times planning and deciding what “we” think is the perfect home for us. It has been a very exciting process and we can’t wait for the end result! (Hopefully sometime June 2015)

Recently, with much excitement there has been dirt moved on our lot where the house will be built. Yes, I just said I was excited about dirt being scraped from the earth’s surface!! I never thought in a million years that I would be so excited about something like that! But, when you have a vision in your mind, any progress is better than no progress at all.

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Now, we sit and wait for more progress but don’t you worry, I will keep you updated because I can’t contain this excitement! Even if it’s just a little dirt moving 😉

Michigan Trip

This past weekend my family and I traveled to Michigan for a family wedding. My cousin, David was united in marriage to his gorgeous bride, Angelina! It was a beautiful 4 day weekend filled with excitement, learning, and happy emotions!

The weekend began with a very early flight Friday. My husband, sister, parents, grandmother, and I flew out on the early flight. Which means we were all up at 3:00 am…yuck! Getting up early made for a very long day and night…

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We arrived in Detroit, Michigan and had about a 45 minute drive to Rochester, Michigan. We stayed at the Royal Park Hotel in Rochester. It is an absolutely beautiful and most comfortable hotel I’ve stayed at in awhile! I highly recommend it if you are ever in the the Rochester, Michigan area. Later on that night we attended the rehearsal dinner. The rehearsal dinner was held at an Italian restaurant in Sterling Heights, Michigan. The groom and bride have Italian roots so it was only appropriate to fill us with tasty Italian food!

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At the rehearsal dinner we received “VIP Welcome” Bags. The bag was filled with an itinerary, pages of local suggested shops, restaurants, and attractions, and 2 bags of  Better Made Original Potato Chips, Faygo Pop, and Vernors Soda. You’re probably thinking…why in the world would they put chips and soda in a welcome bag? Or the real question is, why weird, unknown brands of soda? Well, let me explain… 🙂

Better Made Potato Chips: In 1930, Cross Moceri and Peter Cipriano purchased a potato chip factory in Detroit, Michigan. In 1934, Peter and Cross launched their first and only brand of potato chips: Better Made. New and improved fryers cooked up to 100 pounds of potato chips at a time, using Michigan potatoes 8 months of the year. Today, Better Made chips are found in stores all over Michigan, Toledo, Ohio, and central Chicago, Illinois.

Faygo Pop: In 1907, immigrant brothers and bakers, Ben and Perry Feigenson, began playing around with the idea of creating soft drinks based on their frosting flavors. They bottled their soda – which they called “pop” because of the sound it made when the lid was removed at a factory in Detroit, Michigan. The brothers developed the Feigenson Brothers Bottling Works, but they changed the name to Faygo to fit on the labels. Faygo is sold in many states east of the Mississippi River.

Vernors: Without the Civil War, there would be no Vernors. Before the conflict began, James Vernor, a pharmacist, had concocted a new drink. Vernor was called off to war and he stored the secret mixture in an oak cask in his pharmacy. After returning from the battle four years later, he opened his secret keg and found the drink inside had been transformed. It had taken on a zippy, zesty, and gingery flavor. For years, the only place you could purchase a Vernors was from the fountain in Vernor’s pharmacy downtown Detroit. In the 1940s Vernor opened The Vernors Company to handle an expanding business. Today, Vernors is part of Plano, Texas, based Dr. Pepper Snapple Group.


With relaxation on each guests mind when Saturday arrived we took a short walk down to the Rochester Mills Beer Co. for “Food, Friends, and Beer” (<< their motto). We spent our afternoon sharing stories and even playing a little pool too!


Finally, Sunday arrived! The entire weekend has built up to this day, wedding day!  David and Angelina had a traditional Chaldean wedding. The Chaldeans are Catholic descendants of Mesopotamia, present day Iraq. The Chaldeans speak Aramaic, the language Christ spoke. There were quite a few ethnic customs the grooms family had to participate in. This experience was very interesting and such a learning experience!

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Sunday began with a family Zeffa (wedding march). A Zeffa is a musical procession of bendir drums and horns. This announces the marriage is about to begin. We arrived at Angelina’s parents house and did just this. We processed in and danced and clapped with drums and horns blaring! When the Zeffa concluded we drove to the Chaldean Catholic Church where we witnessed David and Angelina say their “I Do’s” and observed more Chaldean traditions.

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Placing of the Crowns: The crowns symbolize the Bride and Groom as the head of their new family and kingdom.

After the wedding ceremony we headed to a traditional reception with dancing and great food! Rest assured though, there were even more tidbits of Italian and Chaldean tradition put into the reception too! The reception was beautiful with ivory color detail and tons of white flowers! It was a great night!


Sugared almonds known as “Italian Confetti” to remind us that life is both bitter & sweet! 5 almonds represent 5 wishes for David & Angelina – Health, Wealth, Happiness, Fertility & Longevity!


Like any great getaway there is an end! We made our way home Monday afternoon with tired eyes and sore feet from dancing! Thank you David and Angelina for a fabulous weekend!


Starbucks in the airport is a must after a tiring weekend!

Chicken Noodle Soup

Today in South Dakota it has been one of the first very cold and windy days! As I was sitting in a continuing education class for work all I could think about was, hot Chicken Noodle Soup! (Oops, sorry to my instructor 😉 )

By the way if you think I’m talking about Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup…I’m most certainly not!

One of the first meals my Mom taught me to cook when I moved into my first college apartment was Chicken Noodle Soup. She always would say, “Allie, cooking is so simple”! In the recipe I list below have some fresh ingredients and some “canned” but please enjoy it and stay warm!!


4 cups Swanson Chicken Broth (I used Low Sodium Chicken Broth)
Generous dash ground black pepper
1 medium carrot, sliced (about 1/2 cup)
1 stalk celery, sliced (about 1/2 cup)
1/2 cup uncooked extra wide egg noodles
1 cup shredded cooked chicken or turkey (I diced my chicken)

1. Heat the broth, black pepper, carrot and celery in a 2-quart saucepan over medium-high heat to a boil.
2. Stir the noodles and chicken in the saucepan. Reduce the heat to medium. Cook for 10 minutes or until the noodles are tender, stirring occasionally.


PS. If you want to make it easier on yourself, go buy the carton of Swanson Chicken Broth and there’s the recipe! 🙂 …See, my Mom was right, “so simple”!