Monday, February 18, 2013

Healthy Heavenly Fruit Dip

I've really been trying to be good lately (about eating that is :), but snacks have always been my down fall.  In the past I could make it through the morning without any really problems, but once the afternoon rolls around I start to snack and before I realize it I have eaten my way through nearly everything in my pantry and end up disgusted and still not satisfied.  So I've been trying to find healthy snacks that are satisfying and don't feel like I'm depriving myself.  I recently tried out a yogurt fruit dip I found online and after a few tweaks I think I've come up with what I think is the perfect mix of healthy and deliciously satisfying, plus it takes two seconds to mix up!!!

Healthy Fruit Dip Recipe

1 - 17.6 ounces container of Fage Greek Yogurt
3 - tablespoons (or big squeezes) honey 
3 - tablespoons (or spoonfuls, obviously I hate to measure!) peanut butter
1/2 tablespoon cinnamon (or more if you like)

To make, mix all ingredients together, taste, add extra peanut butter or honey to suit your liking and enjoy.  My favorite is to dip tart green apples in this delicious creamy concoction, but anything would be great.  Even by itself it's delicious. I dare you, try NOT to lick the spoon!  I think that may just be an impossible task, especially once you've tasted it!

The kids love it, I love it and we can't stop eating it!!!  Make a bunch, you won't be sorry!

With crisp apples this healthy snack alternative satisfies the sweet, tart and crunch that is usually missing when you are trying to eat healthy.  Not to mention the protein packed yogurt and cinnamon are great for you!!!


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Easy Valentine's Heart Pops

Valentine's Day is just one day away and if you are like me and leave things to the last minute, then these little gems are your new best friend.  So simple, quick to make and no one will know you threw them together.  I actually made these a few days ago when I looked at the clock at 9 pm and remembered it was our turn to bring snacks for my little guys class the next morning.  They were a HUGE hit!!!  

So if you need a fun Valentine's Day treat tomorrow or really any day of the year put some shaped rice krispies on a stick and dip them in chocolate and sprinkles and you will go from a full on procrastinators panic to super mom in no time!

I just made regular old rice krispie treats and spread them out on a sheet tray to cool, this kept them thinner so they weren't too heavy on the stick and I got more hearts out of the batch.  With a metal cookie cuter I cut out the hearts, any extra edges I formed into balls for the kids to dip and keep at home. 

 In my opinion every treat feels a little fancier on a stick, but I think the key to keeping it on the stick is to dip about an inch of the stick in your melted chocolate first then stick it in the treat, let that cool then dip the treat and add sprinkles. The coated stick acts as glue and should keep you from fishing fallen rice krispie chunks out of your melted chocolate!

 I used pink candy melts, and red sugar for the decorations. 

To finished them off I wrapped each one in a cake pop wrapper, these and the sticks I found near the candy melts and cake decorating supplies.

So quick and cute!!!

I'd almost rather have this bouquet instead of roses!

OK, who am I kidding.. I just now want BOTH!!!


Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Easy Homemade "Super" Hero Valentine's

This is our first year of "school" valentine's and while I have seen so many amazing ideas online when it came to actually doing them I totally dropped the ball so in the 11th hour, which seems to be when I do my best work I came up with these.  My superhero loving little buddy is totally satisfied and they are done with a day to spare so I'm doing back flips.. OK maybe not real ones, but in my head I'm doing them!!!

The idea came from the cute cards I've been seeing on Pinterest, made from a photo of a kiddo holding out a closed fist like they are handing you a sucker. Too lazy to take a new picture and needing to satisfy my little guys request for anything superhero I used this picture I already had of my little man in his Clark Kent/Superman costume (tutorial for that costume here).  To put a twist on the sucker card idea you could have your little one dress up as a super hero or princess whatever they like and do the same thing. I just got lucky and already had one that would work.

Now use any photo editing software to add a message.  I have photoshop, but a lot of times I just use Picasa, it is an easy to use program that you can download for free in seconds.  For ours I topped the photo with, "Have a "SUPER" sweet Valentine's Day!" And then on the bottom, "Your Friend, Braxton".  If you have a photo printer you can print them right at your house.  I uploaded mine to and picked them up an hour later when I bought the suckers.

To insert the sucker or whatever candy you choose, just use a punch and make the holes as close to the edge of the closed fist as possible.

Add the sucker...

Now do 25 more or how ever many you need and that's it, even this procrastinator is done with school Valentine's and no one will know that I left this to the last minute.  That will be our little secret!

So even if you haven't even started on your cards yet, you still have time to make these.

Happy Valentine's Day!!!!!


Thursday, February 7, 2013

Burlap and Wood Family Sign

This project came out of a mash up of two great ideas I've seen recently, a framed piece of burlap with a large painted initial and a painted burlap pillow with a family name and the year the couple were married.  Too lazy to make a pillow today and to impatient to find the perfect frame... I improvised and it was super fun and easy.  Plus, what a cute gift idea, even if you are doing it last minute... right ?!?

I picked up this wood plaque in the Walmart craft section for a few dollars and had planned to use it as a chalkboard sign for our family Christmas pictures, but just never quite got around to it.  Not wanting it to go to waste or stare at it for another 10 months of procrastination I thought I'd jazz it up with a little burlap and paint.  

The burlap is actually from an old coffee bag I bought at our local hardware store for $1, but you can find great super inexpensive burlap at most fabric stores.  To cut burlap straight, a great tip is to cut a small snip where you want the burlap cut then pull out one thread along that line and it leaves a perfect straight space that you can then go back and follow with your scissors.  This is much better than my normally embarrassing attempts at cutting straight, and if you know me measuring is something I tend to avoid at all costs!!  

Once you get the general size you want, use stencils (these are inexpensive ones also from Walmart) and center them on your burlap.  I did a large "W" for our last name on line 1, then EST. on line 2 and 2007, the year we got married on line 3.

To fill in the stencils I used a painters pen in dark brown.  These make stenciling on anything really easy, especially for those of us who are artistically challenged when it comes to free handing anything, plus they come in a bunch of colors.  You can usually find the pens for about 2 dollars near the acrylic paint in most craft sections.

For the board I used a layer of dark brown acrylic paint, and once that dried a thin layer of light tan.  Since you plan to distress it anyway, just slap it on the more "rustic" the better.  Don't you love that term "rustic"???  I sure do, it's my excuse for any painting project that doesn't turn out just perfect... I call it "rustic" and instantly it's perfectly imperfect... like I planned it all along!  Sneaky I know, but hey it works :)

Once everything is dry I used sand paper to rough up the edges and distress the top and finished it off with some Annie Sloan Dark Wax (my secret weapon for any furniture distressing project.. find some and buy it you will be so glad you did).

To attach the burlap to the wood, antiqued upholstery tacks work great to tie everything together.  If you want to hang this on a wall add a hook to the back and you are done.

Not counting the dry time, this probably took 30 minutes of total work.  Not too shabby for a fun little personal touch for your home or as a personalized gift.

This isn't the perfect spot, but I wanted to see how it looked on the wall and to show you the finished look.

Hope you like it and that you try one for yourself.  I'd love to see how they turn out!


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

DIY Painted Rustic Growth Chart

If you've spent any time on Pinterest, I'm sure you've seen all the great tutorials on how to make the Pottery Barn growth chart that looks like a ruler.  I loved the idea the second I saw it, but knew that I needed to make it my own so I made a few rustic changes and really love how it turned out and how it fits in our home.

To start you need a 6 ft board.  I used a 1" x 6" x 6' cheap board from Home Depot, the cost was under 7 bucks.

Instead of just staining the board I decided to give it a few layers of color.  Use anything you have.  I love these cheap little bottles of acrylic paint, they are less than a dollar and you can get them at Walmart or any craft section in almost any color.  So you can experiment with different combos, without the commitment of an expensive can of paint.

  ***Forgive the confusing photos to come, I made two.. one for my sister-in-law for Christmas and I loved it so much I made one for myself a few weeks later.  For the first I chose black as the base and red as the top to match their house.  For my growth chart, I used dark brown as the base and white as the top coat but you could use any combos you like.

To make sure that I end product, which I gave as a gift looked polished I painted the entire board.. front, back and sides black.  Even though the back won't be seen once it's hung, I like the finished look of everything being covered.  

Once the base paint was dry, with a foam brush I painted a light coat of red just on the top leaving the edges black.  I wanted the top to look aged so I just slapped on a coat of red not worrying if it wasn't totally covered.

Now for the line, I used a tape measure attached to the board with painters tape to make this as easy as possible.  Since I want to hang the board 6 inches off the ground, giving another 6 inches to the top of the chart I taped the six inch mark at the bottom edge of the board and the 6'6" at the top.

With a trusty painters pen (I love these!!! You can usually find them near the acrylic paint.) and a ruler I marked 3 inch lines for each foot, and staggered 2 inch and 1 inch marks in between.

For the numbers, instead of turning them sideways like a ruler or the Pottery Barn version I decided to make them straight up and down.  

For the numbers I used cheap cardboard stencils also from the craft section and lined them up along the outside edge, centered at each foot line and filled them in with the painters pen.

To finish it off, I used a cowboy stencil to add a few decorative extras, then lightly sanded for a little distressing and to cover any proof of my not so perfect painting abilities or lack there of.

... then some Annie Sloan dark wax(love this stuff too) and a few upholstery tacks and you are done.

For the gift, I added some heavy duty command strips to hang it, but I added a little claw picture hanging piece to mine.   

This is the red finished...

And this is mine.  I love how it fits perfectly in this odd space in our house and the brown and aged white work great with the rest of our attempt at rustic western decor.

I added a little different flare to our chart with staggered stars and silver upholstery tacks in the center and a few down each side.

I can't wait to add the heights of our little ones and watch them grow.  I plan to use a silver metallic sharpie to mark the heights, but just couldn't wait to share this project with you all.

This is a quick fun project for any family and a really fun gift.  I love that no matter where we move, we'll now be able to take these memories with us instead of leaving them behind for someone else to paint over.

I hope you like this and make one of your own.  I can't wait to see how they turn out!