Archives for occasions

I Am Grateful For…

Each Ramadan and Thanksgiving we don our wall with our Grateful Cards.  Each card says, “Today I am Grateful For…” and then each of us lists what we are grateful for that day.  There is no wrong answer, but the only rule is you can’t use your same answer twice.  Through their answers I’ve learned a lot about my children.  Zain is the diplomat and always gives lofty answers like my family, the food that we have to eat, my teachers, etc.  My little guy is still using what is top of mind or what he can see in the

My Big Ugly Cry

My mom used to cry every time that I left to go back to college, or later whenever we parted ways after a visit, and I would get so exasperated, almost embarrassed.  She was also a sucker for Kleenex and Hallmark commercials.  In my mind, she was a complete mush!  Of course, now she’s gone, and like most things that drove me crazy about her, I get it.  And dare say that I’ve become her.  I’m a complete empathetic crier.  I see someone else cry…I absolutely feel their pain, joy, hurt and I join right in.  I cry every time my

Bring Back May Day

I moved to Boston in 1994 (yikers!) fresh out of Iowa State and I was an anomaly within my firm.  I worked within an interior architectural firm where nearly everyone was from New England.  They for the life of them could not remember where I was from.  At one point I photocopied a map of the United States and x-ed through Idaho, Ohio, Illinois and Indiana with a big circle around Iowa with arrows pointing to it and I posted it over the photocopier.  Not only was I strange for being from anywhere but the Northeast, I also brought with me

Host a Coloring Party

I host a cookie swap every December that everyone swears is their favorite, but I am cognizant of the fact that they could be just being nice! I’d like to say that it is my charming hostess skills and/or my goodies, but I really think that the women in my life enjoy the opportunity to connect. In our crazy busy world it’s easy to get swept up into the minutia and put aside our own connections for those of our family and/or children. When was the last time you scheduled a playdate for yourself? With the cookie swap as a

Top 10 Posts of 2015

I love retrospectives.  If you haven’t checked out our video retrospective, chock full of bloopers, from 2015.  You must! Looking back at the year lets you see how much you did accomplish.  Because even if you felt like you came up short–believe you me, my list of potential posts is WAY longer than what actually got posted, you can see that you actually rocked it all things considered!  So I did a bit of analytics sleuthing to see what you enjoyed most at Just Jennessa in 2015.  And here it goes…working backwards! 10. The Container Queen Sharing all of my

Thousand Dollar Fudge

Last year I made this fudge for my chocolate swap in February–like my cookie swap in December!  These are not remotely dairy free or low anything.  But the recipe is easy peasy and a huge hit.  This is typically a “holiday” recipe in December, but you can see how you can change it up for any holiday–or for a random Tuesday in April!  You can make them without a “topping” or you can add crushed candy canes, toffee pieces or white chocolate chips…as a variation.

Valentine’s Round Up

While my husband will tell you that every day is Valentine’s Day, I would beg to differ!  That aside, I do enjoy having fun with the kids for Valentine’s and this year with 60″ of snow and still counting, it’s the only thing keeping us sane!  So here are some of my favorite Valentine’s ideas, crafts and goodies.  Enjoy! These were Zain’s Valentine’s from first grade with bouncy balls…Valentine, You Make My Heart Bounce!  It’s safe to say, they were a huge hit all round.  Here is a link to a free printable of the card.  I used clear cello

Devil’s Food Cake

This is my secret weapon when I need to make a cake from scratch, which isn’t that often to be honest!  But typically for the boys’ birthdays I use this because it can be make dairy free and for the past 8 birthdays there has always been a friend that has a dairy allergy.  And this year, Zain is now needing to be dairy free.  I use this a lot in conjunction with my Aunt Patti’s Fluffy White frosting, which is also dairy free.  So here goes!  This can be made as cupcakes or as a sheet or round cakes. 

Patti’s Fluffy White Frosting

This frosting was my all time favorite growing up and is my Aunt Patti’s.  I would request angel food cake with fluffy white frosting for my birthday every year.  It’s a bit time consuming, so I wasn’t always granted my wish unfortunately.  We recently found out that my oldest son has a dairy allergy, which is definitely affecting my baking regiment!  So this frosting is now a go-to since it’s dairy free and I use it with my Devil’s Food cupcakes/cake, which is also dairy free.  Slowly but surely I hope to convert all of our favorites to dairy free–between

The Art of Drizzle

I seem like I am forever in a pinch—welcome to my world, where I need to do a gift, take along a treat to a play date, or take something to a potluck and I look in my cabinets and say “YIKES!”  I love to bake, as you know, but sometimes chocolate chip cookies isn’t going to cut it even though they are the easiest go to item in a pinch.  So this is when the drizzle comes into play.  Take anything you bake and make it look fancy with drizzle.  It was the night before Valentines Day, when all