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Monday, February 3, 2014

Valentine's Day Peanut Butter Blossoms



Happy Monday, friends!  How's everyone feeling after the Superbowl?  To be honest, there wasn't much partying going on in our house.  My younger daughter and I spent much of the day at her volleyball tournament, so by the time the big game started, we were pretty well wiped out.  We did manage to enjoy some time in front of the television as a family watching the game, and, more importantly, the commercials.  What was your favorite commercial?  Here's mine.




So, now that the big game is over, are you ready to think about Valentine's Day?  I don't know about you, but I don't do much decorating for Valentine's Day. By February, I've barely recovered from putting away the Christmas decor and the subsequent January organizing blitz.  The last thing I want to do is put out loads of seasonal decor that will only be displayed for a few weeks at most. Instead I focus on making the actual day special. This year, I'll plan to put together a cute table setting using things I gather from around the house. Something like this would be perfect. 





I'll also serve our traditional Valentine's Day heart shaped pizzas



This year I'm trying something different for an after dinner treat. Aren't these Valentine's Day peanut butter blossoms adorable?





I made the peanut butter blossoms using this basic recipe from the Hershey's website.  



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PEANUT BUTTER BLOSSOMS RECIPE


Ingredients

  • 48 HERSHEY'S KISSES Brand Milk Chocolates
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 3/4 cup REESE'S Creamy Peanut Butter
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Additional granulated sugar

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 375°F. Remove wrappers from chocolates.
  2. Beat shortening and peanut butter in large bowl until well blended. Add 1/3 cup granulated sugar and brown sugar; beat until fluffy. Add egg, milk and vanilla; beat well. Stir together flour, baking soda and salt; gradually beat into peanut butter mixture.
  3. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll in granulated sugar; place on ungreased cookie sheet.
  4. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Immediately press a chocolate into center of each cookie; cookie will crack around edges.  Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack.  Cool completely.
 Makes about 48 cookies.

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Once the cookies were completely cool, I made them more festive with the addition of white and pink tinted frosting and sprinkles. To keep things simple, I just used canned frosting.  This Betty Crocker vanilla frosting worked well for me.




I put the frosting in a plastic sandwich bag and snipped off a tiny corner. I then use the snipped corner as a sort of "frosting pen."  Starting at the base of each kiss, I spiraled a thin line of frosting around the kiss until I reached the top. To make the pink frosting, I just added a few drops of food coloring to the bag.  

Once the frosting was on, I immediately sprinkled the sprinkles on. You have to work fast and get the sprinkles before the frosting sets, or else they won't stick. 

Not only are these cookies cute and festive, but they are also delicious!  With February 14 being almost two weeks away, I'm not sure these will last until Valentine's Day. 



Linking to:
Savvy Southern StyleHome Stories A to Z, It's OverflowingBeneath My Heart, My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia,  Domestically SpeakingCoastal CharmCraftberry BushRemodelaholicBy Stephanie Lynn

Friday, January 31, 2014

Superbowl Sammies (Also Known As Italian Roast Beef Sandwiches)

Are you ready for some football?  To be honest, I'm not even sure who's playing in the big game, but I am excited to watch some clever commercials while I consume tons of yummy snack food.  If you are still trying to figure out what to serve at your Superbowl party, Italian roast beef sandwiches (recipe from makedinnereasy.com, a great meal planning website) are the perfect choice to satisfy a crowd of hungry football fans.


The best thing about these sandwiches is how little preparation they require.  You simply boil a few spices in some broth, pour the broth over your meat in a crock pot, let the meat slow cook all day, and then shred.  Here are the detailed instructions.
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Italian Roast Beef Sandwiches
(Prep time: 10 minutes, cooking time 8-10 hours)
2-3 pound beef bottom round or eye of round roast
1 (32 ounce) box of beef broth
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 (.70 ounce) package Italian salad dressing mix
Place beef roast in a slow cooker, fat side up. Pour broth into a medium saucepan and add all other ingredients. Stir well and bring to a boil. Pour broth mixture over the roast. Cover and cook on high 8-10 hours. If possible, turn roast over after 5-6 hours. Prior to serving, flip roast over again and scrape off any visible fat. Remove the roast from the slow cooker and using two forks shred the roast. Return the beef back to the broth in the slow cooker and allow to cook a bit longer. Serve on hard rolls.
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I have made these sandwiches many times, and they always turn out great.  Occasionally, the meat seems tough when I try to shred it.  I'm not sure why, but once it's shredded, returned to the broth, and cooked a bit longer, the beef is perfect.  These Superbowl sandwiches are super juicy, so be sure to serve them on really hard rolls.  Provolone cheese compliments the Italian flavor well.
Now that you've figured out what you're going to serve during the Superbowl, let's take a break and enjoy a few Superbowl commercial previews.  These are two of my favorites.





Enjoy the big game!  Let's meet back here next week to chat about our favorite Superbowl moments.

Linking to:
Savvy Southern StyleHome Stories A to Z, It's OverflowingBeneath My Heart, My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia,  Domestically SpeakingCoastal CharmCraftberry BushRemodelaholicBy Stephanie Lynn

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Using Duct Tape to Jazz Up a Boring Door

Sometimes, instead of doing a big project or a messy craft, I just want to do something quick and easy to add a little something extra to my home decor.  With the help of a $1 roll of duct tape, I was able to add an unexpected pop of color and pattern to my daughter's room in less than five minutes.  How's that for instant gratification?

It all started when I saw this roll of 1-3/8" duct tape on clearance at Target.

The width of the tape was nearly exactly the same as the depth of the doors in our house.  I thought the fun pattern would look great running along the side of my daughter's bedroom door.

I started at the top of the door, and ran the tape down the entire length.  When I got to the portion of the door with the knob hardware, I just taped right over the hardware, and then used and X-Acto knife to trim away the tape.

The pattern provides a fun surprised every time the door is opened.  When the door is closed, the tape can't be seen at all...

...but when someone opens it, the unexpected pop of color is revealed.

I just love an inexpensive, instant gratification project, especially one that doesn't cost much.  What's your favorite quick and easy way to add a little personality to your home?


Linking to:Savvy Southern StyleHome Stories A to Z, It's OverflowingBeneath My Heart, My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia,  Domestically SpeakingCoastal CharmCraftberry BushRemodelaholicBy Stephanie Lynn

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Cleaning Mold in Tile Grout


There is nothing pretty about this post.  No eye-candy, no jaw-dropping before-and-after photos.  Just the reality of a bathroom being used by two teenage girls.  For those of you who have teen and preteen girls, you know what I'm talking about.  Not only does it get messy, but sometimes it gets downright gross!  Such is the case with my daughters' shower.  I recently found a small spot of mold in it that, as hard as I tried, I just couldn't scrub away.  Fast forward about two months, and that one small spot had turned into this:

Despite the fact that I regularly clean the tub and shower, and even have everything professionally cleaned every other week, these little moldy lines made their way the whole way around the tub.  My search for a solution lead me to this post from Modern Day Moms (MDM).  I modified MDM's instructions to utilize what I had on hand, which happened to be bleach and sponges.


After changing into some old clothing and rubber gloves, I cut my sponges into strips and soaked them in a disposable pan (MDM advises us to avoid using plastic) filled with bleach.  I then placed the bleach soaked strips all along the offending area (basically the whole tub) and let them sit for about two hours.

When I removed the sponges, I had this:

The mold was completely gone!  Not bad for two minutes worth of work.  I finished by rinsing off the bleach and then drying the area.

I'm hoping to stay on top of our mold issues in the future, but if it somehow gets ahead of me, I'll know just what to do.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

How to Make a Printable in PicMonkey

Hello, friends, and happy new year!  Is January 13th too late to be wishing people a happy new year? I don't think so, especially since I just took the last of my Christmas decorations down yesterday.

I'm really excited about the new year.  I'm finally starting to feel settled in my new home and I'm itching to take on a few projects that will make it uniquely ours.  I've already completed one small project that I'm very excited to share with you, and the best thing about it is it didn't take much time or effort.  Check out these adorable printables that I made in PicMonkey.

Please note that the actual colors of the items in the photo are gray and coral.  It was ridiculously difficult to get a photo with accurate color in this windowless bathroom.

I had seen the "wash your hands and say your prayers" saying online, and I thought my teenage daughter would appreciate it.  Since she had a large expanse of empty wall that needed to be filled in her bathroom, I thought breaking the saying up into two printables would work out well.  Here's a step-by-step tutorial to show you how I did it.

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CREATING AN 11"x14" PRINTABLE IN PICMONKEY

1.  If you already have a background you like saved as an image on your computer, you are good to go on to step 2.  I didn't have a background image, so I visited Mel at Mel Stampz and got this nice 12"x12" gray chevron.  Thanks Mel!



2.  Using the PicMonkey Photo Editor, open your background.  Within the basic edit options, you will see the crop option.  Crop your background to the size of your desired finished project.  I wanted my printable to be 11"x14" so that I could mat it and place it in a 16"x20" frame.  My goal was to fill the wall space without the prints being being obnoxiously large.



3. Next, you'll go over to the overlays option (that's the butterfly icon) and select a rectangular overlay from the geometric category.  This will be the border around the background that your text sits on (in my prints, it is gray in color).


Rotate and resize the rectangle to your desired size, and then choose your desired color.



4.  Add an additional rectangle following the instructions in step 3, except this time make your rectangle slightly smaller and choose the color that you want your text sitting on.  In my example, this rectangle is coral.




5.  Now it's time to add your text.  I chose the Marcelle Script font because I like the broken up, chalky look.



You can see that the size of my text was 298.  Yours may vary based on the size of your rectangle, the saying you choose, and the type of text you choose.


6.  Once everything is the way you want it, save your masterpiece.  Mine looked like this when I saved it.



7.  If you decide to make a second print like I did, make things easy on yourself.   Don't exit your first project and start from scratch.  Stay on your completed project, select the text you've already typed and type your next saying over it.  Not only will you save a ton of time, you will also ensure that the designs and text on both prints are consistent and will line up nicely when hung on the wall.  save your second project under a different name when you are finished.  Here's my second print.



8.  Now it's time to print your images using the photo printing outlet of your choice.  I chose to use Snapfish.  Each 11"x14" image cost $6.99 to print.  If I were a patient person, I would have elected to have the prints shipped to me, and I would have been eligible to use a coupon that would have made the second print practically free.  Since I am not a patient person, I opted to use Snapfish to send the prints to Walmart for same-day printing.  I was thrilled with the result!

Although it doesn't appear so in my photos, the printed colors are nearly identical to those displayed on my computer screen.

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The 16"x20" frames were $19.99 each at Hobby Lobby, but I used 40% off coupons and got them for $12.  The mats were $4.99.  Since the prints were $6.99, the total cost of each print was less than $24.  When you consider the fact that these are custom prints that no one else in the neighborhood will have, and how much wall space they are covering, it's really a great deal.  

When you consider all the free backgrounds and clip art that are available on line, there is no end to the number of customized creations that can be made to suit your specific space.  Have you ever made a printable of your own?  Leave me the link in the comments - I would love to see your custom creation.  



Linking to:
Savvy Southern StyleHome Stories A to Z, It's OverflowingBeneath My Heart, My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia,  Domestically SpeakingCoastal Charm, Craftberry Bush, Remodelaholic, By Stephanie Lynn

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

It's Fall, Y'all! (Decorating the House for Autumn)

If you follow any blogs at all, you know it's been autumn in Blogland for about six weeks now.  Unfortunately, the fall décor is just starting to make it's way out of the boxes at our house.  Our family relocated this past summer, and this move has really kicked my boo-tay.  Seasonal decorating has been low on the priority list.  This past week I finally managed to carve out a few free hours to shop for mums, pumpkins and other décor to add a festive fall feel to our new home.  Would you like a little tour?  Let's start with the front porch...

In my last post, I told you how I made the front door arrangements.  I arranged some large pumpkins and craft store leaves in the urns that sit on the front porch year round. 
 
 

 
I have two little sitting areas on my front porch.  I added a festive lantern to each one.  I added some autumn floral picks to the top of each lantern, and filled them with seasonal items such as pine cones and faux mini pumpkins and gourds. 
 
 

 
 

 On the side of the house at the end of the driveway, I've created this little pumpkin patch display.
 
You may remember that I used this wreath on the front door of the old house.  I couldn't use it on the front of our current house because I have two doors in front.  Luckily, I found the perfect spot for it here at the end of the driveway.


Moving into the house, I added a seasonal touch to the fillable lamp (yes, the lamp I got at Big Lots) in the entryway with some shimmery pumpkins and gourds from the craft store.  The faux artichokes are in there year round.

 
Come a little further into the house, and this sparkley guy from Home Goods is resting against a column in the hallway. 
 
My living room mantel is minimally decorated with ceramic pumpkins and gourds.  The large pumpkins on each end were purchased last year at Hobby Lobby.  The small items were purchased years ago for just 99 cents at Old Time Pottery.

 
I don't have much in the kitchen/family room areas, since their spicy color palette lends itself to the season.  I just have this centerpiece, purchased many years ago at Sam's Club, on the kitchen island...

and these dried arrangements from Hobby Lobby on the family room fireplace mantel.
  
 
Of course, I had to bring out my Halloween chandelier magnets.  They always make me and my kids smile.


That's all I've got on the inside of the house for the time being.  Perhaps if I manage to dig myself out from under all the moving boxes before Thanksgiving, I'll add some more.  I did, however, manage to create a seasonal feel on the back patio.
 
A centerpiece of burlap wrapped candles and a mix of faux and real mini pumpkins graces the outdoor coffee table. 
 
This black console was dressed for the season with a few rustic candle holders from Marshalls and a ceramic bowl (from Pier One) full of filler inspired by nature.  The large basket that holds beach towels in the summer is now filled with warm comfy throws.



There you have my autumn home tour.  I'm so glad you stopped by!  For even more fall decorating inspiration, click here to see my fall home tour from last year.