Monday, November 30, 2015

Under Construction

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I know it's been quiet around here, but I've been busy working on some changes!  Please forgive any glitches / issues over the next month. I'm hoping to launch a new and improved site with lots of great new content in January!  Wish me luck!  I'm excited and terrified at the same time!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

DIY Easy Bistro Table Makeover

We have two simple black bistro tables that used to live in our master bedroom as "temporary" night stands.  But, earlier this year we purchased actual night stands. So, after 7 years (you read that right) in our bedroom, the black bistro tables became homeless.  I considered selling them in a garage sale we had, but then I thought they could be useful somewhere else in our home.  So, I held onto them and they bounced around from room to room until inspiration hit.  

The windows in our living room face a bare and boring small side yard with a glorious view of a brick fence.  It's just as lovely as I'm sure you are imagining it.  We plan on planting a couple fruit trees over there eventually, but the space could use some color regardless.  So, I decided to give one of the bistro tables a makeover so that it could live in our side yard outside our living room as... wait for it... a bistro table!  Original, I know!

The process couldn't be easier and this makeover cost less than $20!!  But, before I get too carried away, here are the before and after pictures.
DIY Easy Bistro Table Makeover
Don't you just love it?  It makes me so incredibly happy to see this bright and fun table outside the window!  I carried the colors from our living room outside so that it would be a natural extension of the room.  I am seriously smitten with it.  

Here's how I did it:

Monday, August 10, 2015

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pomegranate Vinaigrette

If you asked me to rank my favorite vegetables a month ago, Brussels sprouts wouldn't even make the list.  I would even go so far as to say I hated them.  I thought they tasted bitter and disliked every recipe I ever tried them in, so I would avoid them at all costs.  

But recently, My Love made these Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pomegranate Vinaigrette and, unfortunately, I couldn't avoid them any longer.  See, one of the many joys of being a parent is that you kind of have to practice what you preach.  I can't tell my kids to eat their vegetables and try new things if I am not willing to do it myself.  So, I begrudgingly tried one of the Brussels sprouts while discreetly throwing dirty looks at My Love.  

Luckily, he didn't see my surprise when I realized that not only did I not hate these Brussels sprouts, I actually really liked them.  I tried to play it cool and told him they were "alright" as I helped myself to several more servings of them.  But, there was no denying it.  I loved these Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pomegranate Vinaigrette!

Friday, August 7, 2015

Countdown to Kindergarten Activities { Free Disney Store Alphabet Scavenger Hunt Printable }

If you follow me on Instagram, you know that we did a fun little countdown to kindergarten the week leading up to school starting.  But, I thought I'd share it here in more detail.

Last year, Lovebug was leaving the daycare/preschool she had attended since she was four months old to attend Pre-K at a different school.  She didn't know the teachers, the school or any of the students and she was a little sad and anxious about the change.  So, we decided to do a countdown to Pre-K to get her excited about her new school.  We did fun little surprises each day the week before school started, like painting her nails fun designs, putting chalk colors in her hair and taking treats to her preschool.  We just wanted her days to be a little more special so she wouldn't be so sad.  By the time school started, she was more excited than anxious about the change.  Mission accomplished!

This year, Lovebug was already excited about kindergarten, but she was changing schools again so we decided to implement the countdown again, just for fun.   We planned simple, inexpensive and fun activities to surprise her each day of the week leading up to school starting.  

We started the countdown with donuts for breakfast with 7 days to go...

With 6 days left, we had a sleep over and movie in mommy and daddy's room.  It was fun for her but so very precious to me.  I loved cuddling with my sweet girl thinking about how quickly time has flown by and how my little baby would be starting kindergarten in a few short days.

5 days and counting... We surprised her with bath time fun!  I went to the dollar store and picked up 7 packs of glow sticks.  Each pack had 4 - 6 sticks in it so the tub was full of light.  She had so much fun that bath time took twice as long as normal!

With 4 days left, I took Lovebug to the Disney Store for an Alphabet Scavenger Hunt.  If she could sound out Disney characters or items starting with each letter of the alphabet, she could pick out a prize ($15 or less).  I was so impressed with how many she came up with on her own, but have to admit the end of the alphabet gave us a run for our money. Luckily, the lovely cast members at our local Disney Store helped us out and we were able to come up with all but one letter.  I still gave her a prize and the cast members did too!  She walked away with 101 Dalmatians figures and awesome Disney trading cards!  

* Free printable of the Disney Store Scavenger Hunt sheet is below.  :)

3 days until the big day meant special mini ice cream cone treats for Lovebug and her friends!  Her absolute favorite!

My Love had won tickets to the Phoenix Mercury game from work and Lovebug loves going to the women's basketball games.  So, it was the perfect surprise for one of her last couple days before school.

We celebrated the last night before school with one of Lovebug's favorite meals and ended the meal with frozen yogurt, toppings and all!

We had one last surprise for Lovebug on the first day of school.  We decorated the bathroom mirror with encouraging notes using dry erase markers and filled the bathroom with helium balloons.  We just wanted to start her day off with a smile on her face.  And boy did she ever!

Lovebug loves school and was already really excited about kindergarten.  But, we wanted to create some fun memories leading up to the big day.  When she thinks back on kindergarten, will she think about this countdown?  Probably not.  But, I know I will always remember it and the excitement on her face as she would ask what her surprise was for that day.  So, maybe the countdown was more for me than for her. But, either way, we had some fun and made some lovely memories.  So, it was worth it.  In fact, it was so worth it that we will likely do a countdown to school every year going forward! :)

Here is the free printable for the Disney Store Alphabet Scavenger Hunt.  Just right click and save to your computer.  Then, open it in a word processing program, adjust the size, if necessary, and print.

I hope all your kiddos have a fantastic school year this year!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Building out Littlebug's Library - Bookroo Subscription

Littlebug's two favorite things lately are babies and books.  She loves to take care of her babies by changing their diapers, feeding them and patting their backs while they sleep.  But, even more than that, this kid loves to read!  If she ever gets a little too quiet, I usually find her somewhere with a stack of books surrounding her, "reading" to herself or to her babies.  

While we have amassed a decent collection of children's books over the years, I've really wanted to add to the library in Littlebug's room.  So, when the lovely folks at Bookroo reached out asking if we'd like to participate in a product review, I jumped at the opportunity!  

Monday, August 3, 2015

Marshmallow Cream Cheese Dip

She's alive! 

You guys!  Life has been so crazy lately that I have hardly had a moment to catch my breath, let alone share a post with you.  If you follow me on Instagram, you already know that Lovebug started kindergarten a couple weeks ago.  And if you've been around for a while, you know that change and I don't always ever get along.  But, we are settling into a groove and I'm excited to be able to focus back on blogging.  

I thought I'd ease in slowly with a super simple and delicious recipe with you and this Marshmallow Cream Cheese Fruit Dip recipe fit the bill perfectly!

I first had this Marshmallow Cream Cheese Fruit Dip at a girlfriends college graduation party many moons ago and I was surprised at how much I loved it.  See, I usually prefer fruit on its own because fresh fruit is so sweet and juicy that I don't think it needs anything to make it better.   However, this dip seriously takes fruit to the next level.  
Marshmallow Cream Cheese Fruit Dip Recipe

Monday, July 13, 2015

German Chocolate Cake

My Love absolutely loves German Chocolate Cake.  It is his very favorite cake and he asks for it at every opportunity, which creates a bit of a dilemma in our home...

See, German Chocolate Cake is not my favorite cake.  In fact, it might be my least favorite cake.  The  rich chocolate cake part, I love.  It's just the frosting that I'm not much of a fan of.  And the frosting in my recipe is so sticky and gooey, full of coconut and pecans, that it oozes and seeps down into the nooks and crevices of the cake.  So, there is just no avoiding the frosting, which is great for someone who loves this cake.  But, not so great for someone like me who just wants to enjoy the cake part and skip the frosting.

My Love only requests it for special occasions (birthdays, Father's Day, etc.) because (1) he feels that it is a burden for me to make it when I don't like it (it's not), (2) he doesn't want to be the main consumer of this cake's "awesomeness" (his word, not mine) and (3) he feels bad that I skip dessert when this cake is on the menu (a few skipped desserts never hurt anybody, right?).

Lucky for him, Father's Day was last month, so he got to indulge in his favorite treat, which gave me the opportunity to share the recipe with you!  

Moral of the story: If you are a German Chocolate Cake loving family, this recipe is for you!  If not, then you should skip this recipe because there is no getting around the dark chocolate, coconut, pecan flavor combo. 
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