thanksgiving weekend recap

As usual, my days became crazy after Thanksgiving finished up and just now am able to post. Nothing like a Friday recap about the weekend before :)

Thanksgiving was awesome! It was Jake and I’s first Thanksgiving as Mr. and Mrs. :) We went to see my family on Wednesday and stayed through Friday night. Then we spent the rest of the weekend at Jake’s family’s place.

While in my hometown, I conquered a DIY serving tray project with the help of Jake. Turned out awesome…

{ DIY serving tray project }

This Thanksgiving, as I said before, was the first Thanksgiving where I was an official adult, an official wife :) SO with my domesticated adultness, I pitched in to make dinner. I made 3 dishes:

1. Scalloped Corn

* The picture below is NOT mine. Obviously mine looked way better looking and was way more delish!

2. Homemade Mashed Red Potatoes

3. Pumpkin Cheesecake Bites

It was really my first time cooking for anyone on a serious scale, not to mention it was my first time with any of the above recipes (except the corn – a fave <3). Everything turned out great. I received many compliments on how good it was. Even my sister was shocked to compliment me on how delish my homemade mashed potatoes were :) The pumpkin cheesecake bites were a massive hit. It made so many that I was able to have it at my house, Jake’s house, AND bring the rest to work. YUM :)

BLACK FRIDAY – A favorite sub-“holiday” of my family <3 This is what my mom, my sister, and I look forward to all year long. Once my sister and fam arrived at my mom’s Thanksgiving afternoon, we immediately began to scour the ads and strategize a plan for the night. In years past, we’ve ALWAYS been out at the stores before doors open. Usually we go out around 3am. Last year we went out at midnight. This year? More stores decided to open early. We contenmplated going out early, BUT this was the first year we didn’t have a door buster so we decided to wait until 3am. That was until 10:30pm when my sister found a computer deal for my mom. We proceeded immediately with no sleep to pack up, grab some snacks, and get in the car at 11:00pm for Best Buy. It was a very successful day. It wasn’t nearly as crazy as in years past. We got every deal we sought out to get.

That evening I took a 30 minute nap, then we packed up around 7pm and left for Jake’s. The rest of the weekend we spent hanging out with Jake’s bro and wife (Ryan and Katie) who came in from Colorado. We had fun cooking, laughing, looking at bulldog puppies (<3), watching sports, etc. Sunday, TONS of people came over for a football game in the back yard. Afterward, another huge meal.

It was an AMAZING 6 day weekend full of family time and laughter. I love my family beyond words <3 Here’s a few pics from the weekend…

Until next time
<3 jenna

diy project: serving tray

While in my hometown for Thanksgiving, I FINALLY conquered one of my projects I’ve been wanting to do FOREVER – creating a DIY serving tray. Here’s my $6 tray before… It looked super cheap and unattractive.

Initially I hoped to find tons of colorful mosaic tiles to smash up for this. The design was similar to this but more colorful…

{ via }

After scouring the home improvement stores, I came to realize that I would have to go to a specialty store because Lowe’s doesn’t carry anything colorful. I didn’t have the time or patience, so I took a new direction. Instead I bought backsplash tiles that are matted together.

Not as colorful as I hoped, but I love it now! It has a mix of different colored glass tiles and then stone tiles. So pretty and classy!

I decided to stain the wood a dark brown to match the rest of our furniture. I used Rust-Oleum’s wood stain. Turned out a little darker, but provides a nice contrast.

{ via }

After staining it Wednesday afternoon, I let it sit overnight. Thanksgiving morning once I was sure it was dry, I applied the cement then the tile, then finished with grouting it. The biggest challenge with this project was the grouting. Typically you use grout on flat surfaces with no edges to work with. I kept running into my finished wood and getting grout all over it. It was a constant grout, then wipe clean, more grout, wipe more off, back and forth all day. Then wiping off the grout and cleaning the tiles was another thing :) I ended up having to touch up the wood again because the stain had worn away from all my wiping. Once all was said and done, this was my finished product :) ….

Love it <3 It looks great on our couch ottoman!

One project down, a million more to go!

Until next time
<3 jenna

is it too late for a weekend recap?

So I’ve become sucked into this tornado that won’t let me out called work. Finally have a second to breathe. Is it too late for a weekend recap? Ehhh, never :)

Friday – Jake had a day trip to central IL for work and got home pretty late. I decided to do what I do best when wasting time and went SHOPPING :) Stopped by Best Buy to look at the camera I’m going to buy on Black Friday or Cyber Monday – AAAHH SOO EXCITED. I played with it like a ridiculous child and was getting far too giddy, so I left. Stopped by H&M to shop and laugh at the 20 people who were lined up outside for the new Versace line coming out the next day. Would you wait in line for this?

{ via }

{ via }

{ via }

Seriously, it’s disgustingly ugly. DISCLAIMER: I mean no offense if this is your style. It’s just not mine. Afterward, I stopped by a few more places to shop. Finally became hungry and tired of looking and headed home. Once Jake got home, we spent the night relaxing after a long day for the both of us.

Saturday was fun! In the AM, I had brunch with KO, who is a good friend and essentially my wacky other half. We ate at Orange in River North right at Grand and Milwaukee. It was super yummy. I had the cinnamon bun pancakes – couldn’t resist :) I miss hanging out with Kathy. We spent most of the meal contemplating what animals couldn’t clap. Our list was short – started with T-Rex. Let me know if you can think of more, other than fish.

Once brunch was done, Jake picked me up and we headed to the Shedd for the day. It was sooooo much fun. I love going to look at the animals and fishies and sharkies! They have a new exhibit for gellies. Pretty cool!! We spent about 3-4 hours there, then jumped back in the car and drove .75 miles home.

Once we got back, we stopped by our place then walked to Michigan Ave. for the Chicago Light Parade! There were TONS of people lining the streets of the Mag Mile. The parade was awesome filled with cool floats and singers. I personally liked when the lights went on all the trees :)

After the parade was over, we went out for dinner then headed home with me of course singing Christmas songs to Jake the whole way. It was such a great day. I’m feeling so festive now :)

Sunday we headed to Timothy O’Toole’s per the usual to watch the Vikings game at noon. The bar was PACKED with Bears fans and Chargers fans that were going to the game. We made tons of new friends all from out of state. One of the guys (Bears fan from NY) said that just being at the bar surrounded by Bears fans was his dream. He also said that going to a Bears game in Chicago was his lifelong dream. Taught me not to think lightly of what I do each day :) You never know, you may be living someone else’s dream :) After Jake’s game, we headed home to watch my game. Very proud with how my boys played, but totally bummed about Cutler :( Here’s to hoping Hanie does well for us!

Sunday was also Jake and I’s dating anniversary. I didn’t realize it until late that night. I turned to Jake to wish him happy anniversary and ask what he got me, and he laughed. I realized that apparently once you’re married you no longer celebrate this anniversary.

All day today and yesterday have been nuts. Clients are coming to me like crazy with ridiculous number of projects to be completed in short timelines. Holy cow I’m busy. NOW I can kinda breath and prepare for Thanksgiving. Well not really. Here’s my to-do tonight:

  • Grocery shop for all ingredients for dishes and desserts I’ll be making
  • Determine budgets for each person for Christmas presents
  • Figure out what to get everyone so I can go in prepared on Black Friday
  • Pack for a 5+ day leave
  • Prepare list of what personal things I want to buy for all my DIY projects for the holiday season (more to come)
  • Clean the house

Wish me luck! I hope everyone has a very happy Thanksgiving with your loved ones!

Until next time
<3 jenna

fave thanksgiving dish

I cannot believe that Thanksgiving is just a short TWO WEEKS from tomorrow. Holy cow! My family and I have begun talking about our meal – what are we cooking, who is cooking what, etc. I’ve come across a million delish recipes over the past few months and can’t wait to make a few! For my side dishes, I’m going to make scalloped corn.

Dessert is where I’m dying to try new recipes :) Check out this one!

{ pumpkin cream cheese truffles }

Or this…

{ pumpkin cheesecake bites }

What is your favorite Thanksgiving dish? Looking for recommendations for appetizers and main dishes!

Until next time
<3 jenna