Thursday, December 10, 2015

Christmas Card Display Problem: SOLVED!

The last few days I've been stressing about how to display the inevitable loads of Christmas cards we will receive this year. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love getting them!! But after starting the Konmari method and reading The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up I just wanted to display them in a joyful way.

I scoured Pinterest for some ideas, and there are a lot of them out there!  I settled on this one from Thyme is Honey using washi tape. And then I realized that the only washi tape I had was some leopard print stuff leftover from one of my girl's art projects.

Uh, that's not very Christmas-y.

So I went to my trusty ribbon stash and found the perfect shade of green (seriously, I have a LOT of ribbon). I used some command strips, some leftover tinsel and a level to make the perfect display tree!  I even cut a star out of some gold fabric I had left over from Halloween.

Total Cost: $0




I love how it turned out and can't wait to fill it up with the season's greetings from our friends and family.

Bring on the cards!!

Speaking of which, I'm waiting for ours to come via Shutterfly so that I can send them out asap.  I keep a list on my Google Docs of all the addresses of our friends and family from year to year, so it's a snap to fill out the cards when they come.

I'm all about making the holidays as stress-free as possible!


It's filling up! 

What's your favorite way to display cards? Share in the comments below! 

~Patricia

Monday, December 7, 2015

Morning Routine with an Easy Breakfast Idea

Hey y'all!  

Today I wanted to share with you my morning routine and one of my favorite ways to make a quick breakfast.  The holidays are in full swing here and if I don't make myself a healthy breakfast, I get super cranky by mid-morning! That is no beuno for anyone. Seriously. 

Ready? Here we go!

Usually I start the morning by getting my two oldest girls up and off to school.  I make sure they are dressed, shoes on, and the oldest one gets some sort of breakfast sandwich or protein bar and a glass of milk that she can eat/drink in the car on the way to the bus stop. (Unfortunately she's inherited my hangry tendencies, so I have to make sure she eats something.) 

After that I always walk the dog. I use the S Health App on my phone to track my mileage, and it usually ends up being a 1 or 2 mile walk. Wahoo!  If my day isn't too crazy, I'll head over to the gym later in the morning to take a class (Zumba is my favorite!), but if not, brisk walk = cardio! 


When I get home I whip out the yoga mat to do some stretches and other exercises: planks, sit-ups, squats, etc. Those pesky abs will be flat one day! There I said it! (so it has to be true, right?!)


And now, for the the easiest breakfast you'll ever make, I give you: (Drumroll please....)
2 Minute Eggs!! 

Made in a mug in the microwave! Genius! 


Basic 2 Minute Egg Recipe:
Spray a Coffee Mug with non-stick spray.
Whisk 2 eggs, 1 tbsp milk and spices (I use salt, pepper and turmeric) together. 
Microwave for 45 seconds, stir.
Microwave again until set, usually 30 to 45 more seconds. 

That's it!

Usually I pop them out onto a plate and add some protein left over from our dinner the night before (steak, chicken, chops) or even some deli meat if I have some. Throw on some cherry tomatoes, a little cheese, maybe add some left over veggies (peppers and spinach would be amazing!) and you've got yourself an easy breakfast AND used up some of those leftovers that would probably have been forgotten about in the back of your fridge. (Wait, am I the only one who doesn't like leftovers?)

You can find the original recipe and a video here from IncredibleEgg.com

And here's a fun fact: Years ago, when I worked at a juvenile detention center, one of the older ladies that worked there used to make her eggs like this and I thought she was just crazy. Who makes their eggs in the microwave?!  Now I know that she was just years ahead of her time. Genius. I guess that's what living for ten more years will give you! Perspective! 

OMG. Isn't this mini whisk the CUTEST?!?!

I'd love to see some of your favorite breakfast creations, so leave a link and comment below! Thanks for reading!

~Patricia










Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Banana Blondies

Sometimes I make really good decisions. 

Sometimes I find something on Pinterest, and it just turns out. Like really turns out good. (see below for a delicious example)

And sometimes things don't turn out at all. Pinterest Fail. 

So before I tell you about the best-ever-so-easy-it-can't-be-good-for-you recipe for Banana Blondies, let me tell you about my fail making banana bread. Banana bread---it should be so easy to make, right?

Not for me I guess!

I do have a great recipe for banana muffins, maybe I should just put those in a loaf pan, is that how these things work? Would that even work? Hmmmm.

I found this recipe for Banana Bread on Food.com. The picture show delicious, warm (I'm only assuming it's warm, I didn't see that in the photos per se), yummy banana bread. Mmmmm, my mouth was watering, and I had a whole bunch of ripe bananas to use up; let's get started!! 

So I mixed it up (easy enough) and greased and floured my loaf pan (thanks Mom for teaching me how to do that!) and then poured it in and popped it in the oven. Easy! Wait an hour (which seemed like a long time, but whatever), and then smell something burning and pull out this mess: 



Ick.  It was burned and didn't look at all like the pictures, didn't look appetizing at all.  I took it out and tried to salvage it by cutting off the burned parts, but it just was a soppy mess. Le sigh. I tried!!


Now, on to the success of the day:

Banana Blondies! 

Look at how delicious these look!

And homemade frosting too!!

Mmmmmmm.  



I found the recipe off of Pinterest, from this website, Cookies and Cups. 

It was surprisingly easy, and so deliciously sweet! I've never really even made frosting before, and I couldn't believe
a) that I made it and 
b) that I had all the ingredients already in my pantry!

This is all that was left after the kids got into it!
Ready for the recipe?

Here goes!  

Banana Blondies 

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 medium to large mashed ripe banana

1. Preheat oven to 350 and line a 8x8 pan or a pie plate with foil, then spray with non-stick baking spray.
2. Using your stand mixer, combine melted butter and sugar. Then incorporate in egg and vanilla. Then stir until salt, flour and banana until batter is smooth. 
3. Bake for 25-30 min. Center should be set when you take it out.
4. Place pan on wire rack to cool, then make the frosting!


Brown Sugar Frosting


Ingredients: 

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp milk
  • 1 cup powered sugar

1. In a saucepan, melt the butter. Add brown sugar and milk; stir until  it begins to boil. Remove from heat and let sit 5 minutes.
2. Whisk in powered sugar.
3. Pour over blondies and let sit while frosting hardens. When everything is completely cool and set, cut and enjoy! Refrigerate any leftovers. 

Recipe adapted from Cookies and Cups. 


Monday, October 19, 2015

Halloween bottles and a pasta problem!

Today I finished up working on my Halloween decor, by putting the final touches on these bottles that we painted. I really liked how they turned out!


I still have to give them a final spray of sealer, so the paint doesn't chip off, but other than that, they are ready to display! The smaller one is a pasta jar that was painted orange on the inside, and other two are green bottles (one olive oil, one wine) that my 5 and 3 yr olds helped to paint on the outside.  

I much prefer the clean, inside painted look, but since I'm also about letting the kids help with the crafts, I'll take whatever I can get! 


The other thing I have going on today is my never-ending battle with pasta. Awhile ago I brought some pasta home from the grocery store that had pasta bugs in it. 

They.are.so.gross!!

And I didn't realize at first what it was, so I did nothing about it. Then they were everywhere. All over my pantry closet. Trying to climb out and on my counter. Ick. 

I took drastic steps. Cleaned out and sprayed down the entire pantry closet. Threw a ton of stuff away. It was probably about time. Ever since I started the Konmari Method  I've had an easier time just throwing things away.  I'm never going to make those strawberry lemonade flavored cupcakes, never. Why did I buy those? I ended up doing some research about the pasta bugs, and the best way to kill them is to put the boxes in the freezer when you get home from the store so the cold can kill the bugs and their eggs. 

Again, ick.

So that's what I've been doing, and I'm happy to say, NO MORE BUGS!!

What a relief!

Except for tonight, when I took a box of pasta from the freezer, emptied it into the pot of boiling water, and a ton of gross little bugs started floating on the surface of the water. I panicked and threw the entire pot down the drain, which lead to my (temporarily) clogging my garbage disposal. But, thankfully, I got rid of all of it! Shudder.


Which lead me to this photo. I had a half a box of clean rotini left, but the other pasta was down the drain, literally. So I found a box of tri-color pasta and picked out all of the white pastas (red bowl) to go with the half box. My 3 kids were none the wiser. Then I made the red and green pasta for myself (and extra for lunch tomorrow).

Dinner was saved, a mess was made but our bellies are full. For that, we are thankful!

Until next time, come and hang with me on Instagram!  It's the perfect platform for a visual person like me; I love looking at all the photos!

-Patricia

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Easy DIY: Trash Bag Spiderwebs!



Do you ever poke around on Pinterest, hoping to find that perfect craft to do? One that's not too hard, not too cheap-looking; one that will be done in the course of one afternoon without having to go to five stores to find exactly the right shade of pink or three different kinds of glitter?

Let me present to you: (drum roll please)......

Trash Bag Spiderwebs! 

They are perfect, perfect, perfect for Halloween: not to hard to make, easy to find materials (you probably have a giant box of black trash bags from Costco sitting under your sink right now), and definite decorating punch for the holiday season.

Sold? Me too.

Let's get started!

For full directions and for more info, see the source of this project: Howaboutorange.blogspot.com

Materials Needed:Large Black trash bag
Scissors
Tape
Black Sharpie

Start by cutting off the four sides of the trash bag, so that you have 2 giant squares of black plastic-y material.  I found it easiest to not unfold the trash bag the whole way, but rather cut off the sides while it's still folded up (soooo much easier!).


Then you'll want to fold up the one of the squares into a giant triangle, and tape the open side together, so it doesn't slide all around.  Each bag will make 2 spiderwebs.


Using your black sharpie, make the spider web lines that you want on the triangle (like those in the picture) and then cut those pieces out, leaving something that looks like the image below.


When you unfold it, you'll have a cool giant black spiderweb that you can hang anywhere in your house to give the kids (and Grandma!) a good scare! 


Spooky!!

Want to see the rest of our Halloween decorations take shape? Follow along on the blog via email or follow me on Instagram

Happy Decorating!
-Patricia



Friday, September 4, 2015

Pom-poms!

I'm off to bed here in a minute, but I just wanted to share a great craft that we did together (the girls and I) tonight that was fun and easy and didn't drive me crazy: making pom-poms!

I had actually forgotten all about the cool pom-pom makers I had bought off of Amazon a few years ago now, but they are so easy to use: just wrap, cut and tie. So simple. And the girls had fun picking out what size to make and what color yarn to use too.

Try them out!



Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Visit to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium

I cannot believe our summer has gone by this fast and that it's already over. We've traveled all over the country, worn out our swimsuits and just have had so much fun!

A few days ago we went to see Winter the dolphin at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium. Every time the girls watch A Dolphin Tale, they get so excited and want to see Winter.  This time, I realized that the only day we had left before school started, was the next day! So I booked a hotel, bought the tickets and we headed out the next morning!

On our way!

It was super hot, but the girls really had a nice time. My 8 year old loved it the most, because she really liked listening to the workers there when they gave their talks. I thought it was very interesting too! The little girls liked looking at the animals as well as the trolley ride over to the second building, where they have a building dedicated to the movie, with set pieces, little known-facts, and a hurricane re-enactment (that honestly really scared the little girls but was just sort of wobbly and windy to me).


Winter's gel that keeps her tail on

Jolley Trolley ride to A Dolphin Tale Adventure
Hanging at the Dolphin Tale Adventure
I spy a dolphin!

Afterwards, we stopped at the grocery store to get some food, then I asked Google to bring me to the closet public beach.

Can I just say that I love Google? It took me past the busy, loud, crowded pier area of Clearwater to this awesome public park, where there was plenty of parking, no crowds, and tons of quiet beach time.



As well as an awesome sunset.


Gorgeous, right?!  It was amazing!  

And then as we were leaving, we saw fireworks being shot off. Perfect end to an awesome day.

Here's to hoping the school year is just as peaceful.

Thanks for reading!

Patricia