Valentine’s Day Fun

Valentine’s Day is just a week away and my house is all a glow in red {but not pink … I don’t know why but I am not into pinks for decor so I stick to red}. Still, my decor is pretty cute if I can toot my own horn. Toot toot. I thought I’d share a photo of my mantel and one of a cute buffet table in my entry as well.

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My 3 Reed Dotters hosted the cutest cookie party. What a fun idea to celebrate a sweet holiday like Valentine’s.

Cookie Bar

Tatortots and Jello always wows in her holiday and everyday decor. I love how she made these pretty paper rosettes and I am a sucker for anything xo.

valentine-vignette-header

She’s Crafty used so many of my faves – chevron, black, white and red, owls, letters. I could go on and on {and on}.

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The Happy Scraps created this fun display using the word L-O-V-E and added a little bunting to make it even cuter {if that is even possible!}

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I make yarn wrapped wreaths but I have yet to try yarn wrapping letters. How cute are these over at My Sister’s Suitcase?

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Crafty Texas Girls did a cute dresser display. I love the ‘love’ banner, don’t you?

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Sources for my decor:

  • Pom pom flowers and chalkboard – made by me
  • Hobnail vase & numbered plates – Rodworks
  • Pom Pom garland – Target dollar bins at Christmas time
  • Old window frame – found by my dad, painted by me
  • Vase filled with glittery red hearts, hearts are from – Joann’s
  • #4 – Steinmart
  • Be Kind printable {this is one of my favorite quotes in the whole world} – Three Little Monkeys Studio

Wishing you all sweet things everyday. Hugs and kisses to each and everyone of you sweet blog followers out there.

 

New Year — New Goals

I prefer to call them goals and not resolutions. Resolutions seems so predictable and are often {OK, almost always} broken. I’m also trying to come up with my word of the year. I was torn between two but starting this post gave me the clarity that I needed to settle on one. The two I love  are ‘breathe’ and ‘focus’. I love them both but I have chosen breathe as my 2014 word. I might have to repeat it to myself a million times but hopefully I can get it to stick.  Both apply to my main goal of being more present and less stressed. If I can remind myself to just breathe in stressful situations then the focus comes. Or so I have been reminded by some of my super smart Facebook friends ;)

I’m playing over at Pinterest {and this is where focus or the lack of comes into play} and I found this great list of goals. I think it’s a great way to assess goals and by writing typing them out, I can maybe be a bit more accountable. I love this quote that I found on Pinterest. Little things are much more achievable and can still make us feel like we succeeded.

Focus

I also found this list over at Run Lucas Run. I think we will wrap up our Winter Break tomorrow as a family by having a yummy dinner and then we can each fill out these lists. There are actually two lists to download, one is for grownups and the other for kids. The kids version is so much more simple. Lucky kids.

2014I’m getting a jump start on mine to share with you.

A BAD HABIT I’M GOING TO BREAK: Getting so worked up about things that really aren’t worth it.
A NEW SKILL I’D LIKE TO LEARN: Canning 
A PERSON I HOPE TO BE MORE LIKE: This is a loaded question, there are so many people that inspire me.
A GOOD DEED I’M GOING TO DO: Dedicate more time to Hands 4 Hope
A PLACE I’D LIKE TO VISIT: The Oregon/Washington Coast.
A BOOK I’D LIKE TO READ: Fly Away by Kristen Hannah
A LETTER I’M GOING TO WRITE: Be more consistent in the letters I write to my boys.
A NEW FOOD I’D LIKE TO TRY: Eggplant — it kinda freaks me out.
I’M GOING TO BE BETTER AT: Using my time wisely/Gardening more/Being patient/Exercising and eating better  for my mental and physical health {not aiming for perfection but being better}/spending less and saving more/blog more

There you have it. My 2014 goals. Do you set goals or resolutions? I’d love to hear them and how you stick to them as well.

Cheers to a New Year. I hope 2014 is a good one for you!

 

 

Fall Entertaining

Sometimes I just want to jump into a magazine that features the perfect tablescape. Tonight I was inspired by this amazing photo on Joss & Main.

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I love this table over at Bird’s Party. The sprinkles of gold confetti are a fun addition to an already whimsical table.

thanksgiving-fall-tablescape-ideasClassy in the City shared this simple yet inviting table for 4.

Fall2 I love this photo on LampsPlus page. I think the whole property just works for that rustic feel that I adore.

Fall3I love how Sew Fine a Seam incorporated some blue into her table. I love adding blue into my holiday color scheme. Light blue, robins egg blue, soft aqua. It’s a soothing color and adds a fun pop to any decor.

fall-tablescape-3-620x1014The Happier Homemaker kept it simple with whites and a burst of green. I love the addition of the initial as a table marker {I have a slight obsession with initials}.

autumn-tablescapeSo there you have it, a few of my favorite fall tablescapes although I have a confession, I grew up spending holidays with my dad, siblings, grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles, etc. so we all ended up eating wherever we found a seat and this involved paper plates and plastic utensils but guess what? It was the best and even though we didn’t have fancy place settings, there wasn’t a lack of blessings and things to be thankful for. Still, I do love pretty table.

 

Cinnamon & Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Pie Cookies

Heeeeelllllo Fall! So it’s that season {yeah yeah yeah .. I’m so redundant in expressing my love of Fall, sorry if it gets annoying but I just can not help myself} for baking. Today I had three goals, #1 – Bake with pumpkin, #2 – make some goodies for our schools Fall Festival Cake Walk tomorrow and #3 – Appease my neighbor who has been relentless in reminding me that I have not made anything pumpkin for him yet. So I went to my recipe book Pinterest and found these goodies which were over at Keep it Sweet Deserts. I whipped them up and of course had my delivery boy run them to the neighbors house which resulted in a text telling me that it was a keeper. Oh whew! ;) Then I bagged them up for the cake fight. Oh yes, prior to these two things my taste tester and I sampled the goods and yes, this recipe is a keeper.

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Cinnamon & Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Pie Cookies

Yield: Makes 5 dozen cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie seasoning
  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup cinnamon chips

Cooking Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking soda and pumpkin pie seasoning; set aside
  3. Using an electric mixer, beat together butter and sugars until light and fluffy
  4. Beat in eggs and vanilla; beat in pumpkin until well-combined
  5. Stir in dry ingredients just until combined
  6. Stir in chocolate and cinnamon chips
  7. Use a cookie dough scoop or tablespoon to place cookie dough mounds (about 1 1/2 tablespoons each) onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper about 1 inch apart
  8. Bake 9-11 minutes or until cookies are puffed up and no longer wet
  9. Allow cookies to cool on cooling rack before serving

Valentine’s Day Goodies

I have a serious sweet tooth and I am afraid my pants have proven that since Christmas. Yikes. So instead of eating my way through Valentine’s, I’m going to pass along my finds for YOU to make and eat. I know, so very sweet of me eh? ;) You’re welcome!

This deliciousness over at Glorious Treats has some sweet and salty which is a very dangerous combo!

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How about some corny Valentine’s sweetness? Shaken Together Life used a Mason jar to put together this treat.

corny little Valentine

 

I always love the M&M, pretzel and Kiss recipe but this one is different. What’s Cooking Love used Raspberry Kisses. Yum!

Chocolate Raspberry Pretzel Bites4

Iowa Girl Eats made these Brownie Mix Truffles. OMG!!!

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Of course you need some pink milk to wash it all down. Lil Luna has a fun Valentine’s party going on including printables to pull it all together.

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Wishing you a Valentine’s Day full of sweet treats and zero calories.

 

Love is in the Air. My Valentine’s Decor

A new season or holiday = a new mantel!! I love changing this up with the seasons and it’s fun to make it different every year. So this year I have added some new to the old.

Valentins Mantel

  • Burlap garland – made by me. I just used the burlap ribbon with red pinstripes found at JoAnn’s, cut it down and wrapped in half over twine and then I cut some hearts and added them for that pop.
  • Burlap covered letter M – also my creation. The letter is from JoAnn’s Superstore and so is the red burlap.
  • Vase and hydrangeas – The flowers are from Michaels and the vase is Cost Plus.
  • Candle holders and candles – I’ve had them so long that I can’t remember where they came from but I love them!
  • Framed art – Of course I had to add some words so I found this printable on-line and added to an already on hand frame. I spent a 1/2 hour searching and I can not find the original source! I printed this a couple of weeks back.
  • Candle – on clearance at Target.
  • Of course I had to add a couple of close ups of my true loves.

A few other fun Valentine’s spots in my house:

Front door wreath {outside} – I created this using a large straw wreath form and lots of burlap and fabric for the flowers and base.

outside wreath

Front door wreath {inside} – A small straw wreath form wrapped in yarn and covered with pretty rosettes made of felt, burlap and pretty fabrics.

inside wreath

 

Do you change things up for the holidays? I’d love to see your creative side!

Neighbor Gifts

I love giving gifts and there are so many people on my gift list. I am about done but I still have my neighbors. Well, I typically do platters of cookies but then I started to think that I wanted to be different this year. So this is what I have come up with — I have 6 neighbors that I deliver too. This is my plan:

I love these oh so practicable soaps. The attached gift card is adorable and personalizes it a bit. I found the idea over at g*rated but she linked back to Crafts reDesigned for the printable. I picked up the soaps at Bath & Body Works. They have some great coupons right now too!

soap gifts

I think I will also add a mini loaf of egg nog bread. It’s a holiday favorite in our house. I love how Knead to Cook wrapped them up all sweet with a very simple hole punched gift tag and a pretty ribbon.

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Last but not least, I like to include a little something special for the kids. Every year my boys and I whip up some Reindeer Food. This tradition is a sweet one and of course, super simple {notice my pattern here — SIMPLE!}. I love the *free* printable over at TomKat Studios. I love that it allows the children to feel the magic of Christmas by leaving something special to bring Santa and his reindeer to their homes.

reindeer food label - tomkat studio

There you have it – a few fun and simple gift ideas :)

 

Citrus Salt Gifts

Tis the season for baking but sometimes there are so many sweets {is there such a thing really?} Anyway, if you want to give something that can be used for months to come and it isn’t going to pack on the pounds, try this gift. I made several of these for the yard duties, admin staff and librarian at my kids school. They looked like I worked super hard on them were super easy.

A couple of tips, I used sea salt as the ‘flake salt’ was not available at any of my local markets. I also ordered the cute little wooden spoons from here. I picked up the 4 oz jars at WalMart. Sunset Magazine has the printables. Just print on plain printer paper, cut down and use a pretty ribbon to attach it to the jar. Done — just like that you have something pretty and that will last beyond a few days. I had some leftover and used in a pasta dish the other night. Delish!

 source

Citrus Salt with lemon zest

Ingredients

  • 1 cup flake salt, such as Maldon, or coarse salt
  • 3 tablespoons citrus zest (any kind)

Preparation

  1. Mix salt and zest in a bowl; work zest into salt with your fingers to release oils and flavor. Spread on a baking tray. Air-dry until dried completely, 8 hours to overnight.
  2. Note: Zest’s color will fade over time, but this won’t affect taste.
  3. Make ahead: 2 months, kept airtight at room temperature.
  4. Bottle it: 4-oz. jam glass jar

White Chocolate Peanut Butter Krispies

Oh my deliciousness!! I can not even explain how amazingly good these are. I had to whip up something quick the other day. You know, cookie exchanges and all are kinda happening left and right. Tis the season! I have now made 4 batches of these. In 3 days. Yep, I’d say these are my latest go to recipe as far as treats go. The downfall? I can’t stop eating them! I am popping them in my mouth A LOT. So basically they are a diet fail but hey, who diets this time of year anyway?? ;)  

White Chocolate Peanut Butter Krispies

Source

(Printable Recipe)

2 cups Rice Krispies cereal
2 cups dry roasted peanuts
2 cups miniature marshmallows
1 cup peanut butter
2 pounds white chocolate chips (2 12-oz packages plus 1 1/3 cup)

In a large bowl, combine cereal, peanuts and marshmallows. In a microwave-safe bowl, melt chocolate and peanut butter on High for 1 minute and then in 30 second intervals until fully melted. Stir chocolate into cereal mixture. Mixture will be slightly runny. Drop by tablespoons onto waxed paper. Let set until firm, 2 hours. Store in an airtight container.

I promise, these will be a hit at any party you bring them too!! Delish :)

Kids Christmas Party

Wow — December slow it down! Between going back to work and just the normal holiday hustle and bustle, my blog is getting neglected. I’m missing it!! So hello friends — I hope everyone is enjoy the season and slowing down to make some amazing memories. We have watched a lot of holiday movies this week. I love the snuggle time.

By the way, where do people come from this time of year? It seems every road, parking lot and store is packed full of people. Then come January the world feels a lot quieter. It’s crazy! Six weeks of crazy I tell ya!

I love the kids parties at school. When the new school year rolls around and the sign ups come out I am all over it. This year I was able to sign up to run the Christmas party for my youngest and Valentine’s for my oldest. Christmas is around the corner so I have created a Pinterest Board to help compile fabulous crafty ideas. Some are arts and crafts and others are cute food ideas. Some of you might be planning holiday parties as well so I wanted to share some of my fun finds with you! I should mention that the other person helping me run this pretty much said she didn’t have ideas and would love to hear mine. Um ok!! ;) I can handle that! Here are a few fab crafty ideas that I am hoping to do this season — either in the classroom or out. Also, my son is in second grade so I am gearing it towards that age group.

 

  1. I love this Christmas cheese platter. It’s filled with tomatoes and cheese with pretzels as the stem. Of course you could serve more pretzels on the side.
  2. Of course snack time wouldn’t be complete without these sweet sandwiches.
  3. This idea for Grinch Floats using green {guessing lime} sherbet and sprite is so fun!! I can’t find the original source though — if you know of it, please do share. I’d like to give the credit where it belongs.
  4. These reindeer munchies are giving me the munchies!!
  5. Kids love cupcakes and these wreath cupcakes also have candy. Yum!
  6. I love this chocolate donut reindeer. They are simple yet so cute!

 

I love crafts. I think it is super sweet to make them nostalgic so little projects that involves handprints melt my heart. Kids grow so fast .

  1. These cute reindeer handprints are on the top of my to do list..
  2. If you have some scraps of fabric {I do!}, just add cinnamon sticks and you have these cute lil’ trees. Plus they will smell yummy!
  3. Another great craft using up old fabric or even some ribbon are these snowman clothespins. You could add a magnet to the back to make it easy to display {and hold stuff like letters from Santa or Christmas Lists!}
  4. I love these beautiful swirled paint ornaments. I happened to pick up some glass bulbs at a great price at Michaels last week. Just in case it’s a project we decide to do.
  5. For something pretty easy and with very little supplies needed, how about a pom pom pinecone? All of a sudden you’ve created a mini tree
  6. Reindeer Food is a must in our house. I adore these sweet little tags to go along with them. Hint: These also make fun gifts for the neighborhood kiddies!

If you are on Pinterest, pop on over and check out my Kids Christmas Party board. I have a whole bunch of other goodies on there that I didn’t share in this post.

Do you have any must do crafts for the season? How about must eat treats? I’d love to hear about them :)