Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Pretzel+Chocolate+Candy Corn

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!


Snaps pretzels, Hershey Kisses (I used cookies & cream), and candy corn (both regular and caramel flavored).


Line a cookie sheet with foil and pretzels.  Add a kiss and bake for 3 minutes at 350 degrees.


Drop a candy corn on the melted chocolate and cool.  So, so easy!


I just made a candy run at Costco and costumes are squared away.  I think we are ready!

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…


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.


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.  I Instagrammed a picture of the first coat as it was going up (you can follow me @amlarson3).


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. 


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.


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).


And here is an angle from the mudroom into the kitchen…


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!!!

Linking up with:

Friday, October 26, 2012

Pinterest Tip: Mark your Medicine

Thankfully my kids have not had to be on any antibiotics lately, but our dog was currently prescribed some human antibiotics. You should have seen the guy’s face at Walgreens when I was picking up a prescription for my canine son.  And no, they don’t qualify for human prescription benefits :).

The big guy has to take a high dosage since he is so big, so I am the lucky person who gets to shove my hand down his gigantic mouth and administer giving him 6 pills a day.  I wanted to be able to keep track and remembered a tip I saw on Pinterest.  Mark the medicine bottle.  Seems like a simple concept, so why have I always kept track on a sticky note that seems to get lost in the shuffle?


We have all been a bit preoccupied this week trying to figure out what is going on with our dog.  We are dealing with some severely enlarged lymph nodes, but x-rays and blood work came back normal, and aspirates of the nodes cam back “atypical”.  We have no definitive answers and it is making it difficult.  I will be sure to share more about this as we find out more answers.  Until then, we are keeping him comfortable and quite spoiled :). 


I will be back next week with more house stuff!  Hope you all have a great weekend! 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Easy (and pretty) 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!


Don’t forget you can put your bacon in the oven to help your house not smell like bacon for days!  You can read more about that here.

So, will you have having breakfast for dinner tonight??  I might have to rethink my menu!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

21 Days to a More Disciplined Life (and a Giveaway)!

I have teamed up with Crystal Paine (Money Saving Mom) to help promote her new ebook, 21 Days to a More Disciplined Life.  If you have been reading my blog for a while, you know I am a huge fan of Crystal and her Money Saving Mom blog (I have been a loyal reader for many years).  I also reviewed her first book, The Money Saving Mom’s Budget, that you can read about here.


Crystal is offering her new ebook for the selling price of 99 cents from today, October 23rd through Wednesday, October 25th.  Make sure you purchase your copy soon, as the price will go up to 4.99 after Wednesday.  Click on the icon above to purchase your copy today!

I had the opportunity to read this ebook, and it is for anyone who feels they could use a little push to complete a large task they have been putting off, or anyone who feels they could use some assistance with jump starting some new, healthy habits.  Even if you feel you have your life in complete working order, this book breaks down simple ways to start enhancing your good habits, creating new ones, and sticking with disciplined behaviors.

10 key points I took away from the book:
1.  You are the problem, and the solution.
2.  Start with small, achievable goals rather than large, overwhelming goals.
3.  Focus on changing/implementing one habit at a time.
4.  Satisfaction in one area will propel you forward to other areas of your life.
5.  Write things down.
6.  Find someone or something to keep you accountable.
7.  Use a timer.
8.  Change your thinking about yourself.
9.  Learn to say “no”.
10. Get things done early.

As a busy stay at home mom, I found so many things in this book that directly correlate to my daily life.  This ebook is a great reminder for how I want my life to function and how to get there.  I have always believed that kids need and want discipline, and I don’t think adults are any different!

I will be giving away 5 copies of this ebook on the blog today.  Simply be one of the first five people to comment on this post and I will email you the details.  Please make sure I have a way to contact you via email.

Disclaimer: This is an affiliate program, so LLL will profit from sales of this ebook.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Small Pop of Red

Large DIY projects are super fun, but I love a quick little change up.  It’s all in the details.  I recently decided to add a few shots of color to my otherwise neutral kitchen.  I love red.  It seemed like the easy choice for me, and I found this fantastic shade of red spray paint.  Shiny and bright and orangey-red in color (it photographs a little pink).  I also painted something else this color that I will show you soon!


This frame was previously white.  I have had this print for a while (it is so me) and it leans against my kitchen backsplash.  I blogged about this print and where you can find it here


I love the way the red pops off the white backsplash.  I’m sure this shade scares some people, but I love it!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

10 Reasons I Know My 5 Year Old is Growing Up


1.  He only takes showers.  Bath time is a thing of the past. 

2.  He is starting to tell me that certain things he used to like are “babyish”.

3.  Some days, he requests not one, but two PB&J’s.

4.  He is currently watching all of the Star Wars movies with daddy.  Daddy was a super fan, and now we have another on our hands.

5.  I bought him a pair of size 7 pants the other day.

6.  When I picked him up from preschool today, he said, “I can’t wait to go to Kindergarten so I can learn math.”

7.  He wants to save his money to buy something more expensive later on.

8.  With his infinite imagination, he builds amazing little things with Legos.

9.  He learned how to ride a bike with no training wheels, mastered the monkey bars at school, and learned how do a cartwheel in a two month span.

10.  He has empathy for others, and has a mature kindness about him.

And although we have our “days”, I absolutely love this age…the age of independence and innocence all wrapped into one little package.  I need to document moments like this.  I don’t want to forget all these things when he is towering over me and wanting to date girls!

My sister and her kids are coming tomorrow for a long weekend, so I will check back in with you all next week!  Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Dining Room Progress: An Update

I know it has been forever since I have talked about my dining room or posted any pictures.  The reason being is that we have been looking forever for a piece of furniture to fit in the large niche, with no luck.  Without anything in the niche, the room looks incomplete.  I have, however, added black and white striped curtains since I last showed pictures of the room.

I will be posting about those curtains soon…they were a DIY…I made them…well, sort off…I no-sewed the black panels onto existing curtains…back to that B & W striped obsession…LOVE them…

Anyway, back to some full shots of the dining room and to see where the room has come since we moved in.  Our house is open concept, so the dining is the first room on the right when you walk in the front door, and it is open to the rest of the house.  Here is where we are today…

dining room

If you remember, the room started with the dining table.  A steal from West Elm ($125).  You can read more about this here.


Next, came the chairs that were ordered from Restoration Hardware (on sale for $199 each).  You can read more about these here.


Next, came the vintage chandelier we purchased at a vintage store in KC (worth every penny).  You can read more about this here.


We hung the curtains a few months ago, and we are still waiting to find the right piece for the niche.  Let me know if you have any good ideas! Oh, and do you think I need a large rug to center the space, or should I just keep the hardwoods exposed?



Dining Room To-Do List:


rug or no rug?
furniture piece for the niche
artwork for above the piece of furniture (need some color)!
accessorize the piece of furniture
have a dinner party (still hasn’t happened!)

  Once the room is complete, I will update more photos, but for now, still a work in progress!

Linking up with:






Monday, October 15, 2012

Bow Scarf

Today I tried a “bow tie” with my scarf.  I saw this done to a wool scarf on Pinterest, and the image stuck with me.

I think it is a fun way to change up the every day scarf!  Simply tie a bow.  Mine stayed tied the entire day.  Apologies for the iPhone self shot, but you get the idea!

bow scarf 2

My 5 year old took this photo, so again, please excuse!  I paired it with a little cardigan, boyfriend jeans, and leopard flats.  A fun little way to change up your accessories.  I got lots of looks today, so maybe everyone hated it, or everyone loved it!  I think it is fun and unexpected!  What do you think?

bow scarf

Linking up with:




Saturday, October 13, 2012

Recent Happenings

I need to send a huge thank you to two blogs for featuring a project of mine recently!

1.  Tatertots & Jello- DIY Spooky Hanging Bats

2.  It’s Overflowing- Blue Front Door

We moved to KC last year at Thanksgiving, so fall was the only season we had yet to experience.  I forgot how much I truly love a Midwest fall!  One thing I could do without is it getting dark so early.  It makes me want to go to bed at 8pm!  Here is a little snippet of what we have been up to recently…

We went apple picking for the first time a few weeks ago.  The first time for the kids, and the first time for me!  It was so fun eating the apples right as we were picking them.  I think all the kids consumed 6 apples each that day.  We brought home a bushel full for $7!  It was a gorgeous day for a picnic and making memories.  If you are local, be sure to check out Cider Hill Orchard!



































Kate has been cheering on our beloved Hawkeyes (even though we are not very good this year)!


She is also proud that she can now write her name all by herself…


I repaired and hung an old DIY project that I will be sharing with you soon!


And something in my house may or not have been spray painted with this color…stay tuned…


Pumpkin patch field trip with my smallest pumpkin…


This guy has been putting his skills to work again this season.  I think Steve has had just as much fun being one of the coaches!


My crazy gymnast…


I am on a mission to get our unfinished basement cleaned and organized so the kids have another space to play in once it gets too cold to be outside.  Hope your weekend is relaxing, enjoyable, lazy, productive, fun, or whatever you wish it to be!  Off to enjoy a few more cups of coffee!

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.


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.






You can now see why it was a crowd pleaser…butter, sugar, crackers with salt, and chocolate!  This recipe makes a lot, so take this to a party or make it around the holidays.  Your friends and family will thank you!  Oh, and keep the toothpicks nearby!


Don’t you think the title of “Christmas Crack” is a little more catchy???  You can find me on Pinterest here.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Ten on Ten: October 2012

Take 10 pictures on the 10th of the month to capture life’s beauty in the day to day. Linking up at A Bit of Sunshine, the original inspiration!

ten on ten button

As usual, the 10th caught us on a pretty normal, uneventful day (the best kind)!

Never too old for a little pre-breakfast Play Doh!


I decided to get a little crazy and paint my nails a nice fall color.  I usually have paint, stain, or my hands in a sink full of dishes, so this gesture is usually a big waste of time!  Update: already have a chip on my left pointer…it was fun while it lasted…ha!


We got “Boo-ed” last night, so the kids were so excited to hang our “We’ve been Boo-ed” sign by the front door…


Kate (and I) went to a friend’s house this morning while Drew was at school.  The girls decorated a plastic gingerbread house in October-love it!  I got to feed, change, and hold the three month old sister, so we both had a great time!


In keeping up with getting “Boo-ed”, the kids and I went shopping for our own “Boo-ing” items. 


Don’t judge my time-I was weak from donating blood yesterday (that’s what they all say)!


Something I just have to do at least once per day (I have a love/hate relationship with crumbs and dark hardwood floors)…


Always Mommy’s helper…pruning and weeding and putting flowers in our hair.  What a gorgeous day it was!


A little catch with Daddy while the sun was still shining…


Finally!  It’s dark and we get to go “Boo” some of our neighbors…highlight of their day!


Thanks for checking out a normal day in the life with us!

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