Plum Jam and DIY labels! 


This past weekend, a relative of mine brought over a huge box of these tiny little plums that I’ve never seen before. They were the cutest things. Anyway, since I’m so into canning, I had to put them to use in a great canning recipe. Everyone in my family loves plum jam! Or plum butter. Or whatever else we can throw plums into! My mom even had a plum tree in her backyard for some time. 

I quickly looked online for a simple plum recipe so I could get to work. I found a couple that sounded good and my mother in law of sorts brought over a recipe with the plums but eventually just made my own concoction. I didn’t have any of the spices on hand and frankly just didn’t want to go to the store. 

To make this process easier, I boiled the plums in a big saucepan until they were soft and mushy. I was then able to easily pull out the pit and throw that part away. I then put the plums through my food mill to separate the yummy plum goodness from their skins. After this process was all said and done, I placed all of the great pulp I had just separated into a big stockpot along with lots of sugar. I had about 10 cups of pulp. In terms of adding sugar, the ratio is about 2:1. Two parts plum, one part sugar. So I ended up adding 5 cups of sugar. I also added 2 tablespoons of lemon juice. You don’t need to add any pectin, but can if you get impatient like I did. I also added about a half cup of cinnamon just for some added flavor. At this point, I brought the contents of my pot to a boil and hunkered down on a stool right in front of my stove. 

And then comes the extra boring part! For 2 hours, I had to stand there and stir the jam every 2-3 minutes as it thickened. You really don’t want the jam to burn, so this step is mandatory in creating the perfect jam! It wasn’t as thick as I wanted after the two hours, so I added a packet of pectin and let it boil a little longer. As soon as it was the consistency I wanted, I prepared my canning jars and started to put my jam mixture into jars for processing. 

My awesome husband got me a Ball Freshtech Automatic Water Bath Canner and it has become one of my favorite canning items. Instead of heating up the entire house boiling water in a canner on the stove, it plugs into an outlet and uses its own heat to boil the water! It’s amazing! 

I processed my plum jam for 10 minutes and then let the jars cool and waited for the “pop” sound that lets me know they have sealed. 

As I was sitting and admiring my newly made plum jam, I realized that I had a couple of relatives that would love to have some plum jam and went to work on some labels for my jars. I am no expert in making extravagant and beautifully designed pieces of artwork, so I settled for a simple yet funny label design. I used round Avery label stickers that were 3″ in width for this project. I opened up a label template in Word so that I had the shapes of the stickers present in my mind. I then went over to Canva on my internet browser. Canva is a really awesome tool that can be used to design pretty much anything. Logos, flyers, business cards, banners, etc. I used Canva to create the outline of the text and used Word Art in Microsft Word to make the words curve on the label. I made my label specifically for plum jam, but you can make your label for anything. It doesn’t even have to be jam! 

More pictures will be uploaded soon, but I wanted to share how easy it is to make and create your own labels for your canning jars! 

Sticker Grab Bag Review + Giveaway! 4 Winners!

Organized Hooker Planner Sticker Review + Giveaway!

Chance to win at bottom of post!

Disclaimer: I received a planner sticker grab bag free of charge from the  Organized Hooker Etsy Shop in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

As you all know, I am OBSESSED with stickers. Especially planner stickers! Anything that makes my planners more fun, I am down to try. I’ve been super excited for the chance to finally review a planner sticker grab bag! I’ve been dabbling in creating my own planner stickers for myself, but it turns out the used Cricut machine that I just bought is a little outdated, so I’m stuck trying to figure out how to use my dinosaur of a Cricut!

In the meantime, I found this lovely little shop called Organized Hooker on Etsy run by a very nice woman named Sara. She specializes in planner stickers and crochet items. Sara sent me my very own planner sticker grab bag a couple of weeks ago and I have been actively using them in my fitness planner. She also added a cat toy with catnip in it for my kitty! I thought that was very sweet of her. The stickers she creates are very cute, small circles that easily fit in your planner. Each one says something different and she creates a lot of different styles.

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As you can see, each grab bag comes with several different choices! For only $5, she sends 120 various stickers that come from many collections. She has so many different collections to choose from that I find it almost impossible to list! You can check them out HERE. I found so many uses for the stickers she sent me. I only uploaded pictures of my fitness planner, but I used them in my other planners too! Yes, I have more than one planner. I have four actually! I know it sounds a bit excessive, but I have a specific use for each one.. I have a personal/work planner, a fitness/health planner, a bill/family planner and a blog planner. I was able to use the “exercise” and “special day” stickers in my fitness planner as shown in the pictures. I also used the “eat more veggies” sticker on a page not shown. I was able to use my “date night” stickers in my bill/family planner and I used some of the “don’t forget” and “Facebook” stickers in my blog planner. I’m sure I will find uses for all of the other stickers she sent me, but I haven’t used them just yet.

She is also very good with custom requests. If you have specific favorites or a special need for the stickers, she does her very best to customize it to what you want. And even though she didn’t have to help me with anything, she gave me some great advice on using Instagram, which I hadn’t used before. I am already up to almost 2,000 followers!

Sara was also very generous towards all of you, my fans! She sent me four planner sticker grab bags to giveaway to four different winners!

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a Rafflecopter giveaway

For more entries, head over to my Instagram (@jjeessoo11) where you can win one of four planner grab bags! And also be sure to checkout Organized Hooker at www.etsy.com/shop/organizedhooker or find her on Instagram/Facebook at @organizedhooker.

Disclaimer: I received a planner sticker grab bag free of charge from the  Organized Hooker Etsy Shop in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

Nerd Block Jr Girls June 2016 Review + Video

Ever since I started reviewing things on my blog, my oldest daughter, Lilian, has become very interested in being a part of it. She’s already an aspiring actress and just loves to be the center of attention. My husband and I get several subscription boxes, such as Geek FueI, Ipsy and just recently, we signed up for The Bam Box. We decided that Lilian is now old enough for her own subscription box, so we signed her up for Nerd Block Jr Girls and Pop in a Box. She decided she was going to review her Nerd Block Jr Girls June 2016 box for everyone to see, and here are the results. You can tell she practiced a bit before having me film her.

cre8tivjuice Etsy Shop Review

Planner Surprise Grab Bag Review

 cre8tivjuice Etsy Shop

Disclaimer: I received this grab bag free of charge in return for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Image 1Since I have been so dedicated to using my planners more often and working on making it a fun thing to do, I decided to ask a couple shops on Etsy if I could review their planner products on my blog. I was lucky enough to receive a response from Julie, the owner of cre8tivjuice, an Etsy shop. You can view her shop HERE. She sent me a grab bag packed full of planner accessories. It came with five super fun paperclips, some cute papers and stickers, a roll of washi tape and a laminated motivational card. The laminated card reads “It always seems impossible until it’s done – Nelson Mandela”

I think that a planner accessory grab bag is a neat concept! For those of you that know me, you know that I LOVE mystery boxes and mystery bags. I am subscribed to several monthly boxes, and so are my husband and daughter. We love getting things each month and discovering treasures that we never knew we wanted. Opening this grab bag gave me the same joy as opening subscription boxes. A few of the things that were included in the grab bag weren’t quite my style, but I still found uses for them. One of the paperclips had a children’s character on it and while it was very cute (as seen in pictures), I personally don’t have a use for it. However, my very excited 8 year old daughter has been using it as a bookmark for her new chapter book. She loves it. She wanted me to add that seeing her new bookmark makes her smile when she goes to read her book!

One other thing that I didn’t quite know how to implement into my planner were the cute little papers. They had cool designs on them like clouds, hearts, a deer and glittery images. I have been using one as a page marker in my planner, but the others are just sitting in my planner pocket, waiting for an idea to pop into my head. The motivational card was a very cool idea. I have placed it in the front of my clear planner pocket, so every time I reach for a pen, I see the quote and am reminded that I can do anything I put my mind to.

I’ve saved the best two items for last. I am in love with the fact that I got a roll of washi tape. My collection of washi tape is very small. I have maybe four rolls to my name. I just discovered it existed like two months ago and have become obsessed with it! It adds a great pop of color and fun to my planner. Not to mention you can use it on other crafts! I recently went to the MyPrintly Suite 2016 event and they were using washi tape to design frames for any pictures we wanted to take home. So getting a roll of tape in my grab bag was one of the best surprises. The next item that I was really excited about was the tiny little blue bag full of stickers. The other thing that I love most in life are stickers! I have so many stickers already, but I love adding to my collection. Julie added some very cute stickers to the bag, such as a cupcake, a popsicle, some fruit, a rainbow, cute little dots and stars, and a Disney sticker that I ultimately gave to my daughter as well. I can’t resist sharing things with her! My favorite stickers were the little sparkly dots and stars, as well as the cupcake!

Overall, I think her grab bag is a great deal! She sells these at her Etsy shop for only $8. It says on her site that you also have a chance of receiving a pair of her Swarovski crystal earring studs when you buy a grab bag. It could be you that receives that! If you want to check out her shop, click on this LINK. If you want to check out her grab bags, click on this LINK.

Disclaimer: I received this grab bag free of charge in return for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

 

 

 

Tessamae’s Salad Dressing and Marinade and Mom It Forward Sponsored Post

Disclaimer: This is a compensated post made possible by Tessamae’s and Mom It Forward, of which I am a member. However, all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Since starting my weight loss journey, I have always been on the lookout for healthy alternatives to everything I eat. One of the biggest challenges I faced was figuring out a healthy, yet tasty salad dressing. I experimented with olive oil, balsamic vinaigrette and just plain salsa. But only having three options gets old really fast. I wanted something different. Something better. 
When I got the chance to try Tessamae’s All Natural Salad Dressings and Marinades, I was so excited. Tessamae graciously sent me four of their All Natural salad dressings to try; Honey Balsamic, Balsamic, Green Goddess and Lemon Garlic. 

 

tessamae group

 

Tessamae’s All Natural makes a total of 25 marinades and condiments – all of which are USDA organic, gluten free, non-gmo, vegan and Whole30 approved! Their dressings and marinades will never contain any added sugar or xantham gum. 

For a total of four meals, I tried each dressing they sent me. For dinner on Wednesday night, I had a turkey meatloaf with a side salad. And, yes, you guessed it! I used the first dressing, Lemon Garlic. My salad was a mixture of organic spring mix lettuce with bell peppers, onion, mushroom and avocado. The dressing was light, almost having an olive oil taste to it with a hint of lemon and garlic. It was the perfect mixture and tasted amazing!
For lunch on Thursday, I had the same salad mixture, except this time I used Green Goddess. It had a taste to it that I can’t quite put into words. It was really good and went perfectly with the greens in my salad. It made my spinach taste good which is hard for me to say! I don’t enjoy spinach that much but it’s so healthy that I have to have it in my diet. The Green Goddess dressing still had a light, but very good taste to it. For the final two dressings, I decided to do a taste test at the same time, with two separate bites of side side at dinner. For the Honey Balsamic, I added a piece of BBQ chicken to the salad bite and it was delicious! I have added BBQ chicken salads to my weekly lunch menu just so I can add some Honey Balsamic dressing to it! The Balsamic dressing was just as tasty, but I have to say I preferred the Honey Balsamic with my BBQ chicken salad. 
I’m surprised at how much I like every one of the dressings. The flavors aren’t overpowering like some other dressings and they taste great! I can use these dressings and not feeel like I’m packing on the calories. Are you now wondering where you can get this dressing so you can try it for yourself? You can find Tessamae’s at your local Whole Foods, Fred Meyer and QFC or online at www.tessamae’s.com. They can also be found on social media! 

Twitter: 
@tessamaes
Hashtags: 
#SavorSummer  
#TasteWhatMatters
 
Disclaimer: This is a compensated post made possible by Tessamae’s and Mom It Forward, of which I am a member. However, all thoughts and opinions are my own. 
 
Tessamae's

 

A little back story before an awesome giveaway!

After the birth of my first child, I had a really hard time losing the weight. I found myself turning to fad diets, pills that claim you can lost 20 lbs in a week and anything else that I could think of besides what I was actually needing to do. I craved to go back to being super thin, back to the days where I could eat pizza and not have it go to my thighs. I was once an aspiring model, but I had changed. My body had changed. Instead of going back to how I was, I needed to create a NEW me. A healthier me. So I dedicated my time to searching for clean eating recipes and hired a personal trainer. Slowly I began seeing the results. I lost four pounds, and then seven pounds and then 15 pounds! I was starting to not only see the results, but I was feeling the results. I felt good. Soon I had lost over 35 pounds and I was feeling amazing. I wasn’t stick thin like before but I felt great. I looked great. It was at this point in my life, I met the man that I would eventually marry.

Let’s fast forward to now. I just had a baby on June 7. During my pregnancy, I thought I would keep eating healthy and exercise regularly, but my cravings and morning sickness got the best of me and I went right back into an unhealthy lifestyle. I ballooned yet again and skyrocketed up to a whopping 198 pounds! (This may not be a lot for some people, but I am usually around 120 pounds, so it was a lot of weight gain for me.) Boy, did I regret letting myself get that way when I looked in the mirror. I had started feeling sad and disappointed again every time I looked at myself. I was getting uncomfortable when my husband hugged me. It was causing tension that we had never had before. It was at this point that I realized I had to do something different. Nothing was going to change unless I made a change. So yet again, I started eating better and hired a new personal trainer.

I have just started my fitness journey this time around and have only dropped five pounds, but even that small amount is a reminder that it DOES work.

To help me in my fitness journey, I have started a fitness planner, where I track my meals in a 21 day fix style and track my workouts and water intake. I feel without a detailed log, I would get off track and slide backwards which is not a risk I am willing to take. I wanted to let you guys in on my background story before I posted these next few reviews and giveaways. Tomorrow, I will be posting a review and giveaway that you won’t want to miss!

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Etsy Grab Bags!

In the coming weeks, I’m going to review a few different Etsy shops on their grab bags and planner stickers.

But this gave me an idea.. I have so many craft supplies and stickers, literally thousands. My husband begs me to get rid of some of my stuff so that we have more room for things we need. So I decided to put up some of my own grab bags on Etsy. Craft supplies, scrap booking supplies, stickers and sewing supplies! I have so many supplies, so each grab bag is sure to be filled with lots of goodies.

Feel free to check it out if you’re in need of some supplies! Click the link below.

New found love for Subscription Boxes (Nerd Block, Loot Crate, Ipsy, Legion of Collectors, Geek Fuel)

*This post contains affiliate links, but all boxes were bought by Blogging Mama

My family and I have become obsessed with subscription boxes! I have been getting Ipsy for ages! When I discovered makeup subscription boxes, I fell in love. Not only do I get to try the newest brands and styles, but I get a surprise package in the mail every month. In the beginning I was getting about 4-5 different beauty subscription boxes. But then I realized, if there’s this many beauty boxes, there’s got to be other kinds of boxes. That’s when my research started and I discovered an entire world of subscription boxes. 
There are subscription boxes for everyone! There are boxes for babies, parents, men, women, children, people who love wine, people who call themselves nerds, people who like video games, or who like exercising and eating healthy. I can’t even name them all because there are so many. 

I decided to cancel all but one of my beauty boxes, and re-invest in boxes for my family members. My daughter decided to get the Nerd Block Jr. for Girls (video review coming soon – she did it herself!) and has had a blast opening her box each month. My husband decided to get Geek Fuel, and was pleasantly surprised with what he got in his box (again, review coming soon!). I randomly decided to get him one more subscription box because the theme was right up his alley. The Legion of Collectors June theme was Suicide Squad and my husband has watched every single trailer and talks about it all the time. He has even made me marathon watch almost every DC movie so that I can catch up and not ask a ton of questions while he’s watching his beloved Suicide Squad. He literally squealed with delight when he opened his subscription box (I unfortunately didn’t catch this on video, but his review is coming soon as well). 

Ultimately, I canceled Legion of Collectors, because the next box is Women of DC and my husband didn’t seem too interested in that box. Geek Fuel is still in the running for now. My daughter LOVES Nerd Block Jr, but discovered a new box that she may love even more! A review will be coming of that mystery box, as well. (Lots of reviews coming!) I think it’s time to cancel my favorite beauty box and find another subscription box for myself!

The newest subscription box that my husband was thinking of getting is Loot Crate. It’s for gamers or nerds or whichever you prefer to call yourself. There’s also crates for pets, and anime lovers as well as a few other options. July’s theme is Futuristic and I have a coupon code just for you! 

 I also have 3 FREE Ipsy bag codes to give away. Post with your email if you’d like to receive one! It is only valid with first time subscribers, but if you’d like to only receive one, simply redeem and then cancel.



#MyPrintly Print Suite Event!

I was lucky enough to be invited to the #MyPrintly Print Suite Event in Los Angeles, CA on August 5, 2016. I don’t live in LA, so my husband and I will be making the 14 hour drive just to attend this event! I am so excited to learn about HP’s new products and even get to test them out myself! 

Since we are making the trip to LA, we decided we would make a weekend vacation out of it! So while we are there, we are going to take in the sights, grab a hotel room and tour the city! My husband and I haven’t had a trip together with just the two of us for almost two years, so it will be a great bonding experience for the both of us. 

I can’t wait to share my LA and #MyPrintly Print Suite experience with all of you!

Day 1

Meet Riley! She’s even more perfect than I could have imagined! Look at all that hair!

Now that I am 6 weeks post c-section, I can finally start exercising and getting back into shape so that I feel good about myself again. I had a consultation with a personal trainer this morning and learned my body fat percentage is fair. While that’s better than poor, I would love for it to be in the good range. So next Tuesday, I start personal training every Tuesday at 6 am! I am not a morning person at all, so we will see how training at 6 am goes! 

I have told everyone all along that when I started my journey, I would post it on my blog for everyone to see. It’s going to be a bit embarrassing for me to post my before pictures, but I’m never going to get anywhere if I hide out at home! And hey, maybe my journey will be a motivator for someone else out there. As I go along on this adventure, I will post weekly updates for you guys. There may not be that much difference in the first few weeks, but it will be fun to look back on my progress as time goes on.

I have also started eating better and will post my recipes as I go along here in these coming months. For breakfast this morning, I made egg muffins with veggies. 

 Egg Muffins
  • 12 eggs
  • 3 cups veggies of your choice (I used spinach, mushrooms, red bell peppers, and onion)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350° 
2. In large bowl, beat eggs. Add veggies, salt, garlic powder, and pepper. Stir in cheese. 
3. Spoon by 1/3 cupfuls into muffin cups coated with olive oil or lined with muffin paper. Bake 25 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean.  

For my snacks throughout the day, I have a portion of cantaloupe and a cucumber dill salad. 

  Cucumber Dill Salad
  • One cucumber, thinly sliced
  • One half of an onion, thinly sliced
  • Dill
  • 3 tbsp plain Greek yogurt 
  • 2 tsp salt 

Mix ingredients together and you have a wonderful cucumber dill summer salad! 

I am excited to go on this journey with you all! Have a fantastic day!