LIFE + STYLE BLOG

Thursday, February 26, 2015

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

Dollar Trees have been around forever but lately it seems like they've been stepping up their game. It's no secret that the Dollar Tree is a great place to buy gift bags and tissue paper, but they also have so much more if you just look around. 

Here are some of my favorite things.
Mini coca-cola glasses-perfect for summer // Plastic serving platters 
Fiesta inspired dishes // The perfect patio glasses

Name brand nail polish // Reusable bags that are actually cute
Chalkboard labels // Mod Podge-perfect for little craft projects

Blank Paris inspired notecards // Scrapbook stickers and letters
Child proof candle lighters // Tools that for DIY projects 

Do you shop at the Dollar Tree? What great finds have you found?


Linking up with Annie for Thoughts on Thursday.
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. 

Friday afternoon I got my greys 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 included grocery shopping and hanging out at home in our jammies for the rest of the day. Ben and I made a new edible play-doh recipe and I tried out 2 new recipes which were a hit!

Homemade Girl Scout Caramel Delites and Cuban Sandwiches.

After lots of cooking on Saturday, we decided to do breakfast on Sunday at I-Hop. Jack stuffed his face with hash browns and Ben put every.single.syrup flavor on one pancake.
The rest of the day included running errands, a trip to target, and dropping even more stuff off at Goodwill. I ended the weekend by watching the Oscars, blogging, and daydreaming about how I could actually be at the Oscars next year.

I hope you all had a fantastic weekend!

Linking up with Biana
Monday, February 16, 2015

Valentine's Day Weekend Recap

Our weekend is just now coming to an end thanks to President's Day. Although I'm sad to see the weekend 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. 

J and I don't do big gifts for Valentine's Day but he did give me 2 dozen roses and white chocolate covered strawberries.

 I made him this "man bouquet" although most girls I know would also like booze and candy :)

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

Tutorial to come

Our first big snow rolled in on Sunday night so we turned on the fireplace 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 but I'm going to have to make it again because mine was a total fail. Like I couldn't even eat one bite. Someone else please make these and tell me what to do differently.

On Monday afternoon we bundled up and went outside to play in the 5 inches of snow. Jack was over it after 5 minutes so I went inside with him while J and Ben built a ramp for the sled. J got the best 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 some but I know other areas of the country had 60+ degree weather. Now that we've had a decent sized snow I'm so ready for Spring!


Linking up with Biana

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Happy Valentine's Day!


5 on Friday (On a Saturday)

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

One.
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.

Two.
Wednesday night Ben and I made cupcakes and Valentines for his school party. 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.

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



















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

Five.


Happy Friday!
Wednesday, February 11, 2015

A Very "Avenger" 6th Birthday

Ben's birthday fell on a Thursday this year so we celebrated by eating lunch with him at school and cupcakes for his class. That night he got to pick where he wanted to eat and he had a tough time choosing between his favorite pizza place and Olive Garden, but the OG won out in the end.

After dinner he opened his presents from us. He was so excited about the Lego mini figures and could care less about his new bike and helmet.

I mean, look at this face.

He reluctantly shared his new Legos with his brother. It lasted about 30 seconds.

Due to poor planning on my end, I got a very tiny cake at the last minute from Hy-Vee and they were able to slap an Avenger pic on it.

Ben's party was on Saturday at a local game center. The place took care of everything from the pizza and drinks to clean up. The kids each got tokens for arcade games and then bowled and played glow in the dark golf. 

Even Jack got in on the action.

And then there was the cake. Every year since Ben was born we've had a local bakery make his birthday cake and it also happens to be where our wedding cake was made as well. 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.
To say I was mad is an understatement. They brought the cake out to us all tapped up in a box and I'm guessing they hoped we wouldn't notice?! There was also no happy birthday written on the cake and they must have had a child paint that fondant. We ended up getting a refund but only after a lot of hassle and having to return the cake to store. DURING THE PARTY. J ended up leaving the party to run up to Hy-Vee where he got the cake below. Although Ben was a little bummed at first, he got over it and the party was a blast.

Another successful birthday in the books! 
Tuesday, February 10, 2015

No Fuss Stuffed Mushrooms


I love a good stuffed mushroom but they've always seemed so intimidating to make. Well not only are they easy to make, but you probably already have the majority of everything you need. If this recipe can also be adopted if you're a vegetarian. I based my recipe off this one, but simplified it to make it even easier and quicker.

What You Need:

-15-20 large mushrooms with stems left in (washed and cleaned)  
*I bought a pack of smaller mushrooms and wish I had boughten the larger ones because I had a lot of stuffing left
-1 tbsp butter 
-1 tbsp garlic powder 
-1 tsp onion powder 
-4 oz cream cheese
-1 egg
-1/4 cup Italian Bread Crumbs
-1/4 cup parmesan cheese

What To Do:

Preheat oven to 350F. 
1. Once your mushrooms are washed and clean, remove the stems and finely chop. 
2. In a skillet melt butter then add the chopped stems, garlic powder, and onion powder. 
3. While the mushrooms are sautéing, in a bowl combine softened cream cheese, egg, bread crumbs, and parmesan cheese. 
4. Once mushrooms are tender, remove them from the skillet and add to the cheese mixture. Mix well. 
5. Using a small spoon, fill each mushroom with the mixture leaving some sticking out of the top.
Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the topping is hot and golden brown. 

If for some weird reason you don't eat all of these and have left overs, I recommend warming them up in the oven on low vs. in the microwave since they can get rubbery easily.

Enjoy!


Linking up with SusanKate, & Alesha
Monday, February 9, 2015

Weekend Recap

I left Thursday for a work trip to Kansas and got home late Saturday night so my weekend was cut a little short. I was at a training on teaching essential life skills to people with moderate to severe disabilities and it was one of the best trainings I've ever been to. 

Although I learned a ton, by Saturday I was definitely ready to be at home with my family. The boys had so much fun with daddy while I was away. 

Sunday was spent doing the weekly grocery run and enjoying the beautiful 60+ degree weather. We had dinner with J's family for his mom's birthday and caught this beautiful sunset on our way back home.

Happy Monday!


Linking up with Biana.
Thursday, February 5, 2015

DIY Valentine's Felt Heart Wreath


For the last couple of years I've wanted a cute Valentine's wreath but didn't want to spend a ton of money for something I'd use one month of the year. Of course, Pinterest came to the rescue and I am in LOVE with how this wreath turned out. 

This project requires very little supplies, but it is a little time consuming so I recommend doing this DIY while you watch your favorite movie and drink a big ole glass of wine (or two).

What You Need:

-Styrofoam wreath in the shape of a heart (I got mine at Hobby Lobby in the biggest size they had)
-1 yard red felt
-100+ Straight pins
-Ink pen
-Scissors
-Ribbon for hanging
-Cup/glass for tracing (roughly 3 inches in diameter)

What To Do:

1. Using the cup/glass, trace lots and lots of circles onto the felt with the pen. I used about 3/4 of the felt and then still needed to trace more as I got to the end. 
2. Cut out the circles. I found the easiest and fastest way to do this was to trace a bunch of circles then cut them out and trace more. Your hand will get tired of cutting so alternating with tracing will give it a break.
3. Once the circles are cut out, fold the circle in half and then half again.

4. Stick a pin through the twice folded circle and then start sticking them in your wreath. 
For my perfectionist self this was the hardest part at first since there is no "right" way to do it. Trust me, you will get the hang of it and you'll start to see it come together. I wanted a really full looking wreath so I pinned the circles really close together. This will also mean you'll need more circles overall.
5. For the dip of the heart and curved sides, I flipped the wreath on it's back and pinned enough circles on the sides that you could't see the white when looking at it from the front.

6. The final step is to pin the ribbon in order to hang it. There's no rhyme or reason to it, just pin it on and hang it to see how it looks. 

And that's it! Now all your guests are greeted with a little Valentine's day love when they come to your house. 

Linking up with Annie & Astleigh.