Life Love Larson: October 2012

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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Candy Corn Pretzel Treats

I tried another Pinterest recipe to take to our neighborhood Halloween party this past weekend.  Again, I don’t think you can go wrong here…sweet + salt, easy, delicious and festive!
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Monday, October 29, 2012

DIY Chalkboard Wall

If you have been reading for awhile, you know I love a chalkboard.  I love the black accent and the classic look of it.  I was inspired to create a little floor to ceiling chalkboard wall in my mudroom recently, and I love it!  A small amount a work for a large impact…
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This little wall is also visible from our open kitchen, which I love.  I like how the black breaks up the light paint and the creamy white trim.

Here is a little rundown of the progression.  This is what the wall originally looked like.  I did have the large ruler chalkboard on this wall, but it has since been moved next to the built-in coat rack.
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Doesn’t the chalk paint make such a difference in this space?!?!?!  I used Rustoleum chalk paint that I already had on hand.  I used a small sponge roller and applied 3 coats, letting each coat dry completely before starting the next coat.
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There are instructions on the paint can, but you are supposed to leave the paint alone for several days in order for the paint to cure. After a few days, you are to cover the entire wall with chalk.  I have found the best way to clean chalk off the wall is to use a wet cloth and move it in a circular motion. 
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The chalk wall is never going to be completely stark black once you have applied chalk. I think that adds to the character.  You must know that this does get messy.  You will need to clean up chalk debris after you write on the board.
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I did not paint the chalk wall for my kids and they don’t’ play on it.  Boo, mean mom!  This is purely decorative! Here is the wall from a few different angles.  I don’t think I will ever get a good picture in this space because there is not a lot of natural light!  The first is a view from the kitchen looking into the mudroom.  The chalk wall is right across from the kid’s artwork display wall. This door color will also be changing soon (if I can convince hubby).
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And here is an angle from the mudroom into the kitchen…
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Have you experimented with chalk paint?  Are you in love or over the hype?  I’m in love and want to extend the paint behind the artwork wall.  My husband’s response?  “Can’t we ever just leave well enough alone?”  No, no we can’t!!!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Easy French Toast

I usually make one breakfast on the weekends, and we eat breakfast for dinner a lot.  It’s cheap, easy, I always the have stuff on hand, and it is Steve and the kid’s favorite.
I prefer to use Texas toast when making French toast.  Texas toast is easy to freeze and thaw.  Mix a few eggs, milk, a capful of vanilla, and lots of cinnamon.  I think French toast tastes better if you put a little oil in the pan rather than non-stick spray (of course)!

To change it up a bit, I recently added my favorite new spread of vanilla yogurt and Nutella on top of the French toast along with some fresh strawberries and a little dusting of powdered sugar.  It’s fun to change up the syrup routine!
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Friday, October 12, 2012

Toffee Chocolate Saltines

I can’t believe I had never heard of, or tried this recipe before.  I wanted to make something quick and chocolaty for the birthday party last weekend.  I scanned my Pinterest board and decided to give these chocolate saltine bars a try.  Four ingredients, and the blogger I pinned it from had nothing but excellent things to say.  I got this recipe here.
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Several people at the party had tried this dessert before (some coining it “Christmas Crack”), and others who had never tried it wanted the recipe.  Here goes…
Toffee Chocolate Saltines (or crack, whichever you prefer)  :)
1 cup unsalted butter (no margarine)
1 cup brown sugar
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
40 saltine crackers

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line a large cookie sheet with foil and spray with non-stick spray. Lay a flat layer of crackers out on the foil. Melt the sugar and butter until a boil is reached. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 5-6 minutes or until mixture is thickened and sugar is completely dissolved. Pour this mixture over the crackers and spread to coat evenly. Bake for 8-10 minutes, toffee should be bubbling. After removing the pan from the oven, let it sit for 3-5 minutes. Sprinkle on the chocolate chips, let them soften and melt, and then spread them into an even layer.  Let cool and refrigerate until hardened. Peel back the bark and break into pieces.
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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

A Few More Budget Friendly Halloween Decorations

Last year, my friend Jill in San Antonio, hung a large amount of bats in her foyer to make it look like they were flying in a pack.  It was so simple and so striking and I knew I wanted to do it this year!  Thanks for the idea, Jill!

I started out by putting the bats outside on my front door.  They lasted about a week and kept falling off.  I had “dead” bats laying on my porch every morning and that was getting old!  Even though we have a covered porch, the paper bats were getting damp and crinkling up.  So, I brought them inside…
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I bought a pack of pre-cut bats at Dollar Tree a while back, and when I finally decided to hang them, I needed a lot more, and of course, they were all gone.  So, I hand cut about 20 bats out of cardstock (oh, the things I do for this place)! :)  They are hung with doubled sided tape.  Total for this project was $1 because I already had a bunch of black cardstock in my stash.
If you are not a local friend or neighbor, you are probably noticing the black and white curtains hanging in my dining room!  I haven’t blogged about those yet, but they are coming.  I have a little obsession going on with black and white right now (oh, and stripes)!
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My sister told me about this little metal spider web.  I decided to hang it on the inside of my front door.  This web was $3.99, but I also had a 20% coupon, making it super inexpensive!!  The spider ribbon is from Dollar Tree.
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The stuff above is called “creepy cloth” (also from the Dollar Tree).  Such a fun little addition when draped over a mantle or thrown on any piece of décor to make it “creepy” looking!
Lastly, I found these black crows at Dollar Tree and knew I had to find a home for them.  Wanting to use what I already had, I cut some tree branches from a tree out back, spray painted them matte black (with .97 cans from Walmart I keep on hand), attached the birds, and threw them in a vase.
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So, between the spider wreath, the spooky hanging ghosts, and the few other items I added, I think I spent less than $20! 
A quick side note about the ghosts…my sister just sent me this picture of the ghosts she made and she decided to keep them indoors (hanging from the chandelier in her foyer).
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Hope you are having fun decorating for Halloween!  Happy October!

Friday, October 5, 2012

DIY “Spooky” Hanging Ghosts

Happy Friday!  I wanted to share this quick tutorial for making hanging ghosts.  I saw the idea on Pinterest, and it was an original PB knock off.  I am certain my ghosts came in a lot cheaper than the PB ones!  You can find the original source and pin here.

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The supplies needed are styrofoam balls (I used 5”), black craft paint, cheesecloth (I used 3 yards total), 2 eye hooks per ghost, and something to hang them from (I used twine).

Start out by free handing some black eyes on your styrofoam with craft paint.

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At this time, I also inserted an eye hook at the top and secured with some wood glue. 

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Once the glue and the eyes were dry, I cut the cheesecloth into 3 different pieces (one for each ghost) and draped it over each styrofoam ball.  The beauty of these styrofoam balls is that the cheesecloth “sticks” to them without having to do any extra adhering! 

Once the cheesecloth was on, I started to shred the bottom with scissors.  There is no science to this.  Just cut some strips and kind of tug and pull until them look “spooky” and will sway in the wind.  Here is a shot of them at night.

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Once the ghosts were done, I enlisted Steve’s help to hang them from our covered porch.  He screwed 3 eyehooks into the porch ceiling and we hung each ghost from twine at different lengths.  I think they look cute at staggered heights and clustered together.  I also had Steve hang the ghosts towards the back of the covered porch to protect from the elements.  I also wanted them to be hung right underneath one of our recessed lights so they would be highlighted at night!

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And here is a shot from the inside out.

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The kids are so excited to have these ghosts hanging!  They check on them every day and night and tell me that are still flying.

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A few observations since they have been hung for a few days:

1.  They have stayed hung and are sturdy despite some wind and rain
2.  The cheesecloth gets stuck together at the bottom sometimes, but the breeze will undo this
3.  The eyes are never all going to be facing forward at the same time, but you get the idea!
4.  Found a moth stuck between the ball and the cheesecloth this morning that I had to rescue!

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Here’s hoping these last through Oct. 31st!  I just love them.  Here is the cost breakdown:

3 Styrofoam balls:  $3 each after purchasing each with a coupon

3 yards of cheesecloth:  This was either 2.99/yd. or 3.99/yd. I also had a 50% off coupon.

The craft paint, eye hooks, and twine where all items I already had on hand making this DIY project super inexpensive!

Linking up with
http://betweennapsontheporch.net/
http://somedaycrafts.blogspot.com/
http://www.theshabbycreekcottage.com/

http://www.atthepicketfence.com/
http://frenchcountrycottage.blogspot.com/

http://tatertotsandjello.blogspot.com/
http://savvysouthernstyle.net/
http://www.houseofhepworths.com/
http://www.tipjunkie.com/

http://www.notjustahousewife.net/
http://shabbynest.blogspot.com/

http://sixsistersstuff.blogspot.com/
http://lilluna.com/

http://www.somewhatsimple.com/
http://craftionary.blogspot.com/
http://itsoverflowing.com/
http://too-much-time.com/

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Crock Pot Cream Cheese Chicken Chili

I pinned and tried a new crock pot recipe recently.  It was easy and very tasty.  Every time I use my crock pot, I always ask myself why I don’t use it more!  You can find the original source and pin at http://rita-may-recipes.blogspot.com/2011/11/crock-pot-cream-cheese-chicken-chile.html.

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Crock Pot Cream Cheese Chicken Chile
2 chicken breasts, still frozen
1 can Rotel
1 can corn kernels, do not drain
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 pkg. Ranch dressing mix
1 T cumin
1 t chili powder
1 t onion powder
1 8-oz pkg. cream cheese

Place chicken in the crock pot, top with tomatoes, corn, beans, ranch dressing, cumin, onion powder, chili powder.  Stir to combine then top with cream cheese.  Cook on low for 6 hours, stirring one or twice to blend in the cheese.  Shred the chicken into large pieces and serve over rice. **I found that cooking it longer than 6 hours (even on low) makes this really thick.  If this happens, just add some chicken broth.

I served mine over white rice, and topped with avacado and tortilla strips!  Makes for great leftovers too!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Homemade Hair Detangler

I don’t go through a ton of hair detangler, but now that Kate’s hair is getting a little longer, and her current bottle just ran out, I decided to try a homemade version.

This could not be any easier, and I made a whole bottle for FREE!  Simply add 1-2 tablespoons of conditioner to your old bottle and fill with water.  Shake well and start using.  I have been using this for the last week with Kate, and it is doing the trick! 

I reused an old bottle, and used a free sample of conditioner, which is how this came out to be free.  This homemade version smells so much better too!

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The original source for this hair detangler recipe can be found at http://jandjnewleaf.blogspot.com/2011/07/homemade-beauty-hair-detangler.html

Linking up with:
http://betweennapsontheporch.net/
http://somedaycrafts.blogspot.com/
http://www.theshabbycreekcottage.com/

http://www.atthepicketfence.com/
http://frenchcountrycottage.blogspot.com/

http://tatertotsandjello.blogspot.com/
http://savvysouthernstyle.net/
http://www.houseofhepworths.com/
http://www.tipjunkie.com/

http://www.notjustahousewife.net/
http://shabbynest.blogspot.com/

http://sixsistersstuff.blogspot.com/
http://lilluna.com/

http://www.somewhatsimple.com/
http://craftionary.blogspot.com/
http://itsoverflowing.com/
http://too-much-time.com/