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Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Dress up the Sink with DIY Painted Mason Jar Vase

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #FoamSensations #CollectiveBias

This cute polka dot Painted Mason Jar Vase plus happy-looking Kitchen Citrus Bliss Softsoap is an easy and affordable way to add some life to the kitchen sink area!

I spend most of my day in the kitchen because I love to cook and bake (I'm sure that's no surprise).  I love to add color and interest to all areas of my home, but especially those where I spend a lot of time.

I'm pretty content with the space above my cupboards as far as decor goes, but the area next to my sink has always been boring to say the least.  The sink is such an eyesore anyways since it's usually piled with dirty dishes from my baking ventures.  With spring on its way, I tend to focus on ways to freshen and enliven my house.  Task number one on my list...give the area around the sink a much-needed face lift!
I adore fresh flowers, and it's no secret that I'm obsessed with mason jars and polka dots, so I decided to combine all of the above in a fun craft/home decor project that would also improve the space!

Here's how I did it. 

You'll need:
A quart sized mason jar
Acryllic paint
Foam brush plus round foam brush for polka dots
Small strip of burlap for tie
Fresh or faux flowers for filling

 Start by gathering your supplies.
Give your jar a coat of paint and then let it dry completely.
Give it another coat of paint and then let it dry completely again.  I ended up doing 3 coats, but you can do additional if you'd like.  Just be sure to let the coats dry fully in between.
Now add your polka dots.  So fun!  Of course, use whatever colors coordinate with your kitchen.  I used Vintage White and Yellow Flame.  Let dry completely, then tie the top with burlap and add your flowers!  I heart daisies!
I'm obsessed with things that smell nice...thus the fresh flowers.  But I also love a good, fragrant soap.  So I took the project a step further and added some new Softsoap Liquid Foaming Handwash as well.
I found these new, yummy varieties near the body wash at Walmart.  

Kitchen Citrus Bliss was a perfect color companion for my new vase.

I'm a very aesthetic person, so I was naturally drawn to the lemons and limes, but I also prefer the foaming variety with kids in the house.  They tend to play with the soap and always end up leaving a liquid-y, colorful mess on the surrounding counters.  But I don't have to worry about yucky residue with the foam, because it's white, mostly dissolves, and wipes up in a hurry. 
Whipped Cocoa Butter was just begging to reside in our downstairs bathroom.  The guests will thank me.
But I had to first give the lovely Jasmine & White Cotton kind a test run.  It smells like heaven in a bottle, uses like it cost a lot, but I can affirm that it didn't!  Now this I don't mind!

And you know what else I like?  Staring at a gorgeous vase of flowers while I'm baking up a storm!
It's a wonderful thing.

I'm all about easy when it comes to around-the-house projects, and this one certainly fits the bill!

What spring "home refresh" projects are on your "to do" list?

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Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Easter Basket Cookie Cups

 This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #EasterEssentials #CollectiveBias 

My family looks forward to Easter time every spring with great anticipation, so I'm excited to share a few of our favorite foods that help make our celebrations special, starting with these Easter Basket Cookie Cups!
There's just something about spring that screams, "happiness and renewal".  The earth comes alive once more and the flowers show their pretty faces.  It's one of my favorite seasons. 

I'm hoping old man weather will catch the memo that it's March and thus bring on the warmer weather, because this past week we've been enduring below freezing temps.  Then, Saturday morning we had quite the surprise when we woke up to 8 inches of snow!  

We rarely get snow here.  The forecast predicted we'd get some white stuff, but whenever that happens, the storm either passes us over completely or barely gives us a dusting of the pavement.  So you can imagine our shock.

We had loads of fun making snowmen all day, but in the back of my mind I was secretly hoping that this would be the last snowfall until next winter.  I'm just ready to say goodbye to the coats and gloves and hello to shorts and flip flops.  

How about you?
One of the first welcome signs to me that spring is on its way is when the Easter candy hits the shelves!  I can't get enough of it.  Are you the same way?  I find myself frequenting Walmart just so I can raid the seasonal treats aisle.  On my last trip I picked up some STOUFFER'S® Buffalo-Style Mac Cups for our festivities as well.
I found them in the frozen meals aisle at Walmart.
When we host a large crowd for an egg hunts or just an excuse to gather and celebrate the season, I like to serve simple foods that everyone will love.  As you know, I hate stressing over what we'll eat.  STOUFFER'S® Mac Cups fit into my busy event-planning schedule and who doesn't enjoy a cup of cheesy pasta? Especially when it's Buffalo-Style?
Probably one of my favorite parts about hosting friends is the excuse to bake up a storm!

Ironically enough, my first Easter baking this year, happened when it was a blizzard outside this past weekend.  :)  My daughter said, "It doesn't even feel like Easter time!"   But I don't need sun and warmth to enjoy a yummy Easter Basket Cookie Cup, now do I?

Because my absolute favorite cookie is chocolate chip, I chose to make these cute edible baskets with my favorite homemade dough, then fill them with a creamy, dreamy mixture, and top them with coconut "grass" and NESTLÉ® BUTTERFINGER® NestEggs (have you had them...they're SO tasty!).  Then I finished them off with a licorice "handle".

Aren't they cute?
Start by making up a batch of your favorite chocolate chip cookies...here's mine.   This next part takes some finesse, so just be patient.  Turn a muffin pan over.  Grab a small ball of dough and press it down on the top of a muffin mold.  You'll want it to come over the sides slightly, but not too far because it will expand as it bakes.  You also want the dough thickness to be as consistent as possible so the sides will be even lengths.  It's a little tricky and mine were not perfect by any means, but I did find that you can trim the sides with a knife when they're just out of the oven and still warm.

Bake according to your favorite cookie recipe's instructions.  I baked mine at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 or 11 minutes.  Let them cool for a few minutes, then very carefully remove them from the muffin molds and place them on a cooling rack.
Next, whip up your filling (recipe below).

Fills 10 cookie cups

8 oz. cream cheese, softened
4 c. frozen whipped topping, thawed
2 Tbsp. vanilla instant pudding, dry from the packet
1 cup powdered sugar

Place all ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until fluffy.
Making coconut "grass" is so easy.  Simply toss some coconut in a bowl a few drops of green food coloring.  Continue adding drops and tossing until the desired color is reached.  Then spread the coconut out on a cookie sheet and bake at a low temp for a few minutes until it's dry.  

It's such a perfect addition to these basket cups!
Next, I unwrapped some NESTLÉ® BUTTERFINGER® NestEggs, popped a few in my mouth (because I just couldn't help it), and then added three to the top of each cookie cup.  The confections just aren't complete without them!  They also make great Easter egg fillers for the hunt!
Then I stuck a piece of colorful licorice in the creamy filling of each cup, and voila! they're done.  My licorice started to sag a little, so if you want the handle to be more stable, just use more strings of licorice.  

How fun are these?

Happy Easter!  What are some of your favorite traditions that help you celebrate?  I'd love to hear!
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Monday, March 2, 2015

15 Pretty Rainbow Treats

There's something for everyone in this fabulously colorful collection of 15 Beautiful Rainbow Desserts!  Make them for St. Patrick's Day or any occasion to brighten your day.
St. Patty's Day is quickly approaching and my kids are getting excited to go on Mr. Leprechaun's treasure hunt and then try once again to catch him the rest of the day.  :) They have a great time making a new trap each year in hopes of capturing the sly little guy.  He usually makes a little mischief in the house and even leaves his footprints on the ground, but we have yet to get our hands on him.  Maybe this time we'll get lucky!

I always like to make a special themed dessert for the kids to enjoy that day, because we're opposed to dying our meals a sick-looking hue.  Green eggs, green milk and green mac and cheese just don't appeal to us in any way.  We're picky like that.  :) No offense...I really admire you if you're cool with that kind of thing.

So, whether you're in need of a sweet treat for March 17th or hosting a colorful party, these confections are sure to be a hit! From jello to cakes and cookies, pudding, and even breakfast foods, you simply can't go wrong with this gorgeous bunch of foods! 

If you like a specific recipe, please click the link and pin directly from the source.  If you love all of them, please pin the collage photo above.  Thanks!

Rainbow Cake @ Love and Olive Oil

Rainbow Pudding @ Blissfully Domestic

Rainbow Bars @ Bloom Designs

 Rainbow Waffles @ Tablespoon

Rainbow Candy Cupcakes @ Jamberry Lane

Rainbow Pinwheel Cookies @ Mom on Timeout

Jello Cookies @ I Heart Naptime

Rainbow Cupcakes @ The Girl Who Ate Everything

 Rainbow Fruit Pizza @ Well Plated

 Rainbow Pretzel Wands @ Mom on Timeout

Rainbow Rice Krispie Pinwheels @ Center Cut Cook

Perfect Rainbow Pancakes @ I Am Baker

Rainbow Trifle @ The Kitchen Magpie

Rainbow Jello Cups @ Yummy Healthy Easy

Have a wonderful, colorful day!

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Friday, February 27, 2015

Girls' Room Refresh!

I've been excited for a little while to show you this bright and clean girls' room remodel!
Isn't it refreshing looking?

This project has been in the works (mainly in the dreaming stage) for a while now, and it finally came to fruition!  But before we reveal the rest of the beautiful room, let's first take a peek at the before.  I love a good/horribly awful before picture!

This used to be mine and my sister's room growing up.  I'm ashamed to say that we painted it the green color.   It just wasn't right for this particular space because it is a basement room and needs all the light it can get.

I used to sleep on that same icky yellow metal bunk bed.  The awful pink carpet just had to go too!

Currently it's my little sisters' room.  My mom was tired of looking at it, so she convinced my dad to make some changes, and I love how it turned out! 
Voila!  My dad started by painting the walls white.  What a welcome change!  It really brightens up the place.

Next, he replaced the carpet.  Goodbye pink!

Then he gave the headboard on the bed a fresh coat of paint. 
He painted the dresser and the bunk bed the same color and gave the mirror a frame.  The color is Exotic Sea by Valspar (color match: 5004-10b).
And then my dad made a built-in window seat with drawers underneath for toy storage.

 This is my absolute favorite part of the whole room!  My grandma made the fun cushions and then my mom purchased the large pillows at Walmart. 

I'm still always amazed at the difference paint can make.  I wish the room had looked like this when I lived here!  But I'm glad that my little sisters have such a cute space to retire to each evening.

My mom is still on the lookout for a fun chandelier to replace the fluorescent light fixture, but that will come later.


What do you love most about this space?
Are you working on any home projects right now?  I'd love to hear about them!

If you want to check out my parents' other home projects, check out the links below.
Teen Girl's Room Re-do

A Fabulous Kitchen Remodel

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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Easy Ice Cream Cake

Who wants to grab a fork and dive into this luscious no-bake cake made with ice cream sandwiches, whipped topping and oodles of caramel and chocolate syrup?  I do, I do!
Need I even mention the chocolate toffee bits on top?

Talk about decadent and utterly delicious!  It's so good, it's sinful!

When I visited my family over the holidays, I of course had to whip up lots of yummy desserts, because I had a plethora of bodies to help taste test/consume them.  :)
This layered creamy treat went lickedy-split, F-A-S-T!   The kids kept opening the freezer, wondering if it was set up enough.  :)  I think we pulled it out a bit prematurely, but we just couldn't wait any longer to dig in!  We all grabbed a spoons and took to it like a mob of rabid dogs.

We were seriously licking the pan, wanting more.


14 ice cream sandwiches, unwrapped
1 jar (12 oz.) caramel ice cream topping
1 carton (12 oz.) frozen whipped topping, thawed
1/4 c. chocolate syrup (no need to measure)
8 oz. Heath Bits (chocolate and toffee) or chopped candy bar

Arrange ice cream sandwiches in an ungreased 13" x 9" dish, so they are touching.  With the leftover space, cut sandwiches so they fit snuggly in the crevices.  Spread with caramel and whipped toppings.  Drizzle with chocolate syrup.  Sprinkle with Heath Bits or chopped candy bar. Cover and freeze for at least 45 minutes.  Cut into squares. 

This Ice Cream Cake takes just minutes to make, and is a delightful experience to consume.  I think it's pretty safe to say you're going to love this one!

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