Monday, December 23, 2013

3 ingredient Pumpkin Bread

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Carton Smart for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

Are you ready for the Christmas holiday yet? I'm 90% ready. It is the 10% not ready that scares me..ha ha. We woke up this morning and just stayed home and relaxed and played Christmas games with our kiddos. It was nice to slow down and just enjoy the true purpose of the holidays. For one of the games, my husband and I each compted with one child to make a costume out of wrapping paper in ten minutes or less! I turned my three year old into a super hero and my husband turned our 5 year old into the tin man. We were laughing so hard and the kids had a great time. 

Next, I moved the party to the kitchen and baked this delicious pumpkin bread with three simple ingredients. I received an amazing offer from carton Smart to try out their new products and Become Carton Smart. Delivered to my door was a box with Pacific Foods chicken stock, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin puree.

 photo 795e421d-1ec8-414e-b1b8-dde8f5f23ded_zps62983f0a.jpg

Look at this unique packaging. These Tetra Pak cartons are made of 70% paper and are so easy to store. (Definitely environmentally friendly)

 photo 62adf36b-e1dc-4d93-98c1-aa80d97a468d_zps600d562e.jpg

My favorite part is that you can use only a portion of your item, and then close the carton back. (A definite advantage over cans)

 photo 1898ca76-3272-4baf-a8df-07abf60e15e3_zps1bf425e9.jpg


Now on to the fabulous 3 ingredient pumpkin bread.



1 box of spice cake

1 cup water 

1 carton of pumpkin puree

 photo d1d52bb8-c150-4f19-9a7c-b8c9ab3c8df3_zpsac6b75dd.jpg



1. Blend all ingredients together.

2. Bake according to the spice cake box directions. (Usually 350 degrees for 25-30 min)

3. Enjoy!

Join me in becoming carton smart in the New Year. Follow #CartonSmart on PinterestTweet @CartonSmart

How can you be #CartonSmart this holiday season?






Visit Sponsor's Site

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Homemade Lavendar Sugar Scrub

Yes. Still waiting on our house to be done. Still waiting on a place to live and my craft room! In the meantime, I went over to my "cousins" house to create some homemade lavender sugar scrub. She has become a Pinterest addict and I love that about her. This was literally the easiest and fastest gift I have ever made. I was going to say it was dummy proof...but I accidently forgot to add lavender to one batch, and had to go back and mix it in, because we were chatting.  Oops!

Olive oil
Essential oil (Lavender)
1. Mix 2 cups sugar with 1 cup of olive oil. (Basically 2:1 ratio of sugar to oil)
2. Add in 5-7 drops of essential oil. (I used lavender). Pour into containers (small mason jars).
3. Seriously that is it! You are done!

It took us minutes to make the scrub, and then a lot longer to create fun tags. We printed off some Christmas carols and attached them to the tags. These sugar scrubs cost less then $2 a container including all of the supplies.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Baby Shower DIY Bow Station

I just realized I never posted any pictures from the amazing baby showers thrown by some great friends and family. One of my favorite things was this bow station. Basically, my guests all designed and created my little one bows from newborn to 1 year old. Baby A has already worn so many of them, and they are just absolutely precious!

The bow station was made from a picture frame with strings stretched across. Then different pieces of elastic lace and bands were pre-cut with tags per size. There are cheat sheets all over the internet for the band length. The elastic bands, flowers, and bows were clipped with mini paper clips to the strings on the picture frame.

Look at all these adorable selections for guests to choose from.

Each guest at the baby shower designed and created a headband or bow for the baby on the way. The hostesses had precut little pieces of felt to hot glue the flowers to the bands. (The felt backed the flowers. Layered it would be...flower, lace, felt circle).

Each guest tagged their creation with the size (ex. 3-6 months) and their name so I would know who created it.

And look at these cute decorations!!

And sweet cake with It's a Girl!

Here was the perfect brunch.

I was so excited to craft at my own baby shower. Here is how big baby A is already.

12 weeks old this week! I return to work on Monday. :(

Loving Netflix and Drunken Bananas

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Netflix for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.
Did that title get your attention? Ha! Ha! The bananas are drunken...not me. Just wait for the amazing recipe to follow. However, none of this would be possible without Netflix. I am a huge fan myself. I signed up for Netflix about 4 months ago while I was on bedrest during my pregnancy. I was bored, and I loved that I could stream movies and TV shows anytime I wanted. I am so happy with my subscription to Netflix, that we kept it. Last week we watched White House Down, and my husband and I have a wish list of what we want to watch next. With three kids, we never know when we will have time, so it is great to use Netflix at our convenience.       

Of course, the kids love it too. There are so many options of great kids movies that they love. Whether it is Jack Frost or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, there is always something new and exciting. With the holidays quickly approaching, our family movie time usually ramps up. A few weeks ago, I helped my boys make this fun concession stand out of two cardboard boxes for movie night. We made a little window, and used a sheet (page) protector as the "glass." We even made a slanted display inside the concession box, for them to put small dixie containers filled with candy. The boys made up movie tickets for our Netflix show, and we all took turns buying candy, popcorn, and refreshments from their stand. It was a great way for our family to spend time together! 

Honestly, I like having Netflix to myself to stream cooking shows live while I am in the kitchen. I just tried this Curtis Stone recipe for Drunken bananas, and it was so fun to make. 

1 pint vanilla ice cream,
1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground ginger
large pinch of ground cloves
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
2 medium bananas, peeled
1/4 cup golden rum
2 tbsp heavy whipping cream

To make the spiced ice cream: I. In a medium bowl, break up the ice cream with a spoon, then mix in the nutmeg, ginger, and cloves. Cover the ice cream frozen until ready to serve.

To cook the bananas: 1. In a 12 inch nonstick frying pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Stir in the brown sugar, lemon juice, and cinnamon. Slice the bananas in half lengthwise and lay the bananas, cut side own in the butter mixture. Cook for about 3 minutes or until the bananas are carmelized on the underside and the sugar mixture has melted and become golden brown.

2. Remove the pan from the heat. Add the rum. Using a long match, carefully ignite the rum. Be sure to do this in a well ventilated area and away from any flammable material. Allow the flame to burn out.

Turn the bananas over. Return the pan to medium heat and stir in the cream. Baste the bananas with the caramel sauce for about 1 minute.
3. Divide the bananas between two plates. Spoon some sauce over the bananas. Top each with a scoop of ice cream, and then drizzle the remaining sauce over and around the ice cream and bananas. Serve immediately. 

  Doesn't this look delicious!!  Don't forget to Like Netflix on Facebook
Visit Sponsor's Site

Thursday, November 7, 2013

The Candy Witch...Bye Bye Hallowen Candy!

Are you wondering what to do with all of your child's extra or leftover Halloween candy?? It was about four days before Halloween, and I was already dreading the bags of candy the kids would be bringing home. They had already received Halloween treats throughout the month at various parties, events, and at school. They would beg each day to eat a few pieces of candy and I would have to carefully limit them to what I deemed a reasonable amount. The thought of a new endless supply of candy treats was dreadful!
That is when I dreamed up Clarabella the Candy Witch. If I was going to make this idea a success, I knew I would have to give it some gusto. I wanted to negotiate with my kids to give up the majority of their candy. Here is the little story I wrote. My boys received it in the mailbox a few days after Halloween.
There once was born a little witch named Clarabella. Apparently, each witch is born, and gifted by the Great witch, with a unique gift or talent of their very own. Clarabella was born with the sweetest tooth of all. She loves candy with every ounce of her body and she is happiest when she is surrounded by treats of all kinds.

Clarabella loved candy so much that she built her entire house of candy. She has chocolate bars on her doors, licorice sticks on her window panes, and sour straws to tie her shower curtain up. Each piece of candy serves as an important part of her home.

However, each summer the chocolate on her home melts to candy puddles. The licorice becomes sticky from the rain and falls off her window panes, and the sour straws become loose and her shower curtain falls to the floor. Her candy home usually only lasts one year and then comes tumbling down.

Clarabella asks each year for help from little boys and girls just like you. She desperately needs your candy to help rebuild her home. The best part is Clarabella wants you to keep some candy for your very own. Fill a jar for you to keep, and mail the rest to her to keep. In exchange for your generous gift, she will mail back your box with a load full of little gifts.

Now that Halloween is over, and your treat bag is overflowing…Could you help Clarabella rebuild her home?

Please mail packages to:

Clarabella Witch

2202 Candy Expressway


Please wait 3-4 days to allow time for Clarabella to receive your package and return your box with new treasures.

Here is my post from last year. Clarabella is about to visit again!

My oldest (4 ) was already playing outside when I handed him the letter. He quickly asked me to read it. He had a puzzled expression on his face while I read it. I was thinking...oh no...maybe this is not going to work after all. When I stopped reading the story he looked at me and said, "Mom, do you think it will work?" I of course replied yes. Then he said, "I need a jar fast! I have to send her my candy!" He jumped off the toy he was playing on and ran inside.

I sighed with relief that it actually worked. He quickly filled up a box with the candy to send and kept a mason jar of candy for himself. Yes, the jar was cram packed with candy, but it was a LOT less then was in the cardboard box.

I "mailed" the box of candy off to the Candy Witch. The day after I "mailed" the box of candy they were already asking, "Now how many days until I receive presents back?" A few days later, my boys received their box full of treasures back. I used a bunch of garage sale finds, but you could easily go to the dollar store and pick a few fun things up.

My boys tore into that box like it was Christmas!

They were obviously excited with their new treasures.

There was definitely no regret in trading in their candy. They played with their new toys and read their new books all day.

Clarabella the Candy Witch will be coming again soon!! 
Here is another cute idea I saw about a Book Fairy by East Coast Mommy. Click here to check it out.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Chicken Ranch Pasta

I love finding new, simple, and delicious chicken recipes. This recipe to the dinner table takes about 20 minutes max! I found the recipe for Chicken Ranch Pasta on and adapted it to fit our families needs. I made it this week when we had some friends stop by to see our newest bundle of joy. She is 8 weeks old. I can't believe how time flies!
Our new house is coming along great. This week I hand textured all the bathrooms. It is such an easy DIY project and it saved me about $200 per bathroom. The only hard part these days is finding the time to get anything accomplished. I have a very long list of projects, a newborn, two boys, and 4 weeks until I return back to work. Yikes! Now for this easy recipe to feed my hungry crew.

16 oz pasta of your choice
2 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. flour
3 tbsp. dry ranch seasoning mix
3 cups milk
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1/3 cup chopped bacon (I used the packaged pre-cooked)
2-3 cups chicken
This make a full pan of pasta. If you have a smaller family just cut the ingredients in half. I fed 6-8 adults with 1-2 servings each.
1. Cook your pasta of choice, drain, toss, and set aside.
2. At the same time I melted the 2 tbsp. of butter. After the butter melts, add the flour, and stir for about 1 minute.
3. Slowly whisk in milk until the sauce begins to thicken.
4. Stir in ranch dressing dry mix and cheddar cheese until melted.
5. Add chicken, bacon, and toss with pasta.
6. Enjoy!!


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Book Character Pumpkin Decorating Contest

At my son's school they announced a contest to decorate a pumpkin like your favorite book character. What a fun literary project! He picked to decorate his pumpkin like Elmer the Elephant. We were very last minute, and completed it last night. It took an hour for the whole project. I searched pinterest and google and found tons of other great ideas. We picked a character we didn't see in hopes of not duplicating another child's pumpkin.
We dropped Elmer the pumpkin off in the library this morning. (The instructions to make him are at the bottom of this post). Let me share a few other characters we saw there...

The Gruffalo pumpkin

Mrs. Piggle Wiggle pumpkin

The Lorax pumpkin

Black Lagoon themed pumpkin


Lyle the Crocodile pumpkin and Frosty the Snowman

Pete the Cat pumpkin
And here are a few more ideas I found in my initial search to create a book character pumpkin. Many of the following were uploaded to Pinterest by Elanco Library.
Book Character Pumpkins  Skippyjon Jones

Skippy Jones pumpkin
Ladybug Girl - Book Character Pumpkin (Pumpkin Painting 2013)
Laydbug Girl pumpkin
Bob the Builder  - Book Character Pumpkin (Pumpkin Painting 2011)
Bob the Builder pumpkin
Olivia - Book Character Pumpkin (Pumpkin Painting 2013)
Olivia pumpkin
 Greg Heffley (Diary of a Wimpy Kid) - Book Character Pumpkin (Pumpkin Painting 2012)
Wimpy Kid pumpkin
Mr. Popper's Penguin - Book Character Pumpkin (Pumpkin Painting 2011)
Mr. Popper's Penguins pumpkin
Madeline - Book Character Pumpkin  (Pumpkin Painting 2010)
Madeline pumpkinTThomas the Tank Engine - Book Character Pumpkin  (Pumpkin Painting 2009)
Thomas the Train pumpkin
Mercer Mayer's Little Critter  - Book Character Pumpkin (Pumpkin Painting 2008)
Little Critter pumpkin
The Very Hungry Caterpillar  - Book Character Pumpkin (Pumpkin Painting 2008)
The Very Hungry Caterpillar pumpkin
Dora the Explorer  - Book Character Pumpkin (Pumpkin Painting 2008)
Dora pumpkin
Horton the Elephant  - Book Character Pumpkin (Pumpkin Painting 2007)
Horton pumpkin
Cat in the Hat - Book Character Pumpkin (Pumpkin Painting 2011)
Cat in the Hat pumpkin
Cheshire Cat (Alice in Wonderland) - Book Character Pumpkin (Pumpkin Painting 2013)
Alice in Wonderland pumpkin
Captain Underpants book character pumpkin. @Marianne Glass Glass Burchard Design Rios @Jennifer Milsaps L Milsaps L Do Lopez @Theresa Burger Burger Burger Burger Burt  @Gaby Saucedo Saucedo Saucedo Saucedo Garcia @Gina Gab Solórzano Gab Solórzano Gab Solórzano de Villiers Christopher Miranda  @Marni Farrant Farrant Farrant Farrant Ary Cute pumpkin for our character lol
Captain Underpants pumpkin
Charlotte's Web Book Character Pumpkin
Charlotte's Web pumpkin
Book character pumpkin
Bad Case of Stripes pumpkin
Halloween  book character pumpkins
The Grouchy Ladybug: pumpkin book characters
Grouchy Ladybug pumpkin
My son and I made this for pumpkin book character  contest.. Fly Guy!!
Fly Guy Pumpkin
Junie B. Jones Pumpkin!  What a fun whole school activity!  Pumpkin decorating contest with a lit. theme!  MUST share this with our librarian!!!!!
Junie B. Jones pumpkin
2nd Grade Shenanigans: Pumpkin Book Reports- AWESOME!
pumpkin decorating characters from books | Brilliant. I was so impressed that I had to share. Here’s a quick ...
Pigeon pumpkin
I hope this helps you design a pumpkin for your contest. I think it is such a clever idea. Here is how we made our Elmer the elephant pumpkin.
Modge podge
Colored paper (regular paper...not card stock or construction)
Paper towel holder
Googly eyes
1. We started by cutting a variety of different colored squares.
2. We heavily modge podged them to the pumpkin. My son was great at this part. (Such a last minute project that we used a toothbrush instead of a paint brush to modge podge!!)

3. Next, we modge podged a paper towel holder with squares. (See it drying on the Elmer's glue bottle)

4. We hot glued the ears, eyes, and trunk on Elmer. If you look closely I added a few small nails to make sure the trunk and ears stayed.

5. Here is my son's masterpiece!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...