Today I’m going to share a new recipe inspired by a new healthy dish I recently whipped up. The chicken dish is baked with a Mediterranean salsa spooned over the top. This salsa is so good I find myself sneaking an extra spoonful or two with crackers or chips before I bake the rest.
Then I got to thinking…with the football season really heating up, how could I turn this goodness into a shareable appetizer? I’ll tell you how: Baked Mediterranean Feta Dip.
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Football season is here, and with it, countless Sundays spent gathering with friends for viewing parties. I’ll admit, I’m in this sport for the socializing and snacks, but not the work of prepping treats.
Today, I’m going to show you ridiculously easy ideas for showing up with the most team spirit at your next viewing party. These game day decor ideas are so simple, even the least skilled crafter can pull them off like a pro!
You guys, I’m going way (+ way, way) outside of my comfort zone today with my first ever guest post AND first ever vlog, over at Jen Snyder Photo. You’re going to want to hop over to her beautiful blog check out one of my family’s very favorite recipes, Easy Crockpot Chicken and Wild Rice Soup.
Today I’m sharing how I made my own DIY custom cookie cutter, for my daughter’s Peppa Pig birthday party, for less than $1.
I’m planning a Peppa Pig birthday party for my youngest, and knew she would get a kick out of themed cookies. There are some great Peppa cookie cutters online, but I didn’t want to pay for a cookie cutter I planned to use just one time. Instead, I decided to make my own DIY custom cookie cutter.
Today I’m sharing my very favorite granola recipe: sweet, slightly crunchy, and very addictive, you’ll find yourself making this again and again. I’ll show you how to make it with, and without oil.
I started making this recipe after combining a variety of my favorites over the years. My favorite use of granola is with milk as a cereal or to top my yogurt, and the sweet flavor of this recipe is perfect for either use.
But the texture. I love the texture of this granola! I hate the too-crunchy store-bought variety. This recipe is somewhere in between – just the right amount of crunch.
This summer I picked up this vintage doll house from the thrift store for a few dollars. I can’t explain why I picked it up, but I was thrilled with the find. So, what to do with a 1940’s era doll house in disrepair? I originally had delusions of restoring it, because it certainly had charm. However, once I started trying to do some touch ups I was faced with the reality that this baby needed a complete overhaul.
This is one of my favorite projects to date – also the easiest and least expensive: the children’s artwork display located in our Family Command Center – otherwise known as the mud room.
I wanted plenty of space where the children could hang their artwork and good grades with pride, without that messy cluttered look on the fridge. It also needed to be really flat to the wall, since the area I’d designated is in a space the width of a hallway.
Here’s how I did it:
Buy these eye hook screws and wire at the hardware store for less than $5 total (or spend a few extra bucks and shop Amazon at the links above if you want to save a trip to the store).
Drill holes into the wall where you want your eye hooks to go. Screw the eye hooks into the wall by hand. Then, wrap your wire around one of the hooks a few times. Stretch it to the other eye hook, pulling and straightening as you go. Wrap it around that eye hook 2-3 times and cut the wire.
I already had these cute little inexpensive clips on hand, leftover from Eve’s party favors.They work great for holding the various art and school papers the kids bring home.
Voila! Children’s art center complete in 20 minutes and for less than $5.
As for the rest of our family mud room command center, it’s still a work in progress. I have dreams for this space!
I found that sign at the thrift store. I think it was from a hotel long ago. I just love it!
What do you think of my low-tech art center for the kids?
I was dreaming of a very feminine, girly-girl look for the girls’ shared Jack and Jill style bathroom when I stumbled across these gorgeous Anthropologie Keepsake Brooch Knobs. They were perfect! But as I did the math, I just couldn’t justify spending $120 for seven pulls (including shipping and tax) in this particular room.
I searched high and low and found a few options for less. If you’re not the DIY type, these are great options for getting this glam look for less.
I like these (smaller) jeweled pulls from Hobby Lobby. Pair them with their weekly 40% off coupon and the patience of a saint and you could score each of them for $4.20 each before tax.
Or how about these, much more simple, rhinestone knobs? You just can’t beat that price – only $1 each!
I wanted to try to replicate my inspiration knobs from Anthropologie as much as possible for quite a bit less, and came up with these.
Aren’t they lovely? Here’s how I made them. I bought these pretty rhinestone brooches – the closest match I could find to my inspiration knobs – just $2.25 each, total.
I then bought these inexpensive drawer pulls for $1.28 each. It is important that the diameter is close to the size of the brooches – not only to make it easier to affix, but for the long term durability of the knobs. I’ve seen other bloggers attempt to affix a brooch to a much smaller knob or pull, which significantly impacts long-term durability. The aim is that you will naturally pull using the knob and not the brooch. I was able to achieve that with this combination.
I then used some Marine JB Weld epoxy we had on hand to attach the brooch to the knob. Since these fit so perfectly together, we just hooked the brooch pin over the knob for simplicity, and then used the epoxy. I’d originally planned to remove the pin fixtures from the brooch and then affix the epoxy around the outer diameter of the knob, but this way was far easier and worked just as well.
If you’re not familiar with JB Weld epoxy, it’s a product that works as a chemical weld. It’s meant for marine purposes and is water proof. These babies are not coming apart any time soon!
The grand total for this project was just shy of $25 for seven knobs – that’s just $3.50 per knob. I saved nearly $93 compared to my inspiration hardware!
Here is what they look like installed. I think they add the right amount of sparkle to this shared little girl bathroom.
It’s incredibly hard to get a photo because they are in the narrow Jack and Jill bathroom that gets no natural light. Pictures don’t begin to do these beautiful fixtures justice!
Ever since I’d planned my first born daughter’s nursery 7 years ago, I had a vision for adding vintage Barbie prints to the room that they could grow with.
My inspiration came from places like Posh Tots, Rosenberry Rooms, and other upscale design stores who were selling the framed prints for upwards of $135 each.
Fast-forward to this year. In the process of moving I realized we had four matted square frames that we’d never used! I think it was one of those things that I thought my husband had returned, and he thought I’d returned. Regardless, it was a sweet score that inspired me to revive this decor idea as we began decorating the kids’ new rooms. This time, I found a way to create this art on the cheap. I scoured Amazon for used vintage print Barbie calendars, and found that there are usually at least two 12×12 calendars available for a reasonable price. I believe I bought mine for around $10.
I spray painted my black frames with Rust-Oleum Metallic spray paint I had on hand (love this stuff), inserted my favorite prints, and voila! Vintage Barbie art for less than $15.
I love the look of three frames above the crib, but I’m debating adding the fourth and making it a square formation when Belle moves to a big girl bed. What do you think?
As for the rest of the room…
It’s needs some love. I have big plans, but I’m taking my time.
I recently tried to convince my husband to paint an entire wall of our dining area with black chalkboard paint. He didn’t quite have the same vision I had, so he asked me to hang a chalkboard until we could come to an agreement.
I agreed. After all, I’ve had a giant frame in storage that’s been waiting to be used for years. I bought it at a garage sale for around $10 which was a steal…but how do you fill such a large frame without spending a fortune? The chalkboard was the perfect solution.
If I hadn’t already had the frame, what I really would have wanted is a rustic wood frame. However, since this was likely temporary, I wanted to make this as easy and inexpensive as possible.
The problem: the frame was gold. Really gold. I debated on what to paint it. Silver? Weathered white? Blue? I haven’t committed to a color scheme in our new home yet, so I went with a safe, muted silver. I spray painted it with Krylon Brushed Metallic paint. I had planned to rub wax or wood stain to bring out the details, but I didn’t love that effect on the test areas so I just left it silver for now.
For the actual chalkboard, we bought a piece of thin plywood and I sanded it with a hand sander until it was really smooth. After cleaning it with a lint-free cloth, I painted four thin coats of Rust-Oleum Chalk Paint in black, using a foam roller. I sanded lightly between layers when necessary and removed all the dust with a lint-free cloth. When the paint was completely dry, I rubbed entire board with a large piece of sidewalk chalk to cure it, and then rubbed it with a lint-free cloth to erase it.
You can wipe it clean with a damp cloth for a clean crisp look, or with a dry cloth, which I prefer, for a true, messy chalkboard look.
So far, our family loves this addition to our home. We post fun quotes and verses, and the children love to use it for creating their own art, as well.
In addition to being shared on the fabulous blogs to the right, this post was also shared on Stone Gable Blog.
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Dress up a common paper lunch bag to be something extra special! EClaire needed to take favor bags to school for her half birthday (summer birthday problems!). I had a few awkwardly shaped items so I needed a decent-sized bag, but I didn’t want to spend much.
As usual, I headed to the Dollar Tree fro some paper lunch bags and doilies. Then, I secured them with these tiny craft clothespins that you can get at Hobby Lobby or here on Amazon. I love how these turned out, and you can make 40 for just $6. Next time, I love the idea of trying these for birthday party favors with colorful doilies and clothespins.
These would be great for Valentines, Birthday parties or even for quick and easy gift wrap for small gifts.
For Eve’s Princess Birthday Party, I was going for a generic princess feel rather than a Disney princess kind of feel. As part of that, I wanted to create some custom party favors. I didn’t really find anything out there I loved for purchase, so I went about creating my own.
You already saw the Candy Button Crown favors I made for the party. Today, I’m sharing the hit of the party – Candy Necklace Cards. I’d seen a super cute concept online, but nothing princess themed. So, I went about creating these myself in PhotoShop, using hair and dress colors that somewhat inspired by Disney princesses, but with look that still felt sweet and unbranded.
Looking for custom decorations for your child’s room or nursery? It’s super cheap and easy to design a custom silhouette in Adobe PhotoShop, and today I’m showing you how.
My daughters share their bedroom, so I wanted to create silhouettes that would match the room but would be a bit unique. I created a digital background using colors from their toile bedding accents:
Here is my result, but you don’t have to create your own custom background to make this work. You can find lots of super cute digital scrapbook paper on Etsy that would be perfect for this project.
Next, I took profile pictures of each of the girls. This does not have to be a high quality photo; in fact, my camera phone snaps leave very little to be desired! All you need is to be able to see the profile of their face – the nose, lips and eyes.
Next, I opened it in PhotoShop, clicked on my selection tool, and got to work outlining her head, neck and shoulders.
Once I was happy with what I selected, I hit Command + J to duplicate just that selected area.
Next, I wanted to fill it with a color that matched the background. I hit Edit + Fill and chose a color from the background.
Then, I simply dragged this image onto my original file with the custom background. You’ll notice a lot of bumps and jagged edges on her silhouette, so I used a hard eraser to smooth out the edges.
Finally, I added their names using Jellyka Delicious Cake font. I had it printed by a professional photography lab, but you can also have it printed at Shutterfly for $7.99
To finish this project, I framed it in a very inexpensive wood cutout that I found at Michael’s for $3.99 on sale (or just $4.79 after using a 40% off coupon). I spray painted it in a high reflective shine metallic gold spray paint by Rust-Oleum.
This summer is the first summer I’ll be at home most days with the kids since I started my freelance adventure last fall. My 6 and 4 year old are bright, exuberant kids and I knew I’d have to add structure their days if I wanted any sanity. However, with my freelance work I don’t have the ability to be there every moment to guide their day (and who would want to?). It’s also great for fostering their independence as well.
I went to work trying to find chore charts, but none of them were quite right. My 4 year old can’t read the text chore charts, and many of the picture charts were geared toward very little children, or had unattractive graphics.
After doing some research I landed on four requirements:
I wanted a photo chart that my four year old could understand and interact with on her own;
I didn’t want to spend much money;
I wanted the flexibility to change their days up, but I also didn’t want to have to print a new one each week; and
I needed something I could mount to the fridge somehow – I didn’t want a chart that required wall space.
I landed on the concept of a magnetic chart with two categories: “Doing” and “Done.” I saw a few examples that I liked and got to work emulating those based on my needs. However, I needed clip art. It was SO hard to find cute clip art that would work for this! That’s when I stumbled upon Audrey Schilaty‘s blog. She had the exact chart I wanted – for free! Really, it’s the nicest free resource I’ve found. She offers both personal care and chore images, and I used a small combination of both (sad but true: I forget to have my children brush their teeth all to often).
I made it my own with a few modifications:
I drafted my own simple “Doing” and “Done” text document and used just the images I needed from her selection, so it would all print on one page, saving me money.
I printed it on a glossy sheet of photo paper that I had on hand, and then just placed it on an 8.5×11 sheet of adhesive magnet. You can buy packages of adhesive magnet sheets at office supply stores, but I found the most inexpensive option for heavy sheets – I got mine for just $3.59. I cut the small pieces to size, added them to the fridge, and voila – a clean, easy and inexpensive chart.
The kids woke up the first day and had moved two magnets over before I had a chance to remind them about it! So far, it’s been a great success.
I encourage everyone to check out Audrey’s great blog. And, if you’d like a copy of the 1-page version of the printable I used to create my chart using her images, just click the image below!
There you have it – a chore chart for just $3.59. What are your tips for keeping the kids structured in the summer? Let me know in the comments below.
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My baby girl just turned one and because her birthday is exactly a week after Dub’s, I’ll admit I ran out of steam on the party planning. However, I wanted to do something special and celebrate as a family, and was able to put together a cute Bow Birthday theme really inexpensively.
To keep birthday party planning expenses manageable, we buy a few essentials that we reuse year after year.
My Special Day chair covers that we reuse for birthdays, first days of school, and any day we want to recognize and celebrate each child individually.
Additionally, we always save leftover party supplies such as napkins, plates and plastic cutlery and every few years we find we don’t have to buy these supplies at all because of that stash. That was the case for baby ‘Belle’s party.
For the cupcakes, I whipped up a batch of vanilla and chocolate cupcakes and frosted them in pink and white buttercream frosting. I wanted them to carry out the bow theme, but because I’m lacking in fondant skills I purchased these toppers. You can find similar fondant bows here and here.
We served homemade vanilla ice cream and a simple punch using 7-Up and raspberry sherbet.
With just two inexpensive plastic tablecloths from the dollar store, I made this impressive table centerpiece by using one tablecloth as usual, and using the other as a decorative sash by draping it across the front and simply pinching it in the middle. I actually unfolded some of the party napkins and fashioned a bow out of them – one napkin for each side of the bow, and two for the tails. Surprisingly beautiful, easy and inexpensive!
Next, I made bow napkin rings – I love how these turned out! I bought rectangle shaped napkins, but you could also do this by folding traditional napkins in half. Simply pinch them in the middle, place them on top of your cutlery and wrap a small band of paper around the bow, secured with tape.
As I mentioned earlier, I used leftover napkins to make the bow you see on the front of the table to carry the theme through.
I took a little photo shoot of baby ‘Belle sporting her birthday bow. I’d say the cupcakes were a hit!
Like the ideas you see here? Be sure to follow my birthday party inspiration board and subscribe below to keep partying with me!
Looking for more inspiration? You might like these parties:
Shop your closet for this free Halloween Costume idea – an old school bank robber. I love that this costume is totally cute and could be pulled together with items you probably already own, especially if you’re a mom. Or, keep reading to find out how you can shop this look.