Life Love Larson: April 2012


Monday, April 30, 2012

BLT Salad

Our family went to a cookout last weekend, and I signed up to bring a pasta salad.  My mom gave me this super simple recipe for a BLT salad and it was so good!


Cook some pasta, chop a few veggies, make an easy dressing…


And don’t forget the bacon!!  Remember, you can get crispy bacon without making your whole house smell and feel greasy.  Simply put your bacon slices on an oven safe pan, put in a cold oven, and crank up the heat to 425 degrees.  Let bake for about 20 minutes or until it is at a level of crispiness that you like!


BLT Salad:

2 c. uncooked pasta (I used bowtie)
5 green onions, chopped (add the white parts of the onion as they are the best part!)
1 large tomato, chopped (I used several romas)
1 lb. bacon, cooked and crumbled


1 1/4 c. mayo
5 t. white vinegar
1/4 t. salt & pepper                            

Cook pasta, drain and rinse in cold water.  Combine all ingredients and toss. Cover and chill at least 2 hours before serving.


I told you it is easy!  And the bowl was empty when we left!

Friday, April 27, 2012


I get to listen in on so many funny conversations between D & K.  This morning was no exception…

Kate:  “Drew, do you like me?”
Drew:  “Yes, but sometimes you annoy me.”
Kate:  “Are we going to get married?”
Drew:  “No, brothers and sisters are not allowed to get married.  We have to choose someone different to get married to.”
Kate:  “But I choose you!”
Drew:  “I don’t care, you are annoying me.”


Ah, I have long said that they act like a little married couple!!  Cheers to a great weekend!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Pancake & Pajama Birthday Party

My niece, Mia, turned 4 recently, and she had a pancake and pajama party at her house.  Here are a few shots from the party…

Funfetti cupcakes with homemade icing and cute cupcake toppers that my mom purchased at World Market on the cheap.


Banner is from Target and poms were homemade.


Fourteen place settings waiting for pancakes!


Gotta love Trader Joe’s!



Lanterns are also from Target.


Pancake toppings, Go-Gurts, donut holes on a stick, apple juice, and chocolate milk.  Yes, the kids were sent home on a sugar high!





Craft time involved making Fruit Loop necklaces and decorating a foam door hanger.



My sister also read “If You Give a Pig a Pancake” and they whacked away at a pinata at the end of the party!  My kids had a blast!


Happy Birthday, Miss Mia!!


Monday, April 23, 2012

Ombre “K”

I jumped on the ombre bandwagon for yet another DIY project for Kate’s room.  I promise to show pictures of the completed room once I have blogged about all the projects I have been working on.  We are getting there, so stick with me!!

I had it in my mind that instead of using her paint chip letters (which got damaged in the move), I wanted to use a large “K” on the wall opposite of her headboard.  I knew that Joanne Fabrics sold the large paper mache letters, so I used a 40% off coupon and got one for $6.  With the magic of paint, Kate now has her very own ombre “K” (she’s trendy and she doesn’t even know it yet)!


I started with the paper mache letter and knew I wanted 3 different shades of pink.  I used leftover “Zany Pink” (from her headboard project) for the base of the “K”.  Like most things, I eyeballed, but feel free to measure and tape (pictures were taken in my dark basement where I decided to tackle this project so forgive the footage). 


I then used the same pink and added some leftover bone colored trim paint from our house until it seemed like it would flow.  Eyeball again, and repeat this step and add more white until you have your three colors.


I think I applied 3 coats of each color to get coverage over the brown paper.


Once dry, I used these adhesive sticky things to stick it on her wall.  These letters are large, but very light, and the “K” has been stuck for several weeks now.


And here it is hanging in her room…




I love how letters/words look in rooms.  Of course, Miss Kate loves the added touch of pink to her blue/grey walls.  In case you are wondering, paint color is Sherwin Williams “Big Chill”, the bookshelf is from PBK, the chalkboard sign in from PBK Outlet (this would be easy to recreate for less than $5 using a wood plaque from Michael’s and some chalkboard paint).  This chalkboard used to hang on her bedroom door, but the banging started to really annoy me, so it found a new home :).


Total cost for the ombre “K” was $6.  I already had the paint, and I got the adhesive strips for free when I used a coupon at our local hardware store!  The hardest part about this project is driving to the store to get your letter! 

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Sunday, April 22, 2012

Daddy Dates

Steve decided he wanted to take each of the kids to do something special, separately.

First up, Kate. They decided to attend Disney Live! in Topeka. The build up is always the most fun. Kate was so excited and she was on the countdown. They would hit the road, have lunch, watch the show, and return that night.


Kate hated it. Yes, she asked to leave early. Certain parts of every story scared her and she told Steve she never wanted to go back to that place again. This confirms that we will NOT be going to Disney for a few more years! We couldn’t help but just laugh about it. Steve said they basically drove two hours and spent $70 to eat lunch! You win some, you lose some!

Back on the home front, Drew and I had lunch, ice cream, and of course he wanted me to play Legos with him. This is something he and Steve usually do together, but I decided to get in on the action. I love to see the imagination in full force!


Next up was Drew’s “date”. Steve’s brother was temporarily living in St. Louis for work, so Steve decided to take Drew to a Blackhawks vs. Blues game and stay overnight with Uncle Kyle. For this sports fanatic, this build up could not have been more exciting. He especially loves anything that involves just “the dudes”.

Four hours in the car followed by three hours at a hockey game (way past his bed time), and he was a super fan! The Blackhawks lost which was very disappointing to our overly competitive child :), but he had so much fun watching live hockey and visiting his uncle.



Kate and I did some shopping, painted our nails, and had a slumber party complete with popcorn, a movie, and sleeping with mom.  She was loving it!


Have I mentioned before how much I love ages 3 and 4?!  :)

Friday, April 20, 2012

Spring Cleaning-Guest Bedroom Closet

We have a 5th bedroom on the first floor that we use as a guest bedroom/den.  The fourth bedroom upstairs (in case you were wondering) is our toy room.  We have an unfinished basement and no bonus room, so the 5th bedroom was critical because of the all the guests we house.  The toy room has gotten a little TLC, but more to come on that…

Anyway, the guest bedroom is right behind the kitchen, off the mudroom.  I use the large closet in the bedroom to store photo albums, extra blankets, files, and most importantly, craft stuff for the kids.  Being a stay at home mom of two toddlers requires daily reinforcements!!!!

This is why this closet needed attention…I was having a hard time getting inside!


Stuff went to the basement, things were thrown out, and bins are a girl’s best friend.

I put all cards in one bin and all tissue paper, gift bags in another bin. 













These, along with all wrapping paper, go up high as they are used sparingly.


When we first moved to this house, I purchased several storage bins at the Dollar Tree to corral all loose items.  One for old magazines that I keep to practice cut and paste as well as paper scraps that the kids draw/write on.


One bin to store random activities such as felt pizza, stickers, flash cards, Brain Quest, etc.


This 3-drawer bin stores some of my craft items.  All markers, pencils, glue sticks, scissors, and paints are stored in the wooden organizer and sight words have their own bin.


Coloring books, work books, crayons, Play-Doh, and stamps all get their own bins.














Finally, we’re getting there!



I keep everything at floor level so the kids can be responsible for getting what they need and returning it to the right place.  No excuses for boredom allowed!!!  :)

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Chicken Caesar on Flatbread

This is the easiest dinner and it always hits the spot!  To make this even easier, I throw my chicken breasts in the crockpot to cook, so everything comes together quickly at dinner time.


Drizzle a little EVOO over your chicken and add some salt and pepper.  Cook in crockpot on low for a few hours.  Shred chicken, add Caesar dressing and parmesan cheese and mix.  Shred some lettuce, cut some tomatoes and assemble.

I serve these on flatbread. 


The trick to making these so good is to melt a little margarine in a pan and brown up the flatbread for a minute or so on each side.  They become soft and delicious! 

You could, of course, just eat a chicken caesar salad, but I like my carbs!!!

Monday, April 16, 2012

DIY Spring Wreath

I was in need of something big and eye catching for my front door.  I didn’t want to spend a lot of time or money on anything, so I dug through my stash and found an old grapevine wreath.  I also found some flower stems I used on my spring mantle last year.  I knew something would come of these two finds and here it is…




This takes about 5 minutes to assemble.  I ended up using 4 large stems from Hobby Lobby (catch them when they are 50% off and they are cheap).  They have a million colors and styles to choose from. The ends are bendable, so instead of trying to cut them off, I snaked them around the bottom and I actually liked how they looked.


I bought some floral wire at Dollar Tree and tied some around the middle of the stems to hold them in place, tight to the wreath.


I then added a striped ribbon from my stash to hide the wire and add some more color.


Perfect for spring! 


I do have a covered porch, so it is protected from the elements!  Don’t forget to shop your own stuff and get creative!

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