Recent Posts

Simplest Homemade Donuts–Using Canned Biscuits!

Simplest Homemade Donuts–Using Canned Biscuits!

I have been seeing something amazing all over the internet…donuts…made from biscuits!? Say what? I decided that we absolutely HAD to give this a try and here our results, in case you are like me and one of the only people on the planet who […]

Whole Wheat Vegan Pancakes Recipe

Whole Wheat Vegan Pancakes Recipe

Recently my family and I have started a journey to living a healthier lifestyle and have adopted a vegan/plant based diet. This required us to do a lot of searching for new, healthy recipes that suited our new needs. A big challenge was breakfast, and […]

Spring Inspired Edible Cupcake Toppers Featuring YumEarth!

Spring Inspired Edible Cupcake Toppers Featuring YumEarth!

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When trying to come up with a cute way to decorate some Spring/Easter themed cupcakes recently, I thought back to the Valentine’s Day craft that I created using YumEarth candy. I created heart shaped charms made from melted YumEarth Organic Pops . Those charms were super simple to create and looked super adorable, so with that in mind, I came up with super darn adorable, flower cupcake toppers made from YumEarth Organic Pops and their Sour Jellybeans!

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Though they offer them throughout the year, currently YumEarth is offering Spring/Easter themed bags of Organic Pops, Sour Jelly Beans and Organic Gummy Fruits. The packaging is super adorable, and the individual wrappers are decorated seasonally as well. This makes them super great for gifting, sending for daycare/classroom parties as well as stuffing your Easter eggs full of.

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YumEarth makes the absolute best Pops out there, so I knew that they would make the perfect base for my flower. These pops are organic and vegan—something that is going to become even more important to our family as we soon will be embarking on a more plant based diet way of living, and I am definitely trying to introduce more vegan friendly brands into our home.

For this project, I preheated my oven to 350 and then took an old silicone cupcake liner ( I still use these presently, but I have a few that have seen more wear and worked out great for this ) and made a small slit towards the bottom, just big enough to put the pop stick through. Using some sort of small silicone liner like this is best, because it doesn’t allow the sucker to run all over the place when it melts. I simply placed the pop through the slit, keeping the actual pop bit inside of the cup. Then I took my jellybeans and completely encircled the pop with them, It doesn’t matter one bit if they overlap, so don’t worry!

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Next, I took my silicon liner cup and placed it on a cookie sheet and stuck it in the oven. I can’t say for certain how long it will take before your pop starts to get gooey and melt, because all ovens are different, but I suggest simply keeping an eye on your liner, because it really doesn’t take very long. Once I could tell that the sucker was starting to get a bit soft, I pulled the cookie sheet out and used a butter knife to give the jelly beans a nudge closer to the sucker–though not too hard. I then placed it back in the oven and waited for it to completely begin going liquid. Unlike the charms from the Valentine’s Day project, you want to pull this out before it really goes completely liquid. This is a little hard to explain, but it’s easy to understand the first time you do it. After I took mine out of the oven, I placed the silicone cup in the freezer for a few minutes, letting it harden ( it really takes no time at all! ) and then I slowly pull my pop away from the liner and then trim up the edges with scissors if any of the pop did liquefy enough to make it past the jelly beans. Trimming it up with scissors is SUPER simple and can really give your flower definition., but its definitely not necessary.

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Once our pops were done, I simply took a piece of green tissue paper and wrapped the sticks up. You could do so many different things to create a flower type look, but I didn’t want to use markers, and our food markers bled quite a lot on the first one I tested it out on. This worked really well, and it wasn’t icky or anything when I pulled the suckers out of the cupcakes before the kids began eating them. This was such an easy project and would have moved super quickly had I used more silicone liner cups at once.

This is a really adorable project and the kids were super impressed! I highly recommend checking out the YumEarth treats, because not only are they fantastically good ( I swear, they are our new favorites ), but they are good for your body as well. and aren’t full of nasty chemicals. We love them and will continue to come up with new and fun ideas to incorporate them into our holidays and celebrations!

You can check out all of the delicious goodies that YumEarth has to offer by visiting them here! While you’re at it, don’t forget to check out their Facebook and Twitter for all of their delicious updates!

 

Hopping Into Spring With Eleni’s New York

Hopping Into Spring With Eleni’s New York

If you have followed my blog, you probably know that my kids and I recently celebrated Valentine’s Day by decorating our very own Color me! Heart shaped cookies from Eleni’s New York. The kids had a ton of fun, and honestly, we became a little addicted […]

My Easter Table featuring Oriental Trading + Chocolate Inspired Mini Easter Baskets!

My Easter Table featuring Oriental Trading + Chocolate Inspired Mini Easter Baskets!

Easter is one of my very favorite holidays, that is a fact. I love the pastel colors, the cheery designs and the fresh spring feeling that comes with putting out the Easter decor. I absolutely love planning out what I am going to put out […]

FARMHOUSE FRESH, This Bunny Loves You Gift Set Review!

FARMHOUSE FRESH, This Bunny Loves You Gift Set Review!

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Easter has always been one of my very favorite Holidays. I love the fresh spring vibe, adorable pastel decor and delicious treats. As an adult, I find myself feeling a little jealous of all of the sweet goodies and treats my kids receive from the Easter bunny, so this year I decided to treat myself to a little Easter goodness, adult style.

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The “This Bunny Loves you” gift set from FARMHOUSE FRESH was exactly what I wanted to see in my Easter basket this year, but I couldn’t wait around for Easter, I had to indulge almost immediately. This set embodies everything I have been yearning for. It’s fresh, pastel, absolutely adorable and most of all, delicious! ( The smells of just about everything FHF offers are seriously good enough to eat! )

This gift set comes beautifully packaged in a sweet pastel yellow and purple gingham style gift box, perfect for Easter and Spring gifting. The icing on the cake is the uber adorable purple ribbon with the wooden scoop attached, holding the sweet box of treats tied up tight!

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Inside of my gift set, I received the 6 oz. Sweet Cream Fine Body Scrub, which is one of my absolute favorite scents from FHF. It is so rich and indulgent, without being overpowering. I suffer from migraines frequently, so being subtle enough to not induce any type of irritation is very important to me. The scrub is full sized, packaged super sweetly ( but what FHF product, isn’t? ) and comes with wooden scoop/spoon. The fragrance is perfect for indulging and the product itself leaves my skin feeling fresh, soft and smelling yummy! This is an incredibly high quality scrub that doesn’t irritate my sensitive skin, something that also is high on my list of skincare demands.

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Next in the gift set is the 2.4 oz Fluffy Bunny Shea Butter Hand Cream. I am totally in love with the FHF hand creams and currently have one in my bedroom and in my purse that I used almost daily. These also are packaged nicely and look lovely displayed ( am I the only one who thinks about things like that?? ) This scent was a little surprising, sort of. With a name like Fluffy Bunny, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Without looking at the description, I almost can’t describe the scent in any other words than Fabulous! It’s very light and comforting, and has an exquisitely high-end fragrance ( if that makes any sense at all? ). These hand creams truly moisturize your skin without leaving you hands feeling heavy and greasy. This product is also vegan, which I love.  DSC_2509

I am absolutely thrilled with my gift set, and feel totally pampered and in the Easter/Spring spirit–even if I did cheat and indulge a bit early. I definitely feel that this set would make the absolute perfect gift for ones self, a friend, an expectant mother or even a great Mother’s Day gift! The ever chic FARMHOUSE FRESH products are always a go-to in my book for myself and for others! I highly recommend checking out this fabulous set, as well as their other delicious products on their equally yummy website. Yum!

A little bit about FHF products:

Each product is made with up to 99.6% natural and naturally-derived ingredients. Everything we make is Paraben & Sulfate FREE and our fragrances are all natural or phthalate free. Many other products are also Vegan and Gluten Free.

You can check them out on Facebook here, Twitter here and Instagram here!

Create A Welcome to the Tween Years Kit with Bioré Deep Cleansing Pore Strips!

Create A Welcome to the Tween Years Kit with Bioré Deep Cleansing Pore Strips!

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #FiercelyCleanPores #CollectiveBias Being a “tween” is confusing. So many emotional changes, bodily changes and the newly acquired body care routines that go along with them. Being the Mother of a Tween […]

Tips for For Finding Your Perfect Car

Tips for For Finding Your Perfect Car

  *Sponsored Post* Finding your perfect car can seem daunting. So many options, so much information coming at you from every direction. It was a process that until recently, I have not enjoyed. Here I have compiled a few simple tips and steps to aid […]

Double Trouble S’Mores Bars #bestcerealever

Double Trouble S’Mores Bars #bestcerealever

 

 


As a homeschooling Momma, I am always looking for fun out of the box ideas to get my kids excited to learn at home. My 4 year old has recently began his homeschooling career as a preschooler this back to school season, and I have worked especially hard to come up with creative ways to ease him into the schooling experience.

Since this little guy is absolutely in love with the outdoors and camping, every afternoon, we get out the sleeping mat, a pillow a few books and some treats, and have a little “camping” fun. He lays in the sun, “reading” and enjoying his treats.


Recently I discovered Honey Maid Smores cereal at my local Hyvee. My kids have all enjoyed having a bowl at breakfast time the last few weeks, and unanimously decided that it would make an amazing cereal bar, during their breakfast chitter chatter. This gave me an idea! What a perfect afternoon “camping” snack! What’s better on a camping trip, that some s’mores?!

We decided, that since we would use marshmallow to hold the cereal together, it would be super fun and appropriate to drizzle the bars with some milk chocolate as well, to complete the full s’mores experience!

The instructions are basic, and can be easily adjusted depending on the amount of cereal you are using. We created our very own recipe as a family, and here is what worked best for us:
6 Cups Honey Made Smore Cereal
4 tablespoons Butter
7.5 Ounces Of Marshamallow Cream
Milk Chocolate Chips

Slowly heat your Marshmallow Cream and Butter together on the stove top. We mixed as we heated, so that nothing would burn or stick.

Once our mixture was heated, we added it to our bowl of Honey Maid Smore cereal, and combined, so that it coated all of the cereal equally.

Next, we put our mixture into a silicone muffin pan. You can create traditional bars, or use mold. We chose silicone, so that it would pop out easily, and wouldn’t stick.

After allowing it to set up/harden, we melted our chocolate chips ( amount is up to you, and the amount of bars you have chosen to create ) in the microwave in 35 second increments, stirring in between heatings, until our chips were melted.

We then drizzled our chocolate on top of each bar, and topped with three little marshmallows from our left over creal.

Once our chocolate hardened, we sampled our work!

Not only did the kids–especially my littlest, love these S’more bars, but they had a great time creating a recipe, and following their very own instructions… and oh yeah…camping got a whole lot yummier ( without the mess of actual s’mores! ).

“Oreo® and the OREO Wafer design are registered trademarks of Mondelez International group, used under license” and then “HONEY MAID and the HONEY MAID design are registered trademarks of Mondelez International group, used under license

 

 

Back to School with Baby Cubby

Back to School with Baby Cubby

With back-to-school upon us, I’ve made it my personal mission to find the absolute best quality supplies and apparel for my little ones. For my littlest, I turned to The Baby Cubby to help us in our hunt. With high quality goods, that are not […]

Force Friday- Tomorrow @ GameStop! #forcefriday #giveaway

Force Friday- Tomorrow @ GameStop! #forcefriday #giveaway

This Force Friday, fans can celebrate their inner-Jedi with fellow Star Wars buffs at GameStop. They’ll be channeling the Force with in-store trivia, raffles, live video gameplay, the debut of a brand new Star Wars figure line, and they’re participating in Lucas Film’s augmented reality treasure hunt from Sept. […]

Make Time For Cake.

Make Time For Cake.

Life can be chaotic. It can be stressful. Between homeschooling my 3 children, running my own business, taking care of my household chores and writing my blog, sometimes it can be hard to make time to indulge in my favorite pastimes and hobbies.

 

One of my greatest pleasures comes from baking. Getting in the kitchen with a new recipe, turning on my favorite record, and getting lost in creating something delicious that doesn’t have to be done by a certain time, or made to anyone’s specifications, something creative, and just for pleasure is my version of bliss.

The ingredients, delicately carrying out the steps, and my favorite part, the beauty…creating something not only mouth watering, but something so beautiful, you almost hate to take that first bite.

 

This summer, I have made it my mission, no, my priority to take a little time to enjoy these simple pleasures, to get covered in flour, sing at the top of my lungs, pour myself a glass of Wente Chardonnay, and really let go of my daily pressures, and indulge. At Wente, they are creating a “make time” movement, that not only can I get behind, but I am more than excited to partake in.

Taking their advice, this weekend, I put on my apron, turned on my record player, enjoyed a glass of Wente Vineyard Morning Fog Chardonnay, and made an absolutely scrumptious homemade Lemon Cake with yummy Lemon Buttercream and Candied Lemons for a charming little touch.

The cake, and afternoon, turned out fabulously. I felt completely recharged, and a little stuffed to be honest, because I had more than a few pieces of my delicious creation. And guess what? I decided to take a Baking & Pastry course, because that’s what I’m passionate about.

“As for what Wente is passionate about? This summer, Wente vineyards is choosing to make time for music (#MTFM), a passion point that lies close to many members of the Wente Family, including 5th generation Winegrower Karl D. Wente. Karl is able to draw the parallels between music and wine because he holds both so closely to his heart. The Wente Vineyards family as a whole operates on passion and wants to hear what makes others passionate. Learn more about the movement on Instagram: @maketimeformusic.

As they say, “We don’t make wine because we have to, we do it because we love to.” ”

So tell me, what is your passion that can get overlooked in the hustle and bustle of everyday life? I’d love to hear what you plan to do to #MakeTime !

Enter to WIN $50 Target GC or $50 PayPal Cash

Enter to WIN $50 Target GC or $50 PayPal Cash

Win $50 Target Gift Card or $50 Paypal Cash

Summer Traditions & Ice Cream Cake! (Read for Recipe & Contest Details)

Summer Traditions & Ice Cream Cake! (Read for Recipe & Contest Details)

Summer means to many things to us. A break in our school year, camping, cookouts, swimming, but it also means something else…birthdays! The vast majority of our family celebrates their own special day during the summer months, and we do our absolute best every single […]

Simple Ghostbusters Inspired Movie Night

Simple Ghostbusters Inspired Movie Night

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser, Walmart Family Mobile. All opinions are mine alone. #CatchMoreData #Ghostbusters #CollectiveBias

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Movie nights are a tradition in our household, and nothing is more fun than themed movie nights! With our tight budget and schedule, keeping it simple is definitely a top priority when selecting our treats and activities. In celebration of the NEW Ghostbusters on BluRay ( check out the trailer here! ), our most recent Friday night was spent creating delicious, yet super simple Ghostbusters inspired treats and even a craft of sorts.

The night was a definite success, and took less than an hour for all of our prep, not to mention we spent very little out of pocket to make it happen. For our snacks, we decided to go with a “Slimer Popcorn”, Classic Popcorn with green sprinkles and to wash it down, a homemade Ecto Cooler! To make things extra interesting ( and a little messier! ), we also whipped up a batch of green slime! The kids had a blast creating their treats and slime, but had an even better time kicking back and watching the NEW 2016 Ghostbusters movie ( which they loved! )available on BluRay, DVD and 4KUltra HD.

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Here are the simple steps we took to create an absolutely fabulous, family movie night that will not soon be forgotten!

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When thinking about snacks for our movie night, I instantly thought popcorn, because who doesn’t like popcorn on movie night? But to jazz it up and give it that Ghostbusters feel, I decided to created a “Slimer Popcorn”. I tossed around a few ideas on how to create this, even looked up a few recipes, but most seemed a little more complex/complicated that I would have liked, so I decided to take the simple route and come up with my own little twist on a marshmallow popcorn.

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What you need: Popcorn, Marshmallow Cream ( I used one container per bag, but its really about preference ) and Green Food coloring.

1. Pop your popcorn using your preferred popcorn and method.
2. Put your popcorn in an appropriate sized bowl/container.
3. Empty your marshmallow cream into a microwave safe bowl/container.
4. Warm up your marshmallow cream. Microwaves vary, but ours seemed to be a nice slightly liquid consistency at around 45 second.
5. Stir in your food coloring. The amount is up to you depending on the shade of slime green you are going for.
6. Pour your marshmallow cream over the top of your popcorn and mix it around, covering your popcorn. I mixed gently as to not crush the popcorn.
7. Let the mixture cool. It’s an absolute mess to try and serve or eat while in the gooey state. Once it cools, it is a whole lot easier to serve/eat.
6. Enjoy!

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Next, we created our own version of an Ecto Cooler. This was also a very simple, inexpensive treat and I definitely suggest giving it a try!

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What you need:
¾ cup tangerine juice
¾ cup orange juice
1 scant tablespoon powdered lemonade mix
2 packets of orange-drink mix
10 to 14 cups water
1½ cups sugar
Green food coloring

1. Pour tangerine juice and orange juice into a 1 gallon container. Add lemonade mix and the orange drink mix. Stir until completely dissolved.
2. Pour in water. Add sugar. Stir until completely dissolved.
3. Add 4 to 5 drops of green food coloring, or more depending on the shade of green you are going for!
4. Pour into clear glasses for the full Ghostbusters effect!

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These are super tasty drinks, and there are even cocktail recipes available online for a more adult spin!

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Last, but certainly not least—especially in the kids minds, we made slime. We chose to make ours a bit thicker, because, while I am a “cool” mom ( in my mind! ) who does things like make slime with her children, I was a little terrified of having anything too slimy near my furniture ( hey, even cool mom’s have their limits! ). Here is the recipe that we used to create our slime–note, when adding the food coloring, you CAN create solid colors, my kids were extremely pleased with the green tie dye effect, and we chose to leave it that way, and I have to admit, it does look pretty darn cool!

What You Need:
White School Glue
Borax
Water
Two bowls
Food coloring

In a bowl mix 1/2 cup (4 oz) glue and 1/2 cup water. Add food coloring–we used green.
In your other bowl, mix 1 teaspoon borax with 1 cup water until the borax is completely dissolved.
Add the glue mixture to the borax solution, stirring slowly.
The slime will begin to form almost immediately; stir, knead with your hands.

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This slime was a ton of fun, but a little messy. It will also stick to fabric, so please keep that in mind with this project. My kids thoroughly enjoyed playing with their slime, stretching it out and even making the occasional not so polite noises that kids seem to enjoy so very much. All in all, this was a fun project, despite the mess and rude noises, and I think we will definitely be making it again in the future.

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Using my new Samsung Galaxy On5 ( $119.00 @ Walmart ) I have been able to keep up with not only the new movies available this fall–Like the New Ghostbusters, but I have been able to search and organize all of ideas for our movie nights, making it even simpler for me to put together these fun activities for our family. So if you’re like me, and want to keep it simple, head over to your local Walmart and check out the Walmart Family Mobile PLUS plan! You’ll get unlimited Talk, Text, Data; 10GB 4G LTE plus a free movie (rental, new release = $7 value which seriously is taking our movie nights to a whole other level! ) on VUDU every month, per line for $49.88. I just love being able to check out the new releases via VUDU on my new Samsung Galaxy On5, which I purchased along with a starter kit for only $19.88, which is currently on Rollback from $25. Since Family Mobile bills you later, you only have to pay $19.88 when you sign up. Please Note: If purchasing the Samsung Galaxy On5, you must purchase the “Nano Starter Kit, but view my free rental in our family room, on our tv via Chromecast.

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The NEW Ghostbusters is available 10/11 on Blu-ray, DVD and 4K Ultra HD. The extended edition of Ghostbusters on Blu-ray has over 15 more minutes not seen in theaters plus over 3 hours of hilarious extras. Our family loves it, and I bet yours will too!

All customers who activate new lines on any rate plan from 10/1-10/31 will receive a code providing a free download of the Ghostbuster VR Experience. Too cool, right? And guess what? Walmart Family Mobile is hosting in-store events where you can activate a new line and experience the free Ghostbusters Virtual Reality Experience! At events find a brochure with details on plan and VR experience + a plastic 3D hologram.

Get the free Ghostbusters game! All you need to do is:

Purchase a plan at Walmart Family Mobile and get a code.
Visit GhostbustersVR.com.
Register and redeem code.
Download app from Apple Store or Google Play.

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Have you seen the NEW Ghostbusters movie? Do you plan to? Tell me your thoughts! #CatchMoreData #Ghostbusters
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All prices for phones and plans included in this post are accurate as of the date of posting; however, these prices are subject to change. Please refer to http://cbi.as/5jo2h or your local Walmart for current pricing.

Bathroom Organization Made Easy! #CaringMadeEasy

Bathroom Organization Made Easy! #CaringMadeEasy

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #CaringMadeEasy #CollectiveBias Recently, after a visit to my Mother in Law’s home, I made the discovery that not only was she desperately in need of some help with […]

Caramel Brownies Recipe for ANY Celebration & #WhatMattersToU

Caramel Brownies Recipe for ANY Celebration & #WhatMattersToU

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #WhatMattersToU #CollectiveBias   When faced with that unpleasant monthly visitor that most of us ladies are fairly familiar with, I used to cringe. I wanted to curl up […]

Get Your Groupon Goodness!

Get Your Groupon Goodness!

As a frugal Mom, Groupon is quickly becoming my go to for just about everything I need, from local events, concerts, sports events, amazing restaurants and so much more, and you can even purchase tons of your favorite goods. This makes shopping and planning a night out so convenient, stress free and a whole lot cheaper! And we all know that I Love cheap!  I’ve planned dates, outings, even purchased birthday presents for my friends using Groupon, and have been extremely pleased with not only the selection, but the process and my purchases as well!

Groupon offers easy navigation, and search options, that makes finding just about anything you need a snap! Simply search for item or service you are looking for, click to purchase and follow the easy redemption instructions and you are good to go! Even my very non-tech savvy Grandma uses Groupon, and no offense to my sweet Grandmother, but if she can navigate with ease, I truly believe that anyone can!

I’d love to hear about your experience with Groupon! Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

For more information, you can visit Groupon on the Groupon Goods site, their official Facebook page, and their official Twitter page.

 

ENTER TO WIN A $75 DOLLAR AMAZON GIFT CARD!!

ENTER TO WIN A $75 DOLLAR AMAZON GIFT CARD!!

$75 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway! Enter to win your choice of $75 dollar Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash!

Our Favorite Recipes For A Refreshing Summer! #SummerTastes

Our Favorite Recipes For A Refreshing Summer! #SummerTastes

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and The Coca-Cola Company. All opinions are mine alone. #SummerTastes #CollectiveBias After going through my list of favorite summer dishes , I decided that I needed to shake things up a bit, and get a little […]

CHEAP AND SIMPLE KITCHEN AND PANTRY ORGANIZATION & PANTRY REFRESH

CHEAP AND SIMPLE KITCHEN AND PANTRY ORGANIZATION & PANTRY REFRESH

Kitcheness

If you are like me and LOVE to collect kitchen gadgets, pots pans and even hoard up on gourmet ingredients, you just may have the same ever growing problem that I have began to encounter, and that is running out of space. My family and I live in a home built over 100 years ago. Though it has been added on to over the years, the kitchen is pretty darn tiny, and at least 1/4 of the cabinets are basically hidden by our stove.

For the last year or so, we have started experiencing extreme growing pains kitchen wise…as my love to cook, youtube canning videos increased and my hoard of kitchen supplies grows, so did our ( and especially my husband’s ) irritation. We were forced to shove things back in to corners, things fall out of the cabinets when we open them and we can never find ANYTHING when we need it.

So what could we do? Besides doing an extreme downsize, which I didn’t want to do ( Hey! I need those gadgets to bring you all great recipe posts! ) the only other option was to get organized! But organization costs money! Money that we don’t have! So I sat down, laptop in hand and decided to watch some of my very favorite Youtubers get organized, use their ideas and try and create ways of recreating these tips—but on an EXTREME budget.

While reviewing has afforded me a few storage options that I might otherwise not have, I still needed a lot! So what did I do ? I hit the dollar stores—and had it been Garage Sale season, I would have hit those too!

After stocking up on quite a few containers and bins, I cleaned out my cabinets and forced myself to remove all of the things I didn’t absolutely need or love. This ended up being much easier than anticipated, and I am going to be honest, I got two FULL trash bags full of things to either donate or get rid of . Next, I wiped out all of my cabinets, and started organizing. I used bins from the dollar store to store like objects. This allowed me to stack higher, but still be able to open my cabinets without an avalanche as well as add labels, meaning things wouldn’t be so easily lost. This worked out really well in ALL of my cabinets. Dishes and food alike.

We also got rid of a ton of our random drinking glasses, donated them and then decided to switch to all like mason jars instead! Canning jars are much more inexpensive than buying a set of drinking glasses and even cheaper ( and sturdier ) than picking glasses up for the dollar store–and they look neater too! With CHEAP matching glasses, it was much easier to fit all of our glasses into our cabinet in a uniform fashion.

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Simple steps like grouping like items and really thinking about the shape and area your items take up really helps! Honestly, I had never really thought it through too much, I moved in, loaded the stuff in the cabinets and started collecting.

I also organized my pantry cabinets, I put extras of things that I already have in the fridge, like our BODYARMOR super drink bottles that I pick up at my local Target ( they are also available at Jewel and Meijer locally to me ) We keep a supply in the bottom of the fridge, but for our extras, I decided to keep them stored inside of a container, so they are neat, tidy and I can easily pull the ENTIRE basket out, which definitely saves time when unloading them and loading them into the fridge when we are ready for them to be chilled.

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What is BODYARMOR?
BODYARMOR is a premium sports drink with more potassium packed electrolytes, coconut water and vitamins. BODYARMOR has natural flavors, natural sweeteners and no artificial colors, unlike traditional sports drinks. It’s a GREAT choice for young athletes especially, who don’t need all the extra sodium in their diets or the artificial ingredients that come from drinking other sports drinks on the market. BODYARMOR comes in 8-great tasting flavors: fruit punch, orange mango, strawberry banana, tropical punch, lemon lime, mixed berry, grape and blackout berry.Many of today’s top athletes choose BODYARMOR as their sports drink of choice, including: Mike Trout, Andrew Luck, James Harden, Buster Posey, Richard Sherman, Dez Bryant, Skylar Diggins and Sydney LeRoux

Next, we added a spice rack organizer! This isn’t especially cheap, but it really did save on space and gave us a LOT more room. I will link you to the organizer here, and you can check it out! I  also got cheap jars and put things like rice, beans, noodles and even our in a hurry flake potatoes.  This means I can fit more in a smaller space, no resealing packages, or packages getting dumped over when we are hunting for another item. For the things like rice and potatoes, I removed the instructions from the box and used packing tape to stick them on the back of containers, that way we still know what we need to do to make our food. Taking things out of boxes and putting them into storage containers, even drink mixes and breakfast bars really saved us space! No more awkward shaped packages that take up a ton of extra space!

(One thing I would like to add, is that I did allow myself a few decorative storage options…old containers, cans etc to keep with my current theme and make things feel less sterile!)

 

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Lastly, I organized my fridge. Yep, my fridge. I took all of my racks and drawers out, hosed them down with Dawn and vinegar in the tub and readjusted things inside the fridge to better suit our needs. This is something I hadn’t really considered before. I had always just used them as they came and crammed and stuff things in as I needed. The next step I planned on taking was adding some sort of liner– a shelf liner, something of that nature, but I decided against the liner I had on hand but plan on completing this step in the future.

After skipping that step, I placed baskets and bins in the fridge… this idea was questioned by my family, who have never heard of anyone doing this, but I think that it works fabulously! We have bins for certain food items, and those items ONLY. It makes it a lot neater in appearance and easier for the kids to put things back where they go. I plan on labeling them in the future, but even without the labels, the system works pretty well so far!

Next, I put my condiments into clear squirt bottles I purchased at Walmart for less than a dollar.  Everything is uniform, neat and really fits into the baskets better. No odd shaped bottles to throw the system off!

The last things that I did was place a huge glass beverage dispenser on one of the shelves—we can fill this container with whatever beverage we like, and since it is so large, it can house several bottles of juice without taking up the space. It’s also easier for the kids to come push a button, than them getting out the jug and attempting to tip it up and pour their drinks. I love the addition.

( I have since added more mason jars for storage as opposed to the product jars )

I still have plans for storage in the kitchen–the number one thing on the agenda being a pot rack, but because most pot racks are on the expensive side, this is something I am going to save for and will add later.

Anchor Hocking Pint Canning Jar Set, 12 Pack

These simple changes and cheap basket and bins have truly made all  the difference in our available space, our stress levels and our day to day operation.

 

Though it’s still a tiny kitchen and these plastic bins might not be everyone’s cup of tea, they work beautifully in our home and I couldn’t be more pleased! Further proof that you don’t have to spend a ton of money to make your life work for you and your family!

Stay tuned for updates as well as more posts as I move on to the other rooms of my home! And check out BODYARMOR! It’s a refreshing way to stay hydrated while in the trenches, organizing and refreshing your kitchen/pantry/fridge! Check out the coupon they currently have available, because what’s better than saving money on top of having a newly organized space?

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 Twitter: @drinkbodyarmor
 Instagram: @drinkbodyarmor

Summer Fun With Wilderness Aware Rafting!

Summer Fun With Wilderness Aware Rafting!

Wilderness Aware Rafting offers white water rafting in Buena Vista, Colorado. We offer outstanding guides, 39 years of white water experience, and a unique knowledge and appreciation of the natural environment forged by our many years of living and working on various rivers as well […]

Keeping Summer Fun with a Happy and Healthy Toddler!

Keeping Summer Fun with a Happy and Healthy Toddler!

One of our biggest struggles in the summer is eating healthy. With the ice cream truck always around the corner and big brother and sister wanting to munch on junk food, I know that it’s important to keep my growing very active toddler eating healthy […]

IFME Shoe Review

IFME Shoe Review

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As a mother of two boys, I am always looking for CUTE comfortable shoes and clothing. Over the years, I have grown frustrated with the hunt, and often times have resigned to purchasing pieces that might be comfortable, but aren’t all that cute.

When I discovered IFME, I was ecstatic! These are shoes for not only girls, but boys as well, and guess what? They are over the top adorable! After reading a few online reviews, I was also pretty convinced that these were a great choice as far as quality and comfort go as well.

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When choosing sizes, I felt that the shoe ran pretty true to size, maybe a teensy bit big, but that is ALWAYS a good thing when it comes to purchasing shoes for growing kids. I was really impressed with the quality of the shoe, the materials and how they were made. My boys are notoriously hard on their footwear, and nothing ever seems to last very long, so quality shoes at reasonable prices are a biggie.

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I love the bright vibrant colors, the fact that this particular pair matches with just about everything, and that HE himself is able to put the shoes on and be ready to go in seconds! These are definitely our new favorites, and he seems to be comfortable wearing these shoes while engaged in any activity, and best of all…if he jumps in a mud puddle? These are really easy to clean up. Love that.

Style, comfort, and odor protection ( using odor free fibers! ), makes these a really great, stylish option for boys and girls. I highly recommend checking these adorable shoes out for our favorite littles and maybe picking up a pair or two! .

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“IFME was launched in 1999 as the original brand of Marubeni Footwear. With a priority on the healthy development of children’s feet, the brand was developed based on research and development with Japanese based medical professionals specializing in children’s feet. Since 2009 IFME had sold a total of 16 million pairs of shoes globally. IFME now boasts an extensive network of 1,800 stores in Japan, Hong Kong, and Taiwan and is launching in the U.S. in spring, 2016.
 The name IFME, short for “IF it was ME,” reflects the brand’s deep commitment to customer satisfaction. This attitude is upheld throughout all aspects of production and distribution. The brand concept – making shoes that support the healthy development of children’s feet – remains at the heart of IFME.”

Check them out on social media :

https://www.facebook.com/IFMEUS , https://twitter.com/IFMESHOESUS , https://www.instagram.com/ifmeus/

Hearty Vegan Pasta Bake Recipe + Win $50!

Hearty Vegan Pasta Bake Recipe + Win $50!

“Hearty Vegan Pasta Bake Recipe”  After years and years of struggling with my health, I finally decided to do something about it. Though a hard choice for some to imagine, I made the decision to become vegan and make healthier more mindful choices of what […]

Easy Gardening with Kids, A How to!

Easy Gardening with Kids, A How to!

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #WhatInconvenience  #CollectiveBias One of my favorite summer time activities is to plant a garden. I absolutely love having fresh veggies in our home and being able to spend […]

My Love Affair with Groupon Coupons! #GrouponCoupons #ad

My Love Affair with Groupon Coupons! #GrouponCoupons #ad

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If someone were to describe me, I think that frugal or thrifty would definitely be words used in that description. I love saving money, finding the best possible deals, using coupons, etc. I am always on the hunt for the very best buy, and absolutely obsessed with outdoing myself when it comes to finding savings. That is one of the reasons that I absolutely adore Groupon Coupons! Whether you are going shopping or traveling, they are a great source of savings.

Though a lot of you may just be familiar with Groupon as a site to find savings on events and the like, but they are absolutely so much more! They are my go to resource for saving money with verified coupons for loads of my favorite retailers!

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Searching for coupons is a breeze and it’s a free service to use, which is even better! I also love that I am able to search locally, filtering results for my favorite stores and making it so much easier for me to find the deals that I need. With their exclusive deals ( yes, you hard me right! ) Groupon Coupons is the first place I check before making almost any purchase! With coupons for stores like, Starbucks, Belk and Babies-R-Us, you really cannot go wrong!

 

 

Our Favorite Recipes For A Refreshing Summer! #SummerTastes

Our Favorite Recipes For A Refreshing Summer! #SummerTastes

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and The Coca-Cola Company. All opinions are mine alone. #SummerTastes #CollectiveBias
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After going through my list of favorite summer dishes , I decided that I needed to shake things up a bit, and get a little creative. We eat a ton of fruits and veggies, and drink a lot of tea around our home, me being a vegan and all, so I set out to add a few new little fun summer twists to our recipe schedule of meals and treats.

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When browsing recipes online, I came across an idea for a pasta salad that was basically an “everything but the kitchen” sink type thing, and I really kind of dug that idea. Why not just throw TONS of the tasty veggies into one fabulous salad and give it a taste. So I set out to find the perfect flavor combinations for our family, and here is what I came up with:

 

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This is what I like to call my EVERYTHING Summer Pasta Salad. Using Barilla Whole Grain Rotini that I picked up at Walmart, I set out to create a fabulous pasta salad that everyone in my house would dig. Here’s what I used :

-1 Box of Barilla Whole Grain Rotini

  • Red, Yellow and Orange Peppers ( we just added one whole, and several small, but this can be to your liking ) Chopped
  • 1 Red Onion
  • 2 Varieties of cherry type tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 Avocado
  • 2 Roasted Ears of Corn cut off the cob
  • Shredded Parmesan Cheese
  • Pepitas
  • 1 bottle of our favorite vinaigrette. We used a garlic flavored vinaigrette, but I’m sure just about any would be fabulous, so go wild! Vinaigrette’s are also quite simple to make yourself.

The great thing about this pasta salad, is you really cannot go wrong! Each ingredient can be measured to your specific liking or even omitted. I have a feeling there are so many other fabulous ingredients that would also work perfectly, but these were completely perfect for our taste buds!

 

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This is a super simple dish to make, honestly, and I cannot believe it wasn’t already on our menu. All we did was start with our Barilla Whole Wheat Pasta, Italy’s #1 brand of pasta, followed the instructions on the back of the box, then once it was cooked, drained and rinsed our Rotini in cold water and put it to the side. We roasted our corn during this time and then cut it off of the cob. I then used my food processor to chop up my veggies, though doing it by hand works just as well.

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At this point, the kids and I basically just dumped all of the ingredients ( veggies and dressing )  other than the cheese and pepitas in and gave it a really good even stir so that all of the veggies were evenly distributed. DSC_9114

Even though it was difficult to not just dig into, we covered our bowl with foil, and put it in the fridge for a few hours to cool everything down and give the flavors time to really settle and blend. Once it was time to serve, we topped each individual bowl with cheese and pepitas—( I don’t eat cheese, so doing it individually worked out best ).

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This is a super light, amazing dish that makes a great addition to a meal, or can simply be served in a larger portion and is tasty enough to be the star of the meal! It’s light, bright and absolutely delicious!

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Since we primarily drink tea in our house, I decided to add a few new favorites to our summer menu, using our old favorite Gold Peak Tea into the mix. I picked up a 6 pack of the Diet Gold Peak Tea from Walmart, and started brainstorming.  In the end, I decided a infused tea would pair perfectly with our pasta salad, and I couldn’t have been more right!

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Since Gold Peak is absolutely scrumptious on it’s own, I knew that it wouldn’t take much to come up with a tasty new spin that my kids would be sure to love.

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For our drink, we simply took our favorite chilled Gold Peak Tea, poured it into a glass and added our most favorite fruits! We found that adding raspberries and letting them infuse into the tea for a bit was the most scrumptious combination. We garnished our glasses with strawberries, which was a big hit with the kids and definitely gives the table setting a little something extra!

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These drinks are absolutely delicious, refreshing and since we used diet tea and only fruit as our added flavoring, still a very health conscious choice as well.

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For our dessert/cold summer treat, we decided to stick with the tea theme, and make fruity tea pops! Think super delicious tea infused frozen goodness! This was also SUPER simple, which I love…

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For these pops, basically all you need is your Gold Peak Tea ( sweetened is the best option for this ), popsicle molds and fruit. I personally chose to use pureed frozen peaches, raspberries and mint leaves.

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Using frozen peaches that I ran through my food processor seemed to work out the best, I even just stuck my mint leaves in at the same time, which seemed to spread them evening throughout the mixture. The rest was simple, I filled the molds up about half way with my Gold Peak Tea, and then just dropped in my fruit. I added only peach and mint to a few, then threw raspberries in the mix as well. We froze our pops for around four hours, ran the molds under hot water, and then had not only tasty, but BEAUTIFUL frozen treats that I think are great for not only the kids, but adults as well. They have a very clean crisp refreshing taste, and are just sweet enough to really cure my craving for cool refreshing sweet treats.

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I had a lot of fun creating these very crisp, healthy summer time menu additions and will definitely go perfectly along side our traditional summer grilling parties! They are simple, quick and although delicious, are light enough to go perfectly with a hot summer day backyard barbecue.

sofab For more delicious summer recipes  click here ( I know I have enjoyed them! )   Also, while you’re at it, check out this great coupon for $1 off when you buy any two (2) 64 fl oz bottles of Gold Peak Tea from coupons.com , plus this great Ibotta offer for Barilla – Buy 3 products and earn $1. Valid on all Barilla Blue Box Products and Barilla Pesto Sauce.

What are your favorite summer favorites? Do you use your Gold Peak Tea in any sort of unique ways? If so, I’m dying to hear! #SummerTastes