Monday, December 9, 2013

Recycled Glass Jar Advent Calendar

I have so much to share with you today PLUS a giveaway for $155 Amazon Gift Card.  So be sure to stick around all the way until the end to find the entries for your chances to win!

So let's get to my Silhouette project, first! 

I have this obsession for collecting empty jars from spaghetti sauce, sauerkraut, salsa, you name it!  Not often, but every once in a while, I come up with a use for these jars collecting in the bottom of my craft closet.  I used silver spray paint to give all of my clear jars a coat of color and left my perrier sparkling water bottles green.

Once dry, I simply cut out different sized numbers out of Silhouette Vinyl with my "magical machine" to turn ordinary glass jars into an Advent Calendar!

Each day, the kiddos are so excited to find what I was able to tuck inside each jar. My little monsters are still young (three and a half & one and a half) so I basically just replaced one of their special "snacks" they may receive during the day and plopped it into a jar.  I'm not against candy, but even one piece of candy for the next 25 days adds up...

Some ideas for Advent treats to stuff inside (that's not chocolate):
  • Mini Raisin Boxes
  • Granola Bars
  • Baby Food Pouches
  • Fruit Snacks
  • Yogurt Covered Dried Fruit Snacks
  • Clif Kid Fruit Rope
  • Annie's Bunny Graham Friends
  • or any other single-serve snack!
For the days that are "flower vases" I like to do a larger surprise that I keep on hand like a oatmeal raisin cookie or let them have their favorite lunch.

So far, it has been a lot of fun and definitely a statement piece in our kitchen that makes me smile because I finally found a unique use for my recycled jars!

If you're looking for more creative Silhouette projects (and I know that you are!), check out these amazing ideas below in this beautiful collage for your convenience.  Be sure to leave them some comment love and have fun discovering some new (to you) blogs!

  1. 2013 Snowman Christmas Card by Please Excuse My Craftermath...
  2. Christmas Hoop Art by Lil' Mrs. Tori
  3. Silhouette Nativity Advent Candle Box by One Tough Mother
  4. Christmas Party Photo Booth Props by unOriginal Mom
  5. Another Stenciled Tea Towel by Cutesy Crafts
  6. Silhouette Gift Tags by Rain on a Tin Roof
  7. Snowflake Pin / Ornament by Coley's Corner
  8. State Sign Couple Gift by It Happens in a Blink
  9. Mason Jar Christmas Ornaments by Vintage News Junkie
  10. Merry Christmas Wall Decor by One Artsy Mama
  11. Deer Head Holiday Banner...featuring Santa's Reindeer by The Thinking Closet
  12. Restore your UGGS (with PAINT) by From Wine to Whine
  13. Monogrammed Snowflake Ornaments by Architecture of a Mom
  14. Christmas Countdown Sign by The Girl Creative
  15. Elf Chalk Sign: "The Best Way to Spread Christmas" by Weekend Craft
  16. Glittery Christmas Subway Art by The Turquoise Home
  17. Sketch Pen Labels by Sowdering About in Seattle
  18. Snowflake NOEL Sign by My Favorite Finds
  19. DIY Holiday Hostess Gift by Everyday Paper
  20. Folding Nativity Backdrop by Chicken Scratch NY
  21. Recycled Glass Jar Advent Calendar by Nearly Handmade
  22. Reindeer Card: Double-Sided Print & Cut by GetSilvered
  23. Personalized Block Ornament by Suburble
  24. Paper Medallion Christmas Tree by Create & Babble
  25. Mini Mid-Century Homes by Tried & True
  26. Glitter and Vinyl Minecraft Christmas Ornament by A Tossed Salad Life
  27. DIY Countdown to Christmas Refrigerator Style by My Paper Craze
  28. Reversible Recipe Holder/Block Frame by The Sensory Emporium
  29. DIY: Lettered Christmas Pillows by The House on Hillbrook
  30. Simply Charming Christmas Ornaments by Life After Laundry
  31. No Glitter was Worn by GiveMeAPaintbrush
  32. Make Easy Ornaments from Paper Circles by Bringing Creativity to Life
  33. Cutting Machine Embroidery Applique by Terri Johnson Creates
  34. "Believe" Christmas Banner by Daily Dwelling
  35. DIY Christmas Nativity Card by Pitter and Glink
Looking for Silhouette inspiration, support, trouble-shooting? Interested in joining us for our group posting event next month? Then, we'd love to have you join our Silhouette Challenge Facebook group. To join, simply fill out the new member request form, and Lauren from The Thinking Closet will get you squared away.

Are you still with me after all of that information? I sure hope so because we have a great giveaway for you!  Starting today, December 9th, until December 16th, we are hosting a giveaway for a $155 Amazon Gift Card!  Yup!  $155 that you could spend toward a Silhouette machine of your very own or even some fancy new supplies.  Just in time for Santa to deliver a little special something... just for you!

A few details:
  • Giveaway runs from Monday, December 9th until Monday, December 16th at 11:59pm EST.
  • You must be 18 years or older to enter and this giveaway IS international so everyone can play along!
  • You have 31 possible entries so if you complete all of them, so that's a lot of potential winning power!
  • The winner will be contacted by Lauren from The Thinking Closet by email and you will have 48 hour to respond.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good Luck and have a wonderful week!


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Home Address Number Growth Chart with Paint Chips

On Monday, I showed you the new Time Zone Bathroom Art but there was another project lurking in the corner that you weren't able to see from the photos.  I'm sure everyone has seen a billion growth charts all over Pinterest.  Well, our kiddo's bathroom wouldn't be complete without one!  Before ripping out the vinyl flooring and replacing it with tile, and before we painted the walls, we simply just marked right on the wall the kid's growth progress.  It was a fine temporary solution, but we don't plan on living here forever, so I wanted something we would be able to take with us easily.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Silhouette Challenge: Time Zone Bathroom Art

First, I'd like to take a minute to thank all of the Veterans who protect our family and our Nation on this Veteran's Day.

So, it's been a really long time since I've mentioned the kid's bathroom.  We have been busy dragging our feet putting the finishing touches on everything.  That's real life.  It happens, and it's amazing.  Unless, of course, you were holding your breath waiting for this bathroom art that I just finished for the kid's bathroom.

I decided I wanted to use clocks somehow.  I found these inexpensive clocks at Target for just $6.99 each.  From there, I was stuck for a couple days trying to figure out what else this bathroom needed.  I liked the idea of keeping it less rubber ducky or under the sea theme and more educational.  Which, realistically, I doubt the kids would ever even notice the walls anyway.  That's real life, too!

After a little searching around, I couldn't believe I came across (and didn't already know!) about a cute blog called Dream A Little Bigger.  It was there, that I found a ton of hard work already done for me (and you!)  Allison already traced out all 50 states for our Silhouette-ing pleasure!  I couldn't have been more thankful to have found this gem!  You can get them all here!

I had to resize them all a bit to fit into a better scale with the rest of the states.  This took way longer than I would have ever expected, but it was so worth it!

Of course, so many states fall into weird half-in-half-out of time zones.  I didn't stress about it too much.  I typically just moved the whole state into the time zone that most of it fell into.  It definitely wasn't as messy of divides as I expected.

I used craft paper from Jo-Ann's to cut out the shapes using my Silhouette Machine.  I then, Mod Podged it all onto painted scrap wood I found in our lumber pile.

The strip of wood below the states is also a scrap I was able to paint.  I tricked my husband into hanging it for me.  He simply drilled it into all of the studs on the wall and I was able to go back and fill in the holes with wood putty, sand, and re-paint.  The hooks are from Home Depot and I tricked my husband into centering them up under each board.  I'm a firm believer wisher that the kids will be able to hang up their own towels soon.  We even hung them lower than usual to accommodate the little ones in our lives.

This is the first month I've had the privilege of participating in the Silhouette Challenge!  I couldn't be more excited to be apart of this wonderfully creative group of ladies!  If you're interested in joining, we'd love to have you!!  Simply fill out the new member request form, and Lauren from The Thinking Closet will get you squared away!

If you're looking for more creative Silhouette projects (and I know that you are!), check out these amazing ideas below!  Be sure to leave them some comment love and have fun discovering some new (to you) blogs!


DIY Ironing Board Hanger by The Turquoise Home
Santa's Christmas Countdown by Tried & True
Nautical Anchor Pillow Tutorial by The Thinking Closet
Thanksgiving and Christmas Dual Sign by Architecture of a Mom
Itching to Etch by Get Silvered
Thanksgiving Sign by Chicken Scratch NY
DIY Horse Silhouette Pillow by Rain on a Tin Roof
Sketching on Fabric by The Sensory Emporium
Paper Leaf Garland by Lil' Mrs. Tori
Christmas Pillow by Create & Babble
Chalkboard Thankful Tree by Cutesy Crafts
Bottoms Up! MYO Wine Tag by From Wine to Whine
'Happy Holly-days' Tags for the Swap by An Elegant Touch...
Thank You for Dinner (Card) by Everyday Paper
Advent Star Christmas Countdown by My Favorite Finds
Geometric Fabric Bowls by Please Excuse My Craftermath...
Paper Carnival by Home At Eight
In Case of Emergency Baby Bag Tags by Tossed Salad Life
Christmas On My Mind by Creative Turn
Jingle all the Way! by My Paper Craze
Christmas Lights Garland by Making Home Base
We Are Thankful by 4 You With Love
Seattle Skyline Silhouette by Sowdering About in Seattle
DIY Stenciled Mugs by Coley's Corner

Additionally, I linked up to these great parties:

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Saving Money on Eye Ware & Contacts

I went to the eye doctor yesterday and if there's one thing I've learned (or learned from my parents) it's that typically if you buy your glasses or contacts directly from your doctor, you will pay so much more than necessary. With the wonderful world wide web, it's super easy to find a great deal now.  All you have to do, is ask your eye doctor for a print out of your prescription.  In the past, I felt like my doctor would give an extra push to buy glasses and contacts from him.  Today, it went so well.  So, give it a try next time you're ready to order new eye ware.  It's not as scary as you might think!
So, where did I find my deals today?  My first was from Coastal.  With this site, you're able to get your first pair of glasses for "free"!  Now, nothing in life is ever really free, so of course you'll need to pay shipping, handling, & insurance.  But, $15.20 for a pair of prescription glasses is a great deal!

Monday, October 21, 2013

We Finished Another Marathon!

Hi everybody! I hope you had a wonderful weekend!  Bryan and I ran in our third Columbus Marathon on Sunday and believe it or not, we had a great time.  It wasn't always easy... and I hit several walls... But the best part about running with someone you love (and someone who loves you), is they keep you going.

When we ran our first marathon back in 2006, one thing that we didn't realize was that something that can help is outside motivation from fellow runners.  In order to get the attention, it can be so much fun to have a clever shirt.  Everybody likes to have something to read that makes them chuckle when they're twenty-something miles into a race.  So, we came up with these saying to put on the back of our shirts this year.  We weren't sure what the responses would be, but you wouldn't believe how many women AND men cheered us along.  It was really sweet to hear some quick stories about their spouses and their running careers together and apart.  We know we're incredibly lucky to have found each other  and we're able to share this passion together.

You can read a little bit about our first and second marathon (and a little love story) here!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

No Sew Popcorn Costume for Baby

Update:  Voting is now open at Create Craft Love!!  So do me a favor, head on over HERE & vote for this adorable Baby Bag of Popcorn!  Lucky #47!  I'd love you for ever!

I'm not much of a seamstress (yet).  Which is why I love felt so, so much.  You can cut it and it won't fray, you can hot glue it, and it'll stay for (almost) ever!

I threw together this halloween costume for my little man in about 15 minutes.   The most annoying part of the whole process was waiting for my hot glue gun to get hot enough!  The entire thing is made from felt except for two pieces of ribbon that I looped through slits I cut in the felt which I used to tie onto the baby carrier.

I bought the felt by the yard at Jo-Ann's and was able to use a single sheet of white to wrap around the front of me & the baby carrier.  I then cut (imperfect) straight strips in red.  This is a 15 minute project, no yard sticks required for straight lines!  Nobody will notice, anyway!  I finished it all off with a little label that just says "Popcorn".  Just incase anybody gets confused ;)

I used this costume last year and it's going to be hard to resist shoving my little man back into that carrier for this Begger's Night... Oh wait, his 30 pounds of heft should deter me from that, thankfully!

Have you started on Halloween costumes for your munchkins yet this year?  I am tossing around so many different ideas for my two gremlins.  I just need to decide soon and get a move on!


P.S.  I entered this costume in a contest over at Crazy Little Projects!  You should go check out all of the other wonderful ideas if you're looking for more inspiration.  

I linked up to these fabulous parties:  

                                                                    A Glimpse Inside

Crafty Bats

I explained yesterday that I am all about super quick crafts these days.  Well, this one was probably more cheating than the banner I threw together.  But I can't resist sharing this because these bats are just too cute!

You can find the outlines for the bats here!
I used the smallest bats at one corner and progressively had them grow larger by the last window.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

An Explanation & a Simple Thankful Banner

Maybe it's the days that are getting shorter that is truly sucking the time out of my days.  I have never felt stretched as thin as I have in the last couple of weeks.  Hence, the lack of posts.  Gosh... I'm sorry.  Really.  I've let you down.

I really have been working on projects here and there... although, all of them are only half done.  The kid's bathroom is still a work in progress.  Although, they are both finally back in there and out of our tub!  Small victories!

The husband and I are still "training" for the Columbus marathon this upcoming Sunday.  We are both struggling with crazy knee injuries.  In other words, we're getting old... we've had too many kids... and there's just not enough time in the day!  This marathon is not going to be a pretty performance.  But we're okay with that.  I'm just so happy that we'll be out there (miserable) together.

The days are not only getting shorter, but they're getting colder too.  So any days that are nice enough to be outside when shoes are optional, we try to be out there!  We've been spending a lot of time out on the swing set.  And we also found some time to pick a bunch of apples.  Now, to find time to make some pie filling before those apples spoil!  Yes, it's on my to-do list.

I've only had time for ridiculously simple projects lately, but I feel like banners are the best way to pack a punch!  My mom gave me a stack of letters that were already cut out of amazing craft paper but just needed to be hung up.  Here's my mom's banner in her home:

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Silly, Spooky, Simple Spiders!

I am a huge fan of fast and easy crafts that I can start and finish in a nap time... maybe two.  This silly project was not only fast, but super inexpensive!

All of the supplies... minus the spray paint & hot glue, were found at Dollar Tree!  
Here's what you'll need to pick up:
  • 3 foam "carvable" pumpkins
  • 24 pipe cleaners
  • 1 bag of Googlie Eyes
Yup, that's it!  5 bucks!

Not a complicated project here!  Spray paint your pumpkins, hot glue a bunch of eyes (I used almost an entire pack on these 3 pumpkins).  Then, arrange 8 pipe cleaners per pumpkin however you want!

These pumpkins were literally cracking me up while I was making them.  I bought these pumpkins planning on making some sort of "topiary" with the three pumpkins stacked on each other.  I'm sure that would have been cute, too... but I couldn't resist this somewhat spooky, silly, simple spiders!

So there you have it!  What have you been working on lately?


I linked up to these fabulous parties: 

Dream a Little Bigger

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Rustic Fall Wreath

Hello! And Happy October!  Today I'm sharing my Fall Wreath I recently put up.  It seems like time is just flying by and we've been super busy around here!  I'm looking forward to posting more often the next several weeks!

This is probably the most "traditional" fall wreath I have ever had on my door.  I have to say, I'm kinda loving the muted fall colors, though.  I like being able to buy stems of flowers and cutting them down keeping enough stem to tuck into the grapevine wreath.  That means, there was no glueing required at all!  Even the bow is just held on with a twist tie! 

Maple LeavesGrapevine WreathRaspberry StemGreen Ribbon, Hydrangeas
This is the first time I've used a "messy" grapevine wreath, too!  It definitely gave the illusion of a much fuller wreath.

If you're in the midwest, I hope you're enjoying this amazing fall weather!  How's the Fall so far where you are?


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

2013 Fall Mantles

I have not one fall mantle, but two for you today!  Although one is basically how I like to decorate a mantle that has a giant TV hung above it leaving just a few inches on either side to add a touch of fall.

I was so inspired by Ella Claire's Autumn Sign that I knew I wanted to make that the center of my Fall mantle in the kitchen.  It seems perfect for our area since Lynd Fruit Farm is practically just around the corner and all of those things couldn't scream Fall more than that!

Besides the DIY Chalkboard, my favorite part of this mantle is the giant burlap leaves.  I found this garland at Hobby Lobby and when I saw it, I so badly wanted to make it myself.  This could definitely be a do it yourself kinda garland, but I was realistic and knew that by the time I got around to making it, there would be snow flying.

I struggled figuring out how I would hang the garland but finally realized that I need to find my stocking holders from Christmas time!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Free Printable: Autumn's Smile

Happy Friday! I made this free printable for my lovely readers (that's you!)  I've always loved this quote and it couldn't be more true.

You can get this free printable HERE!

Now that you have this printable, what are you going to do with it?  The go-to is to just frame it.  But something I like to do with some printables is to resize it to a piece of scrap wood that I have laying around.  Then, you can mod podge it on to the wood.  Bonus points if you take the time to paint it a pretty color first.  This piece of wood is 7x7.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Autumn Cinnamon Apple French Toast

This might be the wrong thing to say to everybody.  But, I'm just not all that into "pumpkin".  It's everywhere you turn right now.  You just can't escape it!  If you're a pumpkin fanatic like (everyone) else, this is the best time of year!  But, I have a secret to share with you.  Pumpkin isn't the only fall flavor out there!  Say what?!  Yup... it's true.  Turns out, apple & cinnamon seems to be widely overlooked in the last couple of years (largely due to this pumpkin craze, I'd imagine).

Monday, September 16, 2013

DIY Emergency Car Kit

September is National Emergency Preparedness Month.  It's a great time to make sure you have enough extra water in your home, fresh batteries on hand for all of your flashlights, a battery operated weather radio with am/fm capabilities, as well as plenty of non-perishable food.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Friday Find: Mint Chocolate

If you know me at all, you know that I have a problem.  It's an addiction, really.  I can't get enough of mint & chocolate together!  It's just so good!  Below are some of my all time favorite Mint & Chocolate combinations!  Feel free to send large amounts of any of these to my door step.  If you're sending any of the ice cream or coffee though, ring the door bell so they don't melt/get cold. ;)

I found some amazing recipes that I am so eager to try and I wanted to share with you, too!  Thin Mint Brownies.  I am nervous make these because I may never make "regular" brownies ever again.  And that would be a-okay with me!  But possibly not the rest of my family.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Talking About September 11th with Kids [Free Printable]

It's bizarre to think about September 11th happening 12 years ago.  To almost all of us, the day seems like just yesterday with vivid memories of where we were and how we remember things happening.  For me, I was still in high school.  My kids will never have to understand the weight of that day first hand.  I will never understand the magnitude of Pearl Harbor but it is so important to learn about it and appreciate the sacrifices that were made that day as much as September 11th.  Okay, so what am I trying to say?  It's up to us to teach the next generation about September 11th and the attacks on our country.

Obviously, you can't have a full history lesson about that day with a three year old... but you have to start somewhere.  So, I felt it was important to talk about what happened just briefly with our little girl.  I made her a coloring page to keep her entertained while I talked.

Did you share your September 11th story this year?  I'm very thankful for all the men and women serving this wonderful country and praying for all those still suffering from the loss of those on September 11th.


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Quick Fix for Scratched Wood Furniture

So our living room coffee table is only a couple years old.  We still love the look and design, but something started to happen to it about a year ago.  It started getting these really ugly spots where the finish was coming off on the top.  Some of us believe this is from not using coasters.  Others believe it's from just normal wear and tear (and having two kids!) The table still looked great from a distance but once you got up close you could see all of these terrible spots:

Just recently while I was at Lowe's, I came across the Homex wood stain markers.  I found it next to the wood putty!  I knew these existed but I just wasn't sure it would solve our problem.  I was also hesitant that I would be able to find a color to match our table.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

So Many Scattered Projects

Are you the type of person who is able (and loves) to read about a half a dozen novels all at the same time?  You might read one while you're eating breakfast and another before you fall asleep at night.  Well, I'm not that type of person.  It makes me feel scattered and spread too thin.

I have that feeling though right now but it's because of too many projects around the house!  Let me tell you about a few.

You may remember me telling you about the kid's bathroom?  Well, we worked on baseboards... We got those painted, nailed to the walls, covered the nail holes, sanded, & painted them again.  We also painted the ceiling in there as well as the walls themselves.  (I just did the second coat of paint on the walls yesterday!)

Seems like things are moving along but just taking forever!  I still need to pick out new faucets that won't break the bank, towel & toilet paper rods, we need to figure out the lighting situation, put up a new exhaust fan & switches, plus, I'd like to re-do the vanity... It'll get done eventually.

On top of working in the kid's bathroom, we also decided it was a great time to cut down 8 more of our trees.  Yes, they're dead... Yes, we're planting new ones as fast as we possibly can.  In fact, we have two sitting in pots that are dying to get planted.

Here's where we took out 8 trees:

Unfortunately, I didn't take a before picture because we were running on limited time and needed to get right to work.  But, I did dig up a picture from this blog post to give you somewhat of an idea of how dead these trees really were!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Friday Find: How to Fold a Fitted Sheet

This may have been the greatest thing I have ever seen.  It takes me longer than 30 seconds to wad my fitted sheet up into a wrinkly, large mess.  This guy uses some sort of witch craft, I'm sure, but he give us all something to aspire to.  Am I right?  

Well, I hope you are all running off to re-fold your fitted sheets.  Get it done now so the rest of your weekend will be super peaceful knowing your sheets are nice and tidy.  OR!  Just keep that linen closet closed and enjoy your weekend anyway!


Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Free BonFire Starters

I shared this photo collage below on Monday and I really want to focus in on the top left pic for a moment, here.  Okay, now that you're done drooling, look past the s'more and check out that nice fire burning.  It's not built in our fire pit because we are dealing with some terrible fungus in our yard and apparently the best way to remove it is to burn it out.  Sounds like a great opportunity to have a little campfire and make some goodies!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Kid's Bathroom Tile Renovation Details

So I've given you a couple sneak peaks of what we've been working on, but I wanted to back up a few steps and show you exactly what we've been dealing with.

Without further ado, I present to you our bathroom before, untouched:

The floor is (was!) a vinyl linoleum which is a fine option for some folks and can truly look good if you pick the right color, quality, etc.  Unfortunately, this linoleum was making us cringe every time we walked into this bathroom.  There were several spots that were peeling up plus, the pattern and color was just not our thing.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Labor Day Weekend

Hope everyone is enjoying their long weekend.  I decided to just pop by to show you a few of our highlights (that DON'T include housework)!  Although, I can't lie... we're definitely still over here with paint brushes, spackle, and sandpaper in hand!

I'll be back tomorrow with more tiling details from the kid's bathroom!!  Looking forward to seeing you here soon!


Friday, August 30, 2013

Friday Find: Kid's Bathroom Ideas

I left you last time with the sneak peak of what has been consuming our time the last two days.  Well, I'm happy to report that we are done tiling and grouting.  Unfortunately, the really "fun stuff" is yet to come.  You know, putting baseboards back up, painting the walls, changing out the exhaust fan, lights, faucets....

Martha Stewart suggested sewing a loop of ribbon to a towel to help kids hang them up.  This could be a great idea for the long wall in our bathroom?!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Sneak Peak: Tile Job

I promised a sneak peak of what has been keeping us so busy the last two days (while my mom is hanging out with the kiddos! You are the best, Gigi!)

Running a half marathon today (to train for the full marathon in October!):

Power tools & a way to stay "hydrated":

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Crock Pot Cooking on Vacation

When we're on vacation, one of the biggest aspects for us is finding great local places to eat.  However, when you add two kids to the mix, sometimes a simple dinner out can be exhausting.  Getting everyone back to the hotel room at a reasonable time, showered, dressed, then just sitting through the average wait time to get into a restaurant as well as just waiting to get food to get to the table.

Our solution isn't the most popular with many families that are on vacation (because, hello!?  Don't I cook enough at home?)

Well, when we were packing for our vacation, we tossed our trusty crock pot in the car.  Back when we were just a family of three, we spent nearly 6 months together in a hotel room in Oklahoma (Air Force training) so we got pretty creative with a crock pot!

Our favorite crock pot meal that is super easy for a hotel is our "Chipotle Chicken Meal":

Another family favorite that we ate on another night of our vacation is our Easiest Ever Beef Sandwiches.  We ate this all too easy meal after dragging ourselves back to the hotel after 8 hours in the great outdoors visiting Cumberland Island.  It was so nice to come "home" to a hot and ready meal instead of having to drag everyone back out to look for food.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Amelia & Cumberland Island Vacation

I mentioned last week how we had just gotten home from a family vacation .  Well, let me explain how we ended up on Amelia Island, first...

We had been planning a vacation with our very good friends for a while.  Since he is also in the Air Force, it was kind of a long shot to get all of our schedules to line up.  Well, it looked like everything was a go! So we were going to all meet in Charleston at his parent's home.  Shortly before the trip, they found out they would be going to England (thanks, Air Force!) So, Bryan and I scrambled to come up with an alternate vacation plan for just the four of us.  In order to save money, I was looking at any military base on the East coast that we could stay.  I found one called King's Bay which is a Naval Submarine Base.  I knew nothing of the area or what was around it but I knew a beach was close and that was really all we needed.  Then, I found a Hampton Inn for $5 more a night which would provide a free hot breakfast.  To us, the logical choice was to "jump ship" with the Naval Base and go to a Hampton.

The day after I booked our hotel room, I decided to see if there was any good food or things to do near the hotel besides the beach (our biggest selling point)!  That's when I realized we were going to an Island!  hah, really?!  And it's called Amelia Island?  Well, that's a cute name!  AND Southern Living Magazine rated it as The Best Small-Town Getaway!?!

Well, after visiting, we can truly agree that it was a perfect place to vacation.

It is very rich in history... It is claimed that 8 flags have flown over Amelia Island: French, Spanish, British, Patriot, Green Cross, Mexican, Confederate, and United States.  A must-see park is Fort Clinch State Park.  No battles were ever fought here, but it was occupied by soldiers during the Spanish-American War as well as the Civil War.  It was a very entertaining piece of history to visit.  The architecture and masonry alone was well worth the visit!

Fort Clinch

Friday, August 23, 2013

Chocolate S'more Fondue for Two

My husband and I had our fourth wedding anniversary yesterday.  Most of it was spent catching up on laundry from vacation, putting away stuff and trying to get our lives re-organzized and back on schedule.  Especially with the two little ones and their sleeping!

But, when everyone was finally in bed, we were able to sneak downstairs, make some chocolate s'more fondue and share a bottle of Valley Vineyards Champagne while watching Couples Retreat.  It gave us a few good laughs which, after driving 14 hours the day before, we needed something where we didn't have to think.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

My [Sandy] Little Secret

What a whirl-wind! Somewhere around 1,800 driving miles round-trip, we are finally home!  Did I mention we had two gremlins in the back seat along for the ride?

So where'd we go?  We went on an amazing post-deployment vacation!  We met up with some of our dearest friends at their beautiful home in North Carolina then continued our vacation with them in  Charleston, South Carolina where we were just a very short drive from the Isle of Palms.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

So Simple Bathtub Table

I've been wanting a "bathtub table" for so long now. (What are those things called?!) Anyway, I finally just decided to build one.

I was able to do this project for about 12 bucks. Yes!! Those are my favorite kinds of projects! 

Friday, August 16, 2013

Simple Way to Support Our Troops [with Coffee]

I was trying to come up with something interesting for today's "Friday Find" so I casually asked my husband what I should write about (not expecting much of an answer).  He immediately came up with the idea to talk a little bit about Green Beans Coffee and how it is an easy and inexpensive way to support our troops.

When our troops deploy, they are many times experiencing uncomfortable living conditions, they are working odd hours, and of course, there is usually some aspect of danger involved with their jobs.  Somethings as simple as a cup of coffee can really change their perspective on the day.

So let me tell you a little bit about how Green Beans Coffee works.  You have two different options:

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Summertime Homemade Popsicles

Over this past weekend, we all went blackberry picking at this great local places that offers them as high as you can mound them in your quart container as well as all you can eat.  We certainly walked away with our money's worth!

Since we have blackberries galore, now, I needed to come up with a way to use a few immediately. I decided to make popsicles.  This is not much of a recipe.  More like, mash some blackberries... Add a couple table spoons of sugar... Freeze.  That's my kind of cooking!!

I filled up a 1 quart pot with blackberries and heated them on low-med while I mashed them up.  Then I added just enough sugar to make them nice and sweet.  I poured the content into a measuring cup with a spout to make pouring it into the tiny popsicle mold less messy.  (The liquid amount of berries turned out to be just around 2 cups).  

Freeze, and you get a delicious, quick, and healthy treat.

Do you have anywhere near you where you like to pick fresh fruit?  What are your favorite things to do with blackberries?  We have all of ours frozen on trays until further notice!