Archive for May 2012

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

mod podge rocks giveaway winner

Thanks for entering the mod podge rocks book giveaway! The lucky winner of a copy of this fab book is...

Amanda Moutos
who said, 
"I've used it on so many projects! The biggest one was when I was a teenager. I decoupaged the top of my desk with magazine clippings and photos of my friends and me."

Congrats, Amanda! I will send you an email so I can get your info to send you the book. I know you will love it!

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Monday, May 28, 2012

cost plus world market {decor and sweepstakes}

Have you ever been to Cost Plus World Market? I went for the very first time this weekend and absolutely fell in love. My mom and so many of my friends have been telling me I had to go there and that I would love it and they were absolutely right!

I went to find some American themed decor and I definitely did! I was so impressed with the selection Cost Plus World Market has as well as the prices! I spent quite a long time in the store, and I still feel like I want to go back really soon to browse some more. I love all the specialty items they carry, especially all the unique food items.

I found this adorable pendant to use at a gathering and it was so great strung across my curtains over the dinner table.

I also found these adorable ramekins in red, white, and blue along with some delicious treats to fill them with. The ramekins were only 99 cents! I was thrilled!

They also had Freedom Chips! You wouldn't believe how excited the kids were to much on these colorful chips.

Then I found some flag napkins and red place mats to finish off the look.

I couldn't believe all I was able to find for my dinner! I must admit, I am a little disappointed in myself for never shopping Cost Plus World Market until now...but I will definitely go again! In fact, I got some delicious cookies there that I ended up finding out are also my mom's favorite. Well, they are already gone, so I will be heading back to re-stock.

Right now, Cost Plus World Market has something exciting going on! The Red, White and Blue in London Sweepstakes!

Make sure you go and enter for a chance to win a trip for 2 to London and other great stuff! Also make sure you follow Costplus World Market on Twitter and Facebook to get the latest deals and updates.

This shop has been compensated by Cost Plus World Market, but all my opinions are my own.

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Friday, May 25, 2012

mod podge rocks book giveaway

Who doesn't love Mod Podge? It is a great medium for decoupage, and can basically be used to glue things or as a finish. Basically, it's just awesome. There is a blog, Mod Podge Rocks and the creator, Amy Anderson has a book out devoted to projects using Mod Podge! It is called Mod Podge Rocks! Decoupage Your World.

This is a great book that features over 40 simple, inexpensive decoupage projects that showcase the versatility of this product. If you have never worked with Mod Podge before this is a great introduction with such fun projects and crafts to get you started! The beginning of the book offers a complete guide to Mod Podge, an overview of all the varieties and which ones are best to use for which projects. What a great help!

Mod Podge Rocks! Decoupage Your World is such a fun book and it's also inexpensive! It would also make a great gift for that crafty person in your life.

Today, we are giving away one copy of this fabulous book to our readers! Simply leave a comment telling us what Mod Podge project you have done, or if you are completely new to Mod Podge and want to try it out! For a second entry, post about this giveaway on Facebook and leave us another comment saying you did. Make sure you leave a way for us to contact you! This giveaway will end Tuesday, May 29th at 11:59pm PT.

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eFoodsDirect {review & special offer}

Over the past 30 years the founders of eFoodsDirect have helped people become more secure and confident with their greatest dependency—food. eFoodsDirect is passionate about helping people find simple, affordable meals they can store at home. They believe in three principles: Serve, Save, and Share—Serve great food and one another, Save for unforeseen circumstances that lie ahead, and Share the message of gaining control of your food supply and be less dependent on others. eFoods' mission is to empower every family to have food security in the case of storms, natural disasters, or even financial crises like shrinking income or the loss of a job.

Recently, I received meals from eFoodsDirect to try out in my own home. I couldn't believe when I got the pouches just how simple it was! We tried the tortilla soup and the creamy potato soup and you literally just boil some water and empty the contents of the pouch in. 15 minutes and the meal was on the table for my family! It was perfect because we had a very busy night of swim lessons and homework and had it not been for these quick soups, we would have been heading through a drive-thru!

The best part was, everyone thought it was delicious! When my boys are all happy with the same meal, I know it was a big success! The only thing I had a problem with was that had I not cooked both soups, we would have not had enough food, but we are a family of 5. So, I was happy I had both soups for everyone to fill up on. 

I do love that the food comes in small pouches. It is very easy to store and since it is compact, you can store a lot without taking up much space. The food also has a good shelf life. 

Right now, in remembrance of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan a year ago, eFoodsDirect also created special family preparedness offers for you readers! Visit the eFoodsDirect offers page. Don't forget to enter the special coupon codes, Food40 and Food50, when ordering to get this memorial discount!

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Friday, May 18, 2012

coconut-lime cupcakes {recipe}

We got together with friends for a Cinco de Mayo party this year because it's a great excuse to hang out with friends and eat Mexican food! We even had a pinata (yes, that is a penguin--long story!). My friend Kerri hosted and cooked up a storm--pork enchiladas, chicken enchiladas, bean burritos, homemade refried beans, Cafe Rio-style rice--whew! It was amazing! I am going to miss that girl. Another friend brought homemade salsa and guacamole (soooo good) and I contributed these Coconut-Lime Cupcakes. I altered the recipe from The Culinary Chronicles because I couldn't find one of the ingredients (and I wanted to add coconut) and they were out-of-this-world if I do say so myself. I'll be making these again for the next summer get-together!


Coconut-Lime Cupcakes Recipe
(adapted from The Culinary Chronicles)

Cake ingredients:
2 ¼ c. cake flour* (see below if you don't have cake flour on-hand)
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 ¼ c. coconut milk
4 large egg whites, at room temp
1½ c. sugar
1½ Tbsp. fresh lime zest
½ c. butter, at room temperature
1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
1 tsp. coconut extract

Lime Whipped Cream ingredients:
1 c. heavy cream, chilled
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. fresh lime zest
1 tsp. coconut extract

Fresh lime zest
Fresh lime slices

Preheat oven to 350˚ F.  Line cupcake pans with paper liners.

In a medium bowl, sift together the cake flour, baking powder, and salt. Whisk together the milk and egg whites in another bowl. Put the sugar and lime zest in a mixer bowl and rub them together with your fingers until the sugar is moist and fragrant. Add the butter and with the paddle attachment beat at medium speed with a stand mixer until ingredients are light and fluffy. Beat in the extract and lime juice, then add one third of the flour mixture, still beating on medium speed. Mix in half of the milk-egg mixture, then beat in half of the remaining dry ingredients until incorporated. Add the rest of the milk and eggs, mixing until the batter is well mixed, then add the last of the dry ingredients. Continue beating the mixture for another few minutes to ensure that the batter is thoroughly mixed and well aerated.

Divide the batter evenly between the prepared liners, filling each about ¾ full. Bake for 18-22 minutes, or until the cupcakes are well risen and springy to the touch and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Allow to cool in the pans for a few minutes, and then transfer the cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely.

While cupcakes are cooling, prepare the whipped cream. Using a standing mixer fitted with the balloon whisk attachment, whip the chilled heavy cream, sugar, and coconut extract on high until it just holds stiff peaks. Add in the zest and whip until combined.

Fill a piping bag with a fitted tip. Pipe on the whipped cream on top of cooled cupcakes. Garnish with additional lime zest and lime slices. Heavenly!

*It is important to use a cake flour to achieve the right consistency in this recipe. But if you don't have any (and don't want to buy any), you can make your own and substitute it! Here's how:

Substitute 3/4 cup sifted bleached all-purpose flour plus 2 tablespoons cornstarch for one cup sifted cake flour. For this recipe you need 2 1/4 cups--you do the math (sorry, I'm lazy!).

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Thursday, May 17, 2012

cutting edge stencil giveaway winner

Thanks for all the entries into our Cutting Edge Stencil Giveaway! What a great response we had. We are so excited to announce the winner of a $50 gift certificate to Cutting Edge Stencils. The lucky lady is....

who said, 
"I have been wanting the Nagoya Allover stencil for awhile now! Love it!"

Congrats, Kristin! We know you will love your new stencils! We have passed your email onto the sponsor and they will be contacting you soon. Enjoy!

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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

how to make garden stepping stones {tutorial}


We used to share reader projects almost weekly, but it's been a really long time since we did one! We're so excited to have a reader submission from Michelle at Shelly Homemaker today, showing us how to make these beautiful concrete stepping stones! This is one of those projects I would be totally scared to try to figure out on my own, so I'm so glad Michelle has done the hard work for me! Enjoy!

Garden Stepping Stones Tutorial

Quickset concrete (I got a 50lb bag at lowes for $5)
Water (from the tap... free, ish)
Flower pot trays (from the $1 store, came in packs of 3 or 4, got 3 - $3)
Oil and Basting brush... I had these, in my kitchen, might be buying a new basting brush now, (FYI they have them at the $1 store too)
Stones, Marbles, or tiles (can find lots of places! My favorites were the flat marbles from, you guessed it, the $1 store)
Old rag

Step 1:
First things first, prep work. Collect all your materials.
Brush some oil into the one of the plastic trays

Step 2:
Mix your concrete. Add some concrete powder to a old bucket, and add water slowly until you get to the right consistency.

You are going for Malt o meal, or cream of wheat - NOT oatmeal!

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custom hand soap labels {how to}

Just got unpacked from a quick trip to the Twin Cities to visit my sweet friend Kalli and her seriously fun family for Mother's Day. We had so much fun tramping around Minneapolis and ignoring real life (Kalli, how is it that with all the pictures we took, this is the closest thing to a group shot that I got? We didn't even get one of us together! Grrr. . .).

But with laundry and homework and workouts and grocery shopping and getting ready for a trip to Chicago later this week, I haven't had a chance to edit/upload/blog pictures of some of my recent projects, including my teacher appreciation gifts. Sorry about that. Does anyone else feel like the days are getting shorter the older we get? Who can I talk to about that?

It was nice to have a little girl time to chat and help Kalli & Lori with a crafty gift for Mother's Day. Kalli had an ingenious idea. She had Lori create custom labels for these yummy hand soaps she found for only a buck at Bed, Bath & Beyond, including the name of the scent and a Happy Mother's Day message.

Lori used some of the same art she used for these beautiful Mother's Day printable cards to create the labels. Lori and Kalli are both pros on the digital scene. They often use graphics found at Graphics Fairy (one of my favorite free vintage graphic sites--see my image transfer tea towels using her graphics here), or purchased from designers like Rhonna Farrer.

Here's where the brilliant part comes in. How do you keep a custom label on a soap bottle from bleeding when it gets wet (and it will get wet)? Packing tape! First remove the label from the soap bottle. (If it leaves a sticky residue, use a little CitriSolv and a paper towel to remove it.) Place the printed and cut label (printed on plain type paper) print-side down on the sticky side of a piece of clear packing tape, then place it on the front of the soap bottle. Now it's protected from water damage and looks totally professional. And crazy easy--why didn't I think of that? Kalli--such a smarty pants.

Aren't they beautiful?

Top it all off with a little tulle and ribbon and you have a quick, easy, and inexpensive gift for hostesses, teachers, moms, thank yous, etc. that will really be appreciated. Just my kind of gift.

Okay, now back to laundry and re-packing and all that fun. . . more to come soon.

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Friday, May 11, 2012

cutting edge stencil giveaway {with a room reveal}

A while ago, I decided I wanted to change my front living room. It is a room you can see right when you walk in the front door and I wanted it to make an impact and feel modern. Here is what the room looked like when we first started.

I loved the wainscoting, so I knew I wanted to keep it, but other than that, it needed a big change. I received a wall stencil from Cutting Edge Stencils  to try out and knew that would give the room exactly what it needed. I decided to paint my wall the same color as the wainscoting and then I used a soft gray paint to fill in the stencil. I then got new chairs and pillows and a new little love seat. Can you believe the difference?
I am still on the hunt for a large mirror to put on the wall but I just love the room! I love the feeling of old and new with the modern feel along with the piano. It is my favorite room in our home and I get so many compliments on it, especially since people can see it from my front door. The stencil makes such an impact.

The stencil was very simple to use and came with a brush that I needed. Here is a great video with instructions on how to use these stencil designs.

I have been so happy with my stencil and I cannot wait to buy a different stencil to use in another room of my house. The great thing about these stencils is they are a lot more affordable than wall paper and you can re-use them in any other rooms you want to design as well. You can even use them on furniture or other items if you want.

Today, Cutting Edge Stencils is offering one of our readers the chance to win a $50 gift certificate! All you need to do is take at look at all the wall stencils and find your favorite one. Then come back and leave us a comment telling us which one you love.
For additional entries you can:
-Like Cutting Edge Stencils on Facebook
-Follow Cutting Edge Stencils on Pinterest
-Follow Cutting Edge Stencils on Twitter 

Good Luck! This giveaway will end on Wednesday, May 16th at 11:59pm PT.

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Thursday, May 10, 2012

style vs. practicality at home {how do you do it?}

About 14 years ago, my husband and I got married and moved into our first apartment together. As undergraduate students, we furnished the place with hand-me-down and scratch-and-dent furniture, which served us well for a looong time. In fact, when we moved to Iowa last summer for a one-year fellowship, we finally got rid of some of that furniture (good riddance!). And after 14 years of living on loans and stipends, I'm looking forward to finding and decorating my dream house in the near future. I've been watching Nate Burkus religiously, filling up my style boards, and pinning room ideas on Pinterest like crazy. In my head it is bea-u-tiful!

Then I remember that I have three BOYS. Boys who love to jump off furniture, boys who sneak snacks out of the kitchen, boys who throw remote control helicopters off the upstairs landing to the family room below. Rethinking some of those accessories about now. . .

Hopefully that doesn't mean I can't have my beautiful house, I just have to find some balance between style and practicality. (I think I can, I think I can.) I'll just be making removable slip covers for my decorative pillows, buying secondhand pieces and refinishing them, and putting in stain-proof carpet. Yes, you read that right. It's a real thing! Stain-proof carpet and rugs. I just heard about Resista from CarpetOne, and it is definitely on my wish list. Hooray! Nate Burkus, here I come!!

I'm curious to know, in your home, how do you balance your practical needs with your style wants?
You live your life on carpet. Make sure you have carpet that lets you live your life! For more information on Resista Carpet visit

Join the Conversation to be entered to win a 5' x 7' Resista area rug!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf ofCarpetOne. The opinions and text are all mine.

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Wednesday, May 9, 2012

free mother's day card {printable}

I just got my Mother's Day gifts in the mail. I really meant to on Monday, but the boxes I had were too big for the Priority Mail box, and then baby had a blowout, the boys were whining about making another trip to the post office and that was it. I seriously just gave up. Some days that's just how being a mother is, right?

"Home is where your mom is."

I saw this quote on Pinterest last week and thought it would be perfect for my Mother's Day cards for my mom and mother-in-law (who is like a second mom--I'm so lucky!). The sweet part is that we just found out we really are {finally} going home! We just took a job back in Utah, and I'm so excited to be back near our families. I have loved everywhere we've lived, and it's been good for us to have some space as a family, but I'm ready to be back. My kids need it, and I need it. Sometimes I just need my mom, and being a $900 plane ticket away does not work out well for that! So here is a little peek at their cards. . .

I always take a long time to make cards, but these came together pretty quickly. I just layered a few coordinating papers, used mini alphabet stickers (by Making Memories) to spell out my sentiment (the big letters are Thickers by American Crafts), adding a few buttons, some ribbon, and some machine stitching. Voila.

I was making up these {relatively} easy Mother's Day cards when my friend Lori offered to let us share her Mother's Day card printable for free. MUCH easier and just as cute! Unfortunately, my printer is on the fritz, so I guess it's a good thing I already had something going. I loved the quote on motherhood she used, though:

"Motherhood. . .is near divinity. It is the highest, holiest service to be assumed by mankind. It places her who honors its holy calling and service next to the angels." ~James R. Clark

Somehow I sometimes forget that I'm like an angel when I'm changing a dirty diaper, so it's nice to be reminded! Now that we're just a few days away from Mother's Day, some of you may be looking for a quick and easy Mother's Day card that you can print and get in the mail today, and here it is! Thanks, Lori! It includes two cards on one sheet of paper, so you have multiple moms, grandmas, friends, etc. covered. Get the printable here.
Happy Mother's Day!

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Thursday, May 3, 2012

PolkaDaisy giveaway winner

Congrats to the lucky winner of our PolkaDaisy giveaway....


You will be receiving a two tags necklace! Yay for you! I have passed your email address onto the sponsor, so she should be contacting you soon.

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Wednesday, May 2, 2012

fresh strawberry yogurt cake

Strawberries have been really cheap at the grocery store lately, which I love! At my house, we all love strawberries and my boys can eat a whole carton in one sitting. Sometimes I over-buy because I think they will eat up so many, but then need to do something with the strawberries before they go bad. I found this delicious recipe on Pinterest and it was a big hit!

Fresh Strawberry Yogurt Cake
(Recipe From: A Spicy Perspective)


  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 Tb. lemon juice, divided
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour, divided
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 8 oz. plain or vanilla, Greek yogurt
  • 12 oz. fresh strawberries, diced
  • 1 cup powdered sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 325*. Grease and flour a 10 inch Bundt pan (10-15 cup pan.) Sift together the 2 ¼ cups of flour, baking soda and salt. Mix in the lemon zest and set aside.
  2. With an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in 1 Tb. lemon juice. Alternate beating in the flour mixture and the yogurt, mixing just until incorporated.
  3. Toss the strawberries with the remaining ¼ cup of flour. Gently mix them into the batter.
  4. Pour the batter into the Bundt pan. Bake in the preheated oven for 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
  5. Allow to cool at least 20 minutes in the pan, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely. Once cooled whisk together the remaining 2 Tb. of lemon juice and the powdered sugar. Drizzle over the top of the cake.
NOTE: I’ve had a few questions over the texture of the batter in this cake. The consistency of the yogurt and the juiciness of the berries, greatly determined the consistency of the batter. Thick, (dryer) yogurt will produce a thicker batter, in which the berries won’t sink to the bottom (top) of the cake as seen in the photos. Either way, it is a great cake–don’t worry about the thickness.

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