HELLO
Mom to Iris. Wife to Todd. Our little family lives at the foothills of the Ozark Mountains in Fayetteville, Arkansas. We love it here and I love sharing little bits of our life.

© 2014 sarahfortune.

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RECIPE: Cinnamon Roll Bread Pudding

If you are anything like me, you love freshly baked goodies around the holidays, but rarely have the time to make them. I’m always looking for easy, yet delish options to keep my family happy and full in the winter months. This season I’m excited to team up with Immaculate Baking Company to share a bread pudding recipe using their cinnamon rolls and icing. I love this recipe because, not only is it delicious and super simple, but I usually already have the ingredients on hand. It’s a great treat to whip up for a special breakfast or holiday dessert.

Available at Whole Foods, Immaculate Baking Company’s mission to create wholesome baking products, many of which are certified gluten-free or organic. As a regular (re: obsessive) Whole Foods shopper, I love having quality options for cake mixes, pre-made cookie dough, as well as canned biscuits and cinnamon rolls. Plus, in the month of November, spend $10 on Immaculate Baking Company products and save $3 via the Whole Foods app! Ready to try the recipe? Check it out below!

Ingredients:
1 package of Immaculate Baking Company Cinnamon Rolls (makes 5 rolls & is located in the dairy section at Whole Foods)
1 1/2 cups of milk
2/3 cups of sugar
4 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
1/2 cup of raisins

Directions:
– Preheat oven to 350°
– Bake the Immaculate Baking Company Cinnamon Rolls according to the directions (18-20 minutes)
– While the cinnamon rolls bake, prepare the bread pudding mixture.
– In a large bowl, combine the milk, sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Mix until sugar is dissolved.
– Once the cinnamon rolls are baked, remove from oven and let cool.
– Tear all 5 cinnamon rolls into bite-sized pieces and place into a medium sized baking dish.
– Toss the raisins into the cinnamon roll pieces.
– Pour the prepared mixture into the dish until the cinnamon roll pieces are just barely covered (you may have a little extra). Using a spoon, gently press down on the cinnamon rolls to ensure each piece is covered with the mixture.
– Let sit for 20 minutes, letting the cinnamon roll pieces soak up the mixture.
– Bake for 30-40 minutes at 350° (or until the casserole is cooked all the way through).
– Let slightly cool, then add the the Immaculate Baking Company icing.
– Serve warm and enjoy!

Want to try out other dishes? Check out Immaculate Baking Company’s website for fun recipe ideas!

I have been compensated by Immaculate Baking for this post; however, I am sharing my own thoughts. All opinions are my own.

Iris’ Own YouTube Channel!

So if you have a kid anywhere near Iris’ age, they are probably equally obsessed with those crazy YouTube videos of other family’s vacations, random kids playing with their toys, and even grown-ups unboxing Shopkins, acting amazed at what they find. Well, recently Iris decided she wanted to start her own YouTube channel for other kids to watch, and she named it Iris’ Fun Channel! If you have any kids that like this sort of thing, share it with them, leave her a comment, and subscribe – it will seriously make her day. She only has two videos right now, but we’ll keep adding to her channel because whenever she gets a comment, she asks me to read them over and over.

Watch her first video here!

Kitchen Renovation – Before & After

We moved into our 1969 ranch home three and a half years ago. I honestly can’t believe that we have been here for that long already. We’ve made a few changes since we moved in, such as adding a window that opens up our kitchen to our den, we built a front porch to replace our concrete stoop, and of course Todd made that sweet little playhouse in the backyard for Iris’ birthday last year.

The first major project we’ve accomplished is updating our kitchen and, besides a few little things that still need tending to (paint touch-ups and such), we are almost ready to move on to our next project. My fingers are crossed for tackling the bathrooms, but even I must admit I will be a little sad to see our retro, olive green tiles go. Just a little. While I love the character of older homes, I love to mix in a modern comfort that still protects the vintage charm.

Unfortunately, our 1960s home had more of a 1980s charm when it came to the kitchen. There was a big hangy-downy thing (that’s the official name, I’m pretty sure) between the kitchen and the rest of the room, bi-level bar, countertops that were a depressing taupe color, and cabinets that I’m sure were all the rage when I was in junior high. You can see all of this clearly from the “before” photos, which are from the listing (from before we moved in):

Earlier this year we finally buckled down and got serious about our kitchen upgrades. After getting some quotes from several vendors, Todd opted to do almost everything himself. The only thing he didn’t do was install our new countertops, because that’s included in the cost per square foot anyway. This is the moment where I once again realize how lucky I am to have someone like Todd as my husband. He’s truly a jack of all trades. Need some beer? He can make it. Need a new song to love? He will write it. Need a website? Todd has you covered. Need a new kitchen? CHECK! Honestly, the list goes on. That’s not to say I didn’t do my part… I spent many a lunch hour at Home Depot and Sears spending all of our money, picking out every little last thing. Annnd besides therapeutically knocking out some ugly backsplash tile, that’s where my help ended.

So here’s the final product! Our kitchen that I love dearly. A kitchen where now my family can sit at the bar, visiting with me as I cook dinner each night. A kitchen that makes me want to cook each night. And a kitchen that also made me want to update the attached sitting room. One project always leads to another, doesn’t it? We ended up changing that area from a breakfast eating zone, to a comfy sitting area with a record player and loveseat in front of our fireplace.

Check out our progress below:

Interested in where we got our stuff? I’ve tried to source as much of it below:

KITCHEN:
Dishwasher, Refrigerator, Viatera Cortina Quartz Countertop, Rug, Sink, Faucet, Vent, Stovetop

LIVING AREA:
Loveseat, Chair, Record Player, Rug, Table & Record Stand (sorry, that is another one of Todd’s many talents – table making)

My #GroceryHero Moment

I never knew what busy was until I became a mom. My days are planned out, utilizing every minute from sun up, to sun down. Because I work full-time, my errands and to-do lists are accomplished on my lunch hour and on the weekends. For our family groceries, at least once a week I run to Walmart instead of eating lunch, quickly picking out everything on my list, separating out the cold goods so that I can toss them in my office fridge. At the end of the day, I put the groceries back into my car, zoom off to pick up Iris from school, and then finally get the chance to put everything away that evening. Of course I usually end up having to take another trip to the store on the weekend, with Iris in tow, for things that I may have forgotten. Throw the busy holiday season on top of that, and my time is pretty much overspent.

But recently, everything changed when I tried Walmart’s Online Grocery Pickup for the first time in preparation for an early Thanksgiving meal with friends. I downloaded the app to my phone so that throughout the week I could add items to my list as I decided on certain recipes. Finalizing my shopping cart in my pajamas from my bed, I scheduled my pick-up time for a time that worked with my crazy schedule.

Once it got close to the window of time I selected, I received a notification that my order was ready. I clicked “Check In” on the app, buckled Iris into her car-seat, and we were on our way.

Pulling into the Walmart Neighborhood Market near my house in Fayetteville, I saw plenty of orange “Pickup” signs directing me where to go. With clearly marked spaces for #GroceryHeros like me, I zipped into a spot and popped my trunk. If you’ve ever taken a child to the grocery store, you know this is where I did a little happy dance in my car. Getting all of my groceries without having to get Iris (or myself) out of the car felt like I had just won the lottery – especially since this entire service is free and comes with the guarantee that only the freshest items are selected for each order. After just a few minutes, we were headed back home with a trunk full of goodies for our holiday meal and with extra time at home with those that we love.

Want to be a #groceryhero too? Check out Walmart’s online grocery ordering here!

Stores Offering Online Grocery in the Northwest Arkansas area:
Walmart Pickup
3701 SE Dodson Rd.
Bentonville, AR 72712

Walmart Neighborhood Market
1703 E. Central Ave.
Bentonville, AR 72712

Walmart Neighborhood Market
1400 N Walton Blvd.
Bentonville, AR 72712

Walmart Neighborhood Market
205 N Main St.
Bentonville, AR 72712

Walmart Neighborhood Market
808 W. Walnut St.
Rogers, AR 72756

Walmart Supercenter
4208 Pleasant Crossing Blvd.
Rogers, AR 72758

Walmart Neighborhood Market
4900 Jennifer Terrace
Springdale, AR 72762

Walmart Neighborhood Market
2690 E. Citizens Dr.
Fayetteville, AR 72703

Walmart Supercenter
2875 W. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Fayetteville, AR 72704

Walmart Neighborhood Market
660 W. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Fayetteville, AR 72701

This is a sponsored post, but all opinions are my own.

Colorado Springs

I just woke up in my own bed after most of the week away. I’m not sure if it was a blessing or a curse to be traveling so far away from home on election day, but at least where went was absolutely, naturally gorgeous. I attended a conference for work in Colorado Springs at the Broadmoor. The property was stunning, the views were even better. On the last night my friend Laura even drove down from Boulder to keep me company.


Being my last work trip of the year, I feel like I’m now home and able to look towards the holidays! Even though that means more travel – This year we’re doing something a little more unique for Thanksgiving and skipping town. After having a Thanksgiving dinner with my mom, we’re headed for St. Louis and then Chicago for a few days to explore. We’ll only be in St. Louis for one night, but if you have any suggestions for Chicago, please send them my way!