Name: Lauryn

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    Patchwork Pumpkin Craft

    October 31st, 2015


    A couple of days ago, I headed to NYC for a fun time at the HotToys13 party sponsored by The Big Toy Book. Lucky for me, my parents live right across the bridge from the Trenton train station (which is a super easy route into the city) AND, they always love watching the kids. So, we packed up and headed to Nanny and Pop Pops. C and G were more than excited because they get to do all kinds of things where they are there. They get treats and snacks that may not otherwise be allowed, and they play with glitter. Yes, in our house, that is an extra special treat (#iloatheglitter). H was excited because the GeoTrax came out and man, they are super fun to play with!

    I came home that night from NYC after a lovely day and got to see all of the crafts they had made. Of course my creative mama came up with a few awesome projects but one of them reminded me of her. A Patchwork Pumpkin. The quilter that she is, this one involved piecing fabric scraps together. And bonus, it is super simple and one that the kids will love!

    A Patchwork Pumpkin:


    Halloween themed or colored fabric scraps (JoAnnes always has a cute selection, sometimes for $1 in their stores)
    Modge Podge
    Craft Pumpkin


    1. Cut up pieces of fabric into squares. My mom used ~2 inch x 2 inch squares but that is the beauty of this project, you don’t have to be exact!
    2. Go to town with the Modge Podge. Using the Modge Podge and with a paintbrush, “paint” them onto the craft pumpkin in any pattern that you (or your children) would like.
    3. Let your pumpkin dry. 

    * I would leave this pumpkin outside under the elements. It would be great as an indoor decoration or under a porch:)



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    2015 #CanItForward Day Is Here!

    July 31st, 2015


    I love this day.

    It is a day where Jarden Home Brands joins forces with chefs and food preservers around the country and goes on tour showing everyone how it’s done.

    And today is the day. There is a live stream at the bottom of this post where you can watch it all unfold.

    I have been canning up a storm and freezing lots of our summer harvest for use all winter long. In our new home (not so new anymore) we have plenty of space to grow and we’ve been doing just that. This year’s garlic harvest was excellent. And now, here come the tomatoes and peppers. I see lots of tomato freezing, sauce making and salsa enjoying in my future! Ball even has a new recipe book out – and cucumber relish is going to be my new try for this summer!

    One new recipe I tried this year was one from A Farm Girl Dabbles for pickled red onions. I plan on using them on some pulled pork sandwiches. YUM!


    Bonus: They look pretty amazing in the new purple mason jars that Ball has put out this year. Combined with the purple lids – you can’t get much prettier than that. A neat hostess gift for that summer BBQ!!

    Last year I really got on an herb preserving kick and this year it has continued. I used those frozen herb cubes all winter long in soups, stew and other dishes and I plan on doing it again. Here’s a peek at the equipment I use.  And this year I have been doing the same. I grew parsley, rosemary and basil and have been storing them all!

    Tonight I just picked about 7 pounds of perfect cukes – a mix of A.C. Pickling, N.C. Pickling and Slicing and so I’ll be watching Can It Forward Day and participating in it too. I’m thinking of trying cucumber relish!

    Tune in HERE:

    And leave a comment with your favorite thing to can for a chance to win a coupon for a case of these gorgeous 2015 Heritage Collection purple jars! 

    ***Disclosure: In return for posting about Can It Forward Day, I received products from Ball to review. Some of them I mention in the above post. I love Ball jars and am stoked that they came out with a new recipe book this year which I have already jumped into using! All thoughts and opinions are my own.  



    Canning Season and the New Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving

    June 21st, 2015

    Canning season officially began last night in our house. It was one of the most fun opening nights I’ve had. :) Two friends came over, one canned with me, the other drank wine with us while we worked hard for those little 4 oz jars of precious jam. Girl talk and canning = a perfect night!

    I even wore my uniform!

    Strawberry Rhubarb Jam was the preserved good of the night. H and I picked last week up at Ward’s Berry Farm for the Strawberry Rhubarb Pie Bars that I made over the weekend so we opted for the market fruits this time. When it comes to canning fresh is best so we grabbed some early that morning.

    So now that the seal has been broken, bring on the canning for the season. Clearly I am looking forward to the usuals…Jalapeno Jelly, Salsa, Pizza Sauce, Tomatoes. But… I am also continuing with my pact to myself that I will try a new preserved delicacy every year. I am not quite sure what this year’s will be, and honestly, it may be more than one!

    ball canning

    The new Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving (37th edition) is out and we all know Ball recipes are some of my favorites. I have spent some time paging through and I think I am falling for some of the grilling sauces. We have a TON of garlic in the field right now and Garlic Mustard Sauce has a special ring to it. :)

    But seriously, if you don’t have this Guide to Preserving, I HIGHLY recommend you get it. It is one of the canning essentials needed (in my opinion). The book begins with the basics of canning – the dos and don’ts and there ARE dos and don’ts when it comes to canning. In fact, I only follow tested recipes.

    And then of course come the canning recipes. There are tons and they are all over the place. From jellies and jams to grilling sauces to pickled goods, oh and the pie fillings. Don’t forget the pie fillings!

    Are you excited yet? Good, because I sure am. I CAN’T WAIT! Stay tuned and check out my creations as they come. Follow along on Instagram because that’s where I am hanging out these days!

    Disclosure: I was provided a copy of the Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving in order to review it. But honestly, I would have bought it on my own. 😉


    Garlic Scape and Basil Pesto – Nut Free

    June 17th, 2015


    So, we are inundated with garlic! The day I dreamed of is finally here – harvest day. Okay, so we’ve been harvesting herbs for a little bit, but the garlic, the garlic is here!

    I am going to go on record saying that garlic was the best gardening decision I ever made (so far). And I plan on doubling my crop next year! I already placed my Green Mountain Garlic order. Scapes all around!

    Spring veggies make a mean pasta dish. Top it off with a fresh, homemade pesto and you’ve just about reached perfection.

    I grabbed some asparagus from Tosy’s farm the other day (I just planted the roots for mine this year), harvested some scapes and basil and whipped up a quick and easy dinner.

    The only issue we have with pesto is that traditionally it is made with nuts. Since H man is allergic I made it with sunflower seeds that were processed in a nut-free facility instead and it turned out just as delish. But feel free to substitute pine nuts instead if you desire. :)

    Here’s my recipe:

    Garlic Scape and Basil Pesto – Nut Free


    • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped garlic scapes
    • 1/2 cup basil leaves
    • 1/4 cup fresh Parmesan cheese
    • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
    • pinch of Kosher salt
    • 1/2 cup olive oil


    1. Add all ingredients to your food processor. If needed, add more olive oil by the Tbsp. Blend until smooth. Add to your pasta dish and you're ready to enjoy!


    It’s Been Awhile….

    April 17th, 2015


    Lauryn here. I’m back! So it has been a while since I have written. I took a step back in the beginning of March and a look at where I am spending my time. It was pretty eye opening actually.

    Blogging has always been something that I intended to be a creative outlet. The Vintage Mom was meant to be a place where I could share what was going on in my mind at the time. In the months leading up to March I felt a strong need to post consistently and that became almost every day. Quite honestly, it was too much…for me.

    Taking a step back has allowed me to re-prioritize some things and now I am BACK and ready to share just in time for spring – which is now becoming my new favorite season.

    We have A LOT going on at home. After a New England winter filled with snow (that just left a week ago), I wasn’t sure I would ever be able to start my seedlings and get back to creating our dream home. And now…we’re at it. A week of 60 degree days will do a lot for the soul. It is enough to put a constant smile on your face. Even as I sit here on a rainy day I am smiling because I know that the rain is watering those carrots I just planted a few days ago and the garlic that is sprouting.

    This is a whole new gardening world for us up here. I’ve started seeds (later than I would have in PA) and planted some in the ground but I am still not quite sure what to expect. So Ben and I have agreed to work on some structural things this summer and experiment with all of the planting. I am recording everything that we do so we will remember for next year!

    We are just getting started but we have accomplished so much in such a little time!

    First, let me just make note, the garlic is coming up. I repeat, THE GARLIC IS COMING UP! I realize this is not a big deal to most gardeners. I have never planted garlic before though and after this winter that we had, I wasn’t hoping for anything big but…I  got big and that makes me happy. It is kind of unreal the amount of excitement that you feel when you see those green shoots begin to poke through the mulch that you placed to protect them all winter. And now, we have tons of green shoots.


    Last weekend, the kids and I marked out an area for the carrots and planted some. I wasn’t planning on planting carrots this year – it wasn’t on my list but I had received a gift from my in-laws for Christmas from Seed Savers and it included the gorgeous purplish Dragon carrots so we planted of course!

    Ben got to building right away too. Our greenhouse cover survived the harsh winter. And so inside, Ben built a big raised bed area where I planted greens – Butterhead lettuce, spinach and lettuce mix. Eventually I think we will be able to plant right in the ground but I am fairly certain the soil will need to be amended a bit before we do. Not to mention, the greenhouse needs to be cleaned up a bit before we do. The good news was that we were able to till the sides and there were not nearly as many rocks as we had anticipated. Microgreens are going to be started in there next!

    raised bed

    Seedlings are constantly being started now. Every day I have been starting more. I got the peppers going a few weeks ago and they took forever to germinate. I swear I was like a mother waiting for her child to arrive. And the tomatoes – some have started growing and I am waiting on all of the others to germinate. The tricky part for me has been the nights. I have warming mats (but not enough) and a mini greenhouse in the sunroom but it is still getting really cold here at night.

    So, there is a lot to do. But I am loving every single bit of it. I can’t wait to see what blooms here in spring. We didn’t arrive until summer last year and so we have no idea what we are in for – but I can imagine it is going to be quite the sight. Stay tuned! I promise, there will be more to come. :)

    – Lauryn


    Our Top 10 Favorite Family Dinners

    February 24th, 2015


    I have been meal planning for well over a year now. It has helped us stick to a budget, eat well rounded meals and feel less stressed during the busy weeks. I do love my meal plans!

    I thought it would be fun to share with you our top 10 Favorite Family Dinners. All of these are tried and true. They have made it into the rotation multiple times and are OFTEN asked for. I will go on record saying that these are a hit with each and every one of my kids (and Ben too). I can’t say that about every meal we eat!

    Top 10 Favorite Family Meals at the Blakesley Table

    10. Breakfast for Dinner Night – The only one that doesn’t love this is Ben. :) Everyone else cheers for Beet Pancakes, French Toast, Eggs and sometimes bacon. Breakfast is usually so rushed in this house that it is nice to be able to really enjoy it in the evening!

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    9. Fresh Vegetable and Pork Lasagna This one is so versatile and I always throw in season veggies in. Easy to make and another hit for everyone. Easy to sneak in the goodness here!

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    8. Homemade Spaghetti Sauce, Meatballs and Pasta – No explanation necessary. 😉 The best part? Making a huge pot of

    7.  Kale and Zucchini Meatloaf Another hearty favorite! Love sneaking the veggies into this one.

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    6. Enchiladas with Acorn Squash Enchilada Sauce I dream of freezing acorn squash just for this recipe. Enchilada sauce takes on a whole new meaning after eating this kind. And another one we all love.

    5. Vegetable Soup Mama H for the win. This one is the healthiest most delicious soups ever. We LOVE it! Usually served with grilled cheese at our house, the kids dig right in.

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    4. Tacos – I don’t even know what else to say about this one. I don’t have a special recipe. We just love tacos. Sour cream, salsa, avocado, shredded cheese and some delicious black beans and peppers. YUM!

    3. Chicken Bruschetta Pasta I always start to get excited for this dish as summer comes into play and the smell of fresh tomatoes and basil is in the air. That said, we at this dish mid-winter tonight. And it was delish! 😉 Fresh is the first word that comes to mind.

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    2. Irish Beef Stew We tried this one on St. Patrick’s Day a few years ago and it was an instant hit. This was definitley a tie for first. The kids love this dish. After making it for a few years I definitely tweek the recipe just a bit – everyone always wants more gravy and I add a few other veggies!

    1. Chicken Pot Pie I have had to up our game recently and make 2 full Chicken Pot Pies. Ben was starting to get cranky that there were no leftovers and the kids were always going back for seconds. There are no tears at the table when this one is served!

    What are some of your family’s meal plan favorites? 

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    Thinking Differently About Food

    January 31st, 2015


    Our eating habits sure have changed over the last 5 years. Actually, ever since we had C things have been different. But I will say that the tipping factor for us was the CSA.

    As soon as we became a family that was vested in our local food culture and started to understand how our food was grown – that is when the change in our eating habits really happened. At that moment I began to think long and hard about not only the food that I was eating but the food that I was feeding my children. With that came the thoughts about how our food got to our table, who worked to get it there, the honesty and integrity of the farmers that we were buying it from. That is where the excitement came. You see, sure, you can look at cleaning up the way you eat as a daunting, expensive, difficult process. OR you can look at it as an adventure – an adventure where you will meet people that will change your lives and inspire you along the way. They will inspire your whole family. THAT is how we chose to look at this process.

    Now we’re on that journey.

    Changing the way you eat, especially with three children, doesn’t happen overnight. It is a process – a learning process. Like I said, for us it started with the incorporation of fresh, honestly grown produce. I often say to my family, we are lucky that I enjoy cooking (and baking for that matter). :) I especially enjoy experimenting and creating. It is the experimenting that is what allows us to try new things. And it is the experimenting that I’d like to do more of this year. Along with working on some of the other staples that we have relied on for years.

    Here’s to not getting stuck baking and cooking one way.

    Sugar – We, like many families, eat too much sugar. Most of it is hidden in foods that we don’t even realize. I would like to find some other ways to bake without using as much. There are so many substitutes that can be used in place of refined sugar.

    Veggies – I want to continue trying to incorporate new and interesting textures and flavors when it comes to veggies. These Chicken Lettuce Wraps are a favorite meal in our home and the key ingredient – kholrabi. Without experimenting, I would not have come across this delicious entree!

    Fruits – I have started beginning each day with a bowl of berries or other fruits (for both the kids and I). We all love fruits and it is just a matter of having them in the house all the time and cleaning them so they are ready to eat. I’d like to do more of this.

    Brands we can trust – Over the last few years I have gotten to know some brands that I can trust when it comes to ingredients and production methods. With H’s peanut allergy, this adds another level of concern for us. I want to call a brand and have an intelligent conversation about how their product is manufactured. This year I’d like to continue to  get to know more of these brands. When it comes to dairy, my go-to is Stonyfield. When it comes to O.J. it’s Matt’s. When it comes to chocolate chips I head to Enjoy Life. See, there are those brands that we love and can support.

    What are some of the things you’d like to change when it comes to eating? 

    **Disclosure: This post was written as a part of the Stonyfield Yogetters program. All thoughts and opinions on our journey are my own. 😉

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    Simple and Quick Cleaning Closet Makeover

    January 30th, 2015


    We are on a roll with renovations in our home these days. We just redid the family room with the exception of decorating. That is next. I think we could walk through every room in the house and think of different projects to do to it. One of our favorite rooms in our new home is our laundry room. It is nothing special. It’s small and there isn’t any extra space in it but…it is in fact a traditional mud room of sorts in that it is between the garage and the house.

    So…I love it.

    It also has a closet which gives us an extra one on the first floor. A bonus closet of sorts.

    While the laundry room is certainly on the list of redos in our home, it isn’t a gigantic priority. But what is a priority is the closet that is in it. I need it organized! This closet will house all of the miscellaneous cleaning supplies that I use throughout the house regularly. Our mop, lightbulbs, and dusting cloths. It is super small and so up until now all of the above things have been shoved inside as you can see below!


    Now’s the time to organize it.

    With 3 shelves in the closet, I wanted to devote each shelf to a group.

    Shelf #1:

    The most accessible shelf will be one devoted to cleaning products. I purchased this large wire basket from Wayfair to hold them. In the back of the shelf I’ll store extra products that don’t get used during every cleaning spree. In the basket I’ll put products that do. This wire basket is easily “totable”. I wanted something that was classy looking and could be carried around easily. That way I could tote it from room to room while I’m cleaning.


    Shelf #2

    This one is for extra cleaning towels and cloths. These can be easily placed in a basket.

    Shelf #3

    This one is for vacuum attachments as well as lightbulbs – two things that we use quite often. :) A plastic storage box makes it really easy to hold these and they are even stackable should we start to need extras. That is key!

    Once the shelves were {easily} organized, I needed to figure out the duster/mop situation. Our hardwood mop is always falling out of every closet that we put it in. I needed something to keep it stationary so I opted for this wall (or in this case door) mounted holder. It screws into the back of a closet door (you could put it on a wall too) and holds pole structures in place. Perfection!!! I am SO SO happy about this one.



    Now I feel like we can finally put things away when it comes to cleaning instead of just throwing them in the closet. Everything has a place and it is organized. A HUGE help!



    What are your favorite products that you use to organize your cleaning/laundry closet?! 

    Disclosure: I participate in the Wayfair Homemaker program and this is a sponsored post on behalf of All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

    Wayfair Homemakers

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    Family Room Redo and Feeling at Home

    January 29th, 2015


    I gotta say, it took this…a family room redo for me to feel at home. And within minutes of the carpet guy leaving, that is exactly how I felt.

    We moved into our new home in July. We painted bedrooms (the boys and ours) and have done a few things here and there around the house but nothing big. Honestly, nothing big needed to be done. Structurally the house was sound. Renovations were not a necessity and we wanted to save up to pay for all of it at once.

    Number one on the list was the family room. You can see, it is a rather small room. Add in a coal stove in the corner of the room – the only corner, and you have an even smaller room. Add in the fact that the ceilings are 7 ft ceilings AND have a swirl like plaster on them and it is practically a small box. Not the most ideal for three active kiddos. So it was a priority to give it an update. It is the room that we “live” in, so a top priority.


    First we hired a contractor. Let me tell you, it is no small feat to find a good and honest contractor. Man, I wish we had some of our peeps back from PA. We had to start over here. There were no shows for estimates, estimates blown totally out of proportion because the contractor was busy…it was bad. Finally we settled on a contractor that we felt comfortable with. George from Bristol County Remodeling started last Monday and within a few days, the coal stove that was set in brick was out. The wood paneling was off, walls were patched, and progress was made!




    What a difference!

    Ben ripped out the remaining flooring the next weekend.

    Then we painted. Just like old times…the painting duo. Ben has gotten pretty good over the years. He rolls the walls and I paint the trim. It’s our thing.


    We chose Sherwin Williams Accessible Beige in a satin finish for the walls. The family room doesn’t get a ton of natural light – and like I mentioned, the ceilings are short so we need a nice light color to lighten it up a bit. Then we changed the trim color from blue/green to pure white semigloss. Just these two small changes made all the difference in the world.

    The day after painting the carpet installer showed up. Remember last year when our house flooded?! I remember it all too well. Well, we had taken FOREVER to decide what carpet to get back in PA so I headed to the local carpet store here, Classic Floor Coverings, and asked if they could just find the exact same carpet. They did. Side note: It is ridiculous that carpet is called different things in different regions. Like this is EXACTLY the same carpet as we had in PA and it has a totally different name. Ridiculous. Anyway, it was installed and it is perfect.


    And we finally feel like we are at home. Kids playing on the floor, comfy cozy heat filled room…in love.

    Now we just need to figure out what to put on the walls. Any suggestions? 😉


    An Auto Show to Remember – What?!

    January 20th, 2015


    I wracked my brain for a title of this post. I started off with: The New England International Auto Show but – Boring! Then I went to: My Trip to the Auto Show but – Lame! This title fit the bill the best because it was just that. Totally an auto show to remember!

    The day started off with my gal Annie from Stowed Stuff and I riding into Boston together. We hit 93 and then were dead stopped in traffic for a good 2 hours. Protesters had blocked the highway for the start of rush hour. Fabulous.


    When we finally made it, we grabbed coffee and went inside. RV’s to the right, Cars to the left, here I am….(lalala).

    It was my first Auto Show and we were being treated to a day full of design talks and a tour by Chevrolet and She Buys Cars (which by the way is a great site so check it out). Unfortunately we were late but when we jumped into the first talk, we got to hear all about the new Chevy Trax. What a cool car! Drives like an SUV, handles like a car. Great for urban driving. Gas mileage is good, look is cool, and this blue color…WOW!


    Next up was a tour by Chevy’s James Bell around the New England International Auto Show. He took us through many of the companies and new models they had on display. Some interesting chatter about how difficult it is in the car world to make a name for yourself. I got to see some pretty cool cars. My favorite…The BMW i3. Check it out…

    She’s a beaut! #electrified #autoshow @bmw #bmwi #carbonfilament #inlove #sustainable #thefuture

    A photo posted by Lauryn (@avintagemom) on

    With all cars needing to have an average fuel efficiency of 54 mpg by the year 2025 this kind of car will hopefully become the norm. For the record, the average fuel efficiency right now is 28mpg. We’ve got a long way to go…

    Of course there were the Rolls Royce’s  and the Mercedes too!

    And Toyota’s got a cool new car for 2015 too! The Mirai. It’s one of the first of its kind – a hydrogen fuel cell powered vehicle. I am looking forward to watching this one transpire for sure!

    I even got to check out the new Chevrolet Malibus. I mean, it has come a LONG way since the 90’s when I drove one around. Completely connected all the time. There’s a Hot Spot option in this car which makes it so nice as well as On Star. Loving these options.


    The day ended with a wonderful panel filled with discussion about women in the automotive industry. What a powerful group of gals Chevy’s got. They certainly are a lucky brand. These women are incredibly inspiring.

    And then of course we had a drink before we left. Fun times and no traffic on the car ride home – a great day at the Auto Show!

    **Disclosure: This post was sponsored by SheBuys as part of an invitation by Chevrolet and SheBuys to the New England International Auto Show. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 




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