Thursday, February 26, 2015

Things to Buy at The Dollar Tree {Besides Gift Bags}

Dollar Trees have been around forever, but lately it seems they've been stepping up their game. I feel like everyone knows that dollar stores are great places to buy gift bags and tissue paper, but they have so much more if you just look around. And if you're still paying $5 for a gift bag, you are literally wasting your money. *btw, this is in no way a sponsored post, I just love a good deal and want to pass them along

So what else can you find besides bags....
//These little coca-cola glasses would be perfect for summer bbqs or hosting an outside shower and they were less than a dollar each//
//These platters are great for veggies, chips & dips, or crackers and cheese. And if you take a dish to a friend's house or potluck and accidentally forget it, you're not out a ton of money//
//These fiesta inspired dishes and glasses scream Summer and patios//

//Dollar Tree has a pretty good selection of name brand nail polish including Sally Hansen and Mabelline//
//This reusable bag is not only eco friendly, but adorable. Who says helping the environment has to be boring//
//How adorable are these chalkboard labels? Packs like these run for $5+ at Target//
//These smaller bottles of Mod Podge are perfect for little craft projects//

//I fell in love with these adorable Paris inspired notecards. They're blank on the inside so you can customize them to the occasion//
//If scrapbooking is your thang, Dollar Tree has quite a variety of scrapbook stickers as well as letters//
//Never pay more than a $1 for these candle lighters. The DS kind has the child proof switch and works just as well as the ones by the Target and Walmart check out lanes and costs several dollars less//
//I'm constantly borrowing my husband's expensive tools for DIY projects, so these would be perfect and if I ruin them with hot glue or paint, I'm only out a dollar//

Do you shop at the Dollar Tree? What great finds have you found? Anything I'm missing out on?

Linking up with Annie for Thoughts on Thursday.
Tuesday, February 24, 2015

3 Ingredients Bacon Jalapeño Poppers

I'm linking up with KateAlesha, & Susan to bring you these cheesy, bacon-y, spicy poppers that are perfect for a party or just stuffing your face at home. And while you're making them, go ahead and buy double the amount of jalapeños so you can make this recipe if you haven't already.

What You'll Need:
-Chive and Onion cream cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

1. Begin by cleaning, cutting, and clearing. After washing your peppers, make sure to slice your them vertically and scoop out all the seeds. Leave the two halves of the pepper side by side so you know which halves go together.

2. Spread a layer of cream cheese on the half of the pepper with the deepest cavity. 

3. Place the two halves of the peppers back together and secure with a toothpick. Bake for 15-20 minutes until the jalapeño is tender.

4. While the peppers are in the oven, lightly cook the bacon (1 slice of bacon per pepper). I cooked mine in the microwave for 1 minute. Make sure not to overly cook it or the bacon will snap as you wrap it around the pepper. Pre-cooking the bacon a little helps to get it extra crispy when you put it in the oven. I can't stand chewy bacon. Yuck.

5. Remove jalapeños from the oven and take out the toothpicks. Wrap the peppers with the bacon and secure with another toothpick.

6. Place the bacon wrapped jalapeños back in the oven for an additional 5-10 minutes or until bacon is crispy.


Monday, February 23, 2015

Weekend Recap

Sorry for the unintentional blogging break, but things got busy and sleep won out when it was all said and done. But, I'm back and have some great posts planned for this week so you'll want to stick around!

It felt like I blinked and this weekend was over. Friday afternoon I got my granny gray covered up and enjoyed a little happy hour margarita to celebrate a co-worker's birthday.
That night we ate dinner at our favorite pizza place where the kids played more games than they ate pizza.
Saturday was spent grocery shopping and hanging out at home in our jammies the rest of the day. Ben and I made a new edible playdoh recipe and I tried out 2 new recipes both of which were a hit and will be coming to the blog soon!
(yes, those are homemade girl scout cookies...yum)

After lots of cooking Saturday, it seemed only right to head out to breakfast on Sunday at IHop where Jack stuffed his face with hash browns and Ben put every.single.syrup flavor on one pancake.
The rest of the day was spent running errands, a trip to target, and dropping even more things off to Goodwill. I ended the weekend by watching the Oscars, blogging, and daydreaming how I could actually be at the Oscars next year.

Hope you all had a fantastic weekend!

Linking up with Biana

Monday, February 16, 2015

Weekend Recap

Because of President's day, our weekend is just now coming to an end. Although I'm sad to see it go, I'm glad tomorrow's already Tuesday which means a short week at work.

We had a super low key Valentine's day starting with lunch at the hibachi grill. Jack kept pushing his plate towards the grill for more food and I'm pretty sure the chef wondered if I ever feed my child. #littlefatty
J gave me my present (2 dozen roses and white chocolate covered strawberries) on Friday night, a whole day early. He's come a long way in the 8 years we've been together.

 I made this "man bouquet" for J. What guy doesn't like booze and candy?

We debated going out for a casual dinner Saturday night, but decided to stay home instead. I worked on a DIY project and J helped me with some parts of it. The couple that crafts together stays together. J brought home Steak n Shake for dinner and we ate burgers while watching Bridesmaids.

(sneak peak) Tutorial to come

Our first big snow rolled in on Sunday night so we stayed in by the fire and watched the SNL 40th reunion along with the rest of the country. Overall I thought it was pretty funny, but 3 1/2 hours was a little long. 

Monday morning I tried out this recipe. I'm going to have to make this again as mine were a total fail. Like couldn't even eat one bite. Someone else make these and tell me what to do differently.

On Monday afternoon we got all bundled up and went outside to play in the 5 inches of snow. Jack was over it after about 5 minutes so I went inside with him while J and Ben stayed outside sledding and building a ramp. J got the most awesome video of Ben going off the ramp which I'll post when he uploads it. 

Did any of you get snow? Most of the midwest got hit, but I know other areas of the country had 60+ degree weather. Now that we've had a decent sized snow I'm sooo ready for Spring!

Linking up with Biana

Saturday, February 14, 2015


Friday, Friday {On a Saturday}

Let's just pretend it's Friday...

It's been a few weeks since I've linked up with Christina, & Karli so even though it's late I'm gettin' it done.

Our week started off rough. Jack ended up having an ear infection and Ben woke up in the middle of the night with a 102 fever and tummy ache. After some antibiotics for Jack and rest for Ben, they were both feeling better within 24 hours.

Wednesday night Ben and I made cupcakes and valentines for his party at school on Thursday (they didn't have school Friday). I found a cute printable on ETSY for Jack's and Ben gave out glow sticks. I go back and forth every year between homemade valentines and store bought. Ain't no shame in either.

Daddy had to work late one night this week and Ben asked if he could take me on a date to Olive Garden. Although it was sweet, let's just say it'll be awhile before I take both kids by myself to dinner again. OG's create your own pasta with the grilled chicken and garlic alfredo sauce is amazing. Way better than their original alfredo.

I've talked about my love for these before, but Veggie Straws are just so darn delicious and the perfect light snack.


Thursday, February 12, 2015

2015 Goals & Resolutions {An Update}

With a solid month in 2015 complete, I'd thought I'd give an update on how I'm doing meeting my goals. You can read the original post here. Remember goals that have an * I want to complete before my 30th bday on October 1st.

  • Attend a concert/show*
  • Support and help our parents as much as they do for us
  • Reply to texts/call people back sooner
  • Read 12 books (1/12)
    • Dark Places-complete! 
    • I'm currently reading Sharp Objects, The Total Money Makeover, & Inferno
  • Go on an overnight trip with J
  • Make homemade sushi*
  • Take a mother/son trip with Ben. Just the 2 of us on an adventure*
  • Grow the blog/attend a blogging conference
    • I'm really trying to blog 5 days a week and scheduling posts ahead of time has been SUPER helpful.
  • Read to Ben 5 nights a week before bed
    • In progress. We got pretty relaxed on this and he's become a little too attached to the IPad before bed, so reading and a firm bed time it's been lately.
  • Continue paying down our debt 
    • Definitely making progress. I can't wait to have those student loans paid off!
  • Make homemade noodles*
  • Do 12 acts of kindness for strangers
    • Paid for the car behind me at Panera
  • Have family game night once a week
  • Go an entire month without repeating a single outfit*
  • Do something thoughtful and completely unexpected for J*
    • Haven't done this yet, but I have an idea for something...
  • Workout 4x/week
    • I did pretty good at this in January, but I think I may change it to workout a __ number of days per month? I did do an hour and a half Hot Yoga class and although it was hard and HOT, I survived. My face was still this read when I got home.
  • Pray more, ask for less
  • Get all the paperwork for taxes together before April*
    • We've still got time right?
  • Make 30 look like 20*
  • Move into our new home*
    • Our current home is officially on the market and we're looking to move into our new house at end of April, early May. I'm so ready to move.
  • Work on being more patient and encouraging
  • Cut out soda completely
    • This one is already a fail, but I've definitely cut way down, but there's room for improvement!
  • Leave little notes of encouragement for J throughout the house*
  • Buy less quantity and more quality
  • Complete the Bible in a Year study
    • Anyone have any recommendations on the best study for this?
  • Give back and teach the importance of giving to our children
  • Set up give, save, spend jars with Ben*
    • I started this with Ben and he's already been delegating his money to each jar
  • Go to Octoberfest
  • Play more with the kids and multitask less
  • Cut our grocery bill by $50 a month
  • Back up photos on hard drive and discs*
    • I started this one, but it's still a work in progress as it takes forever to go through photos, delete some, and then burn them onto a disk. I'd say I'm 1/4 of the way finished.
  • Finish our family documents binder*
    • I'll probably really work on this one once we're in the new house and can sort through all the papers and see what we need
  • Try 3 new restaurants* (2/3)
  • Smoothie King

    Harold's Donuts
  • Take a weekend trip with my mom and sister
  • Sell, purge, or donate anything we don't need or use
    • I took a whole trunk full to be donated and have been selling all the rest. I refuse to move crap into the new house.

Overall I'd say I'm off to a pretty good start. What about you? Did you make resolutions and if so, how are they going?

Linking up with Annie for Thoughts on Thursday.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

A 6th Birthday (Avenger's Style}

Ben turned 6 at the end of January his actual birthday fell on a Thursday so we celebrated by eating lunch with him in the cafeteria at school and store bought cupcakes for his class. If you live near a HyVee their cakes are delicious!  That night he got to pick where to eat and he had a tough time choosing between his favorite pizza place and Olive Garden, but the OG won in the end.

After dinner, he came home to presents where he could barely wait to open these Lego minifig bags. He knew he was getting them and could care less about his new bike and helmet.

Look at this face. Way to go Lego.

He reluctantly shared his new Legos with his little brother. For about 30 seconds.

I got a last minute and very tiny cake from HyVee and they were able to slap an Avenger pic on it.

The actual party was on Saturday and the place we had it at took care of everything from the pizza and drinks to clean up. The kids each got tokens when they arrived for arcade games and then got to bowl and play glow in the dark golf. For the sake of not posting other people's children all over the internet I won''t share all the pics, but just know they had fun.

Even Jack got in on the action.

And then there was THE birthday cake. A little back story. Every year since Ben was born we have had a local bakery make his birthday cakes. It also happens to be the same place we had make our wedding cake. I'm not sure if they switched bakers or decorators, but this was what the cake was supposed to look like... 

And this is what it actually looked like.
I can't even. Oh and they brought it out to us like this all tapped up in a box hopping we wouldn't notice. They also left off the writing and did they have a child paint that fondant because I guarantee Jack could have done a better job. We got a refund, but only after a lot of hassle and returning the cake to store. J ended up leaving the party and ran up to the store and got the cake below. Although Ben was a little bummed at first, he got over it and you know what? They party went on. I think the hardest thing for me was that it was one of our birthday traditions and they ruined it. Ok, I'm over it. Clearly. 

Another successful birthday in the books!