Thursday, March 23, 2017

5 Simple Tips for Hosting an Easter Egg Hunt

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #SpringItOn #NestleKitchen #CollectiveBias

As a busy working mother, finding the time to embrace social events is hard when I consider my on-the-go lifestyle. I always have a to-do list playing over and over in my head that I just can never RELAX, let alone HOST an event. However, for 2017 I set the intention to enjoy the simple moments, and slow down once in a while to just hang out with family and friends. What’s better than finding time for fun, food-centered moments with our loved ones! Hosting a Simple Easter Egg Hunt using Nestlé products was the perfect way to embrace the fullness of the spring season and outdoor activities while making a party easy to do. Here are 5 Simple Tips for Hosting an Easter Egg Hunt at your house:

#1: Electronic Invite

Whichever method you choose, doing this not only saves you hours of invite design decision (why is decision making so hard!), but also paper waste. It is also a super convenient way to get RSVP notifications and a summary of responses that is easily accessible when you are on-the-go. When you are setting a time, think of a time that doesn’t require you to provide loads of food (lunch or dinner time), this will help in minimizing the workload for you. I choose 3-5pm because it’s the perfect in-between time that I don’t feel like people expect to load their plates, so you just need a few food options.

#2: Simple Menu

Letting someone else do the cooking is definitely the easiest way to go. No need to fuss in the kitchen! I used two fabulous Stouffer’s frozen party size entrees that I found at Walmart. First off, what kid doesn’t like Mac & Cheese? The Stouffer’s Mac & Cheese is made with ingredients just like the ones you use at home with freshly-made pasta in a 100% real cheddar cheese sauce. The Vegetable Lasagna is freshly made whole grain lasagna layered with a colorful medley of carrots, spinach, broccoli, and onions in a parmesan and romano cheese sauce. Both are perfect meatless options to serve your family and friends during the Lenten season. It is also super convenient if you dress-up  the tin baking pan with ribbon and at the end, just throw the entire disposable pan out. Less dishes are the best dishes! I also used an Asian salad mix with cooked shripm to create and easy salad.

I also made semi-homemade dessert. Using boxed brownies is the best thing ever…they just taste too delicious not to. The cupcakes I did boxed cake mix and icing, but dressed them up by making a strawberry jam and cream cheese frosting filling. I finished them off using the SweeTARTS Chicks, Ducks & Bunnies that are perfect for decorating and filling candy dishes! Made with no artificial flavors, SweeTARTS delivers the original flavor combination of delightfully sweet and delicately tart in the coolest springtime shapes. For more Nestlé inspiration and ways to use these cute treats as decoration on cakes, cookies and other delicious goodies, check out their Pinterest and Social Hub pages.

#3: Easy Décor

I just used $1 plates, napkins, and cutlery. I found some great baskets and eggs at the thrift store, which made 100 eggs super affordable. Also use items from around the house. Use baskets, serving trays, or anything that will spruce up your table. Get a great vase and add a pop of color with some spring flowers as well.

#4: Quick Egg Fillers

I used the Nestlé Easter candy which currently has a great Ibotta offer through Walmart. I also added a few empty ones, bouncy balls, Easter necklaces, chocolate, and eggs with nickels, dimes, quarters or $1 coins. I think having a good variety made every child happy with their find! You can also fill these all through the week so it’s not a huge lift the day of the party. Just start piling them all in a large bag so they are ready to be hidden.

#5: Set Boundaries, Hide Properly, Have Enough, and Recycle

We used our fenced backyard as our boundary for the kids. It was a little muddy, but having large amounts of patio and decking we were able to find enough spots to hide. We also had mostly toddlers, which let us make the hiding spots easier. If you have older kids coming, be creative and age appropriate. We tried to have about 15 eggs per child. It was enough to feel like they won good prizes, but not overwhelming or they felt like their basket couldn’t hold enough.  Oh and the best part…you are now a pro at hosting an Easter Egg Hunt, save all those fabulous plastic eggs and make it an annual event!

Nestlé makes it easier than ever to maximize the goodness of spring and the fun of Easter celebrations. Hope that even with your busy life, this inspires you to create more spring moments that matter. Have a great Easter!

Here are the locations in Walmart to find these fabulous products!

Friday, March 17, 2017

Vintage Inspired Girl’s Room

I’m so excited to finally have this room DONE!

I wanted a whimsical vintage room with a splash of bohemian flair for my daughter, and I think I accomplished that. First change was the beautiful grey paint color which is Sherwin Williams Mindful Gray. Then the wallpaper…oh the highly debated, highly contentious wallpaper. I fell in LOVE with this botanical wallpaper and just thought it would bring such a fun unique touch to the room without a huge cost (keep an eye out for the price, I got it when it was $0.98/sq ft). We got it up but not without Willie saying about a 100 times “I hate this” and “wallpaper is stupid”. If there is one thing that can cause divorce, it may be putting up wallpaper together 😉 BUT we made it and he loves it now. This wallpaper was a pre-pasted roll that you spray on and let sit for a few minutes and then apply to the wall. I found the pre-pasted much harder to work with then the traditional gluing method I did in the bathroom. It wasn’t as manageable and wasn’t as sticky so it slid and the edges would not lay down. We have a few mistakes, but for not being pros, I think we did a fabulous job…and we are still married.

The furniture is the same as what we used in her nursery. Willie’s grandmother’s furniture set included a twin headboard, so I really wanted to incorporate all the pieces in her new room. It has such an amazing sentimental value and vintage look that just makes it perfect for her.  I got an organic bamboo mattress for her and stunning Target bedding. She is really going to sleep like a princess.

Oh the chandelier…gorgeous. We just happened to stumble across this $200 beauty and because our Lowes had it on clearance and then it was the only one left so we took the display, we got it for $80. Added a little ceiling medallion and my super handy husband got it wired for me. I always get the best shoulder workouts on fixture changes, because I get the gruntwork of holding the thing up while he wires…maybe I need to learn so he can hold!

The giraffe lamp was from Homegoods. The gold framed art was $5 from the thrift store (I am thinking of making into a button art piece or getting a friend to print out a stencil for me and painting the glass). The large pallet art is from Willie’s cousin that was a shower gift (if you haven’t checked her out on Etsy, you need to). And my favorite part, the amazing DIY dreamcathers. The rest of the décor are just some of her favorite books, leftover flowers, knickknacks from great-grandparents, grandparents and photos. I want to add a large laundry basket under corner floating shelves, but for now, it’s perfect.

This girl better get ready because she is about to get a HUGE surprise!

Monday, March 13, 2017

Post-Workout Matcha Superfood Smoothie

It’s been 5 months since I completed my Whole30 and Bikram 30 Day Challenge and I’m starting to lose any energy and posture progression I gained (and I’m sooooo bloated…ughhh). I was incredibly proud of myself with combing those challenges during October. I completed 26 out of 30 Bikram yoga classes and ate 80% Whole30 (weddings, social events, and not being able to fully kick my coffee half-and-half decreased my full commitment), sooooo I was in desperate need of a pick-me-up!

I love smoothies for breakfast or after a hard workout like hot yoga. For those that have practiced Bikram, you really don’t feel like a huge meal afterwards, so guzzling down a protein packed smoothie is so satisfying. I know Whole30 does not recommend this in their eating plan, but for me it is the perfect way to refuel after a sweatsesh. It’s also a perfect meal replacement for times like this where my stomach is just not liking what I’ve been eating.

This smoothie combines my new obsession of matcha tea and nut milk. Matcha Green Tea is a high-quality powdered green tea. It is packed with antioxidants, slight caffine boost, and is said to help with memory, concentration, calmness, endurance, energy levels, detoxification, and the list goes on. I LOVE a great iced matcha latte with almond milk. It’s so refreshing with a little boost of caffeine for an afternoon refreshment, so I thought, why not start adding to my smoothies? I have been using Good Karma Flaxmilk (unsweetened) lately because #1 it’s convenient (and has been on sale), but I also like the taste and it’s just provides just enough body and creaminess to the smoothie without a lot of calories (only 25 calories per serving). If I have the time I will also make my own almond milk and use that in my smoothies too. Here are the rest of the ingredients:

Post-Workout Matcha Superfood Smoothie

  • 1 scoop of protein – you can use any CLEAN protein you like here (I emphasize clean because have you ever read the back of some of these protein tubs?!?! I personally like whey protein the best, but I also have a vegan protein I use)
  • 1 cup nut milk
  • 1 cup fresh spinach
  • 1 banana (I only had a fresh one, but I highly recommend freezing your bananas in an air-tight container for smoothie prep – it provides such a richness that really nothing else can. For days you want to limit sugar, only use ½ banana)
  • 3-6 ice cubes depending on desired thickness
  • 1 teaspoon of Matcha Green Tea Powder
  • 1 teaspoon of ground flaxseed (you can also add chia or hemp seeds)
  • About 10 almonds (optional – I only do this as a little extra protein after a hard workout)
  • optional – garnish with granola and unsweetened coconut flakes, you can also make this a smoothie bowl!

What I also love about smoothies it’s something so easy you can make in a rush or prep the night before in a portable shaker. I have this single serve blender system at work, so I just prep everything the night before and store it in the freezer and then pack to bring into the office to blend up whenever I’m ready. I also give some credit to smoothies for getting some baby weight off because sometimes it’s all I had the energy to make and ability to drink down in between juggling being a new mommy.

I’m starting my 3rd week of Pure Barre. I’m so surprised how addicting this exercise program is and can’t wait to share my full experience after my 5 weeks of unlimited classes ends. I will have to find a way to figure out a way to pay for classes after the amazing grand opening deal they had, because it really is a fabulous toning/core-strengthening program.

Hope you all have a great week and bundle up for the impending snowstorm!!

Monday, February 27, 2017

DIY Doily Bohemian Dreamcatcher

Hope everyone had a fabulous Valentine’s Day! I took Hartley to get her nails painted for the very first time and she LOVED it. She got one hand pink and one hand red with sparkles on-top (of course). If you’ve been following my blog for a while I am superstitious and have to have my nails painted OPI Big Apple Red for Valentine’s Day, since my first date with Willie (13 years ago, oh my gosh) he picked me up from the nail salon and I had that color and we’ve been going strong since. Hartley was so proud and showed EVERYONE her nails at dinner, ahhh she melts my heart.

I’m ecstatic for this dreamcather project to be done because it means I’m that much closer to finishing Hartley’s big girl room! I’ve been procrastinating finishing her room because she is so good in her crib that I kind of want to leave her in there forever (can I?). And as a mom, I feel like leaving the crib is a HUGE milestone, that I may tear up for a bit.  This was the last major piece I wanted to finish before putting everything on the walls. Thanks to Pinterest I had some fabulous inspiration and gathered numerous ideas from different bloggers to create my unique take on the DIY Doily Bohemian Dream Catcher.

For mine, I incorporated store-bought doilies (you can use vintage ones if you can find at an antique market or thrift store, I even thought of using my grandmother’s handmade ones, but thought lightning would strike me if I did that!), flowers, lace, ribbon, and feathers (I re-used the feathers from my Thanksgiving tablescape). I also saw lots of people using wood as their top hanging piece, but I found this beautiful molding at the At Home store that I thought would make a better topper for the boho/vintage look I was going for. You also don’t need this piece if you are just creating a single dreamcathcer. Just follow the tutorial and stop when connecting the multiple embroidery hoops.

Here is what you will need:

  1. Wood/Molding Topper – mine was a little pricy at $24.99, but you can slash this cost using wood or twine
  2. Embroidery Hoops(I bought 2″ for the pink doilies but didn’t end up using, so for what I created I used 9-Inch and 12-Inch)
  3. Doilies (I found the 2” pink ones on clearance at Michaels for $2.99 for 4pk (I didn’t end up using these but have mini ones for a gift or something) and then ordered the 4pc- 9 Inch White Doilies ones for $12 – I have seen these at the thrift but I did not have luck on my recent trips)
  4. Torn fabric to wrap around hoop (you can use ribbon but that would get expensive, try using an old drop cloth, pillowcase, linen shirt or tablecloth) – I used a mix of cut ribbon and a dropcloth by cutting thin long pieces
  5. Yarn (thin for attaching doilies and thicker version for hanging pieces)
  6. Ribbon (go straight to the $1.99 bin of ribbon first) – Michaels has a fabulous selection
  7. Hot Glue Gun and Glue
  8. Artificial Flowers (optional)
  9. Feathers (optional)

Total Cost was about $65 (like I mentioned I went ALL OUT on mine, but you can make a version of this much cheaper but excluding items and/or using a different hanging method)

How to create:

  1. Start with wrapping all the embroidery loops with the torn fabric , glue the start and try using long enough pieces to make it fully around the loop, then glue the end.
  2. Once fully wrapped, start connecting the doilies using a thinner yarn on the edges. Just loop the yarn through the doily hole and knot on the edge. For the lower hanging dreamcatcher on the 9″ loop, I cut of .5″ around the edge to make it smaller then the one on-top of it.
  3. If you are doing a multiple version like I was, map out your placement before you add the embellishments. You will not want to add hanging embellishments for those that are connected at the top. For those that have the ability to get hanging ribbon, and lace…start adding by simply cutting a long enough piece to fold in half (not perfect) and attach by a loop-pull-through over the hoop on the bottom. Add the feathers by just using the ends of the twine or yarn to make tight knots. Add flowers by disconneting the stem and cutting off the hard green piece (you will know what this is once you have them) and attach to the loop with hot glue.
  4. Once all the dreamcatchers are completed, finish by connecting the individual ones to connect to one another in the design template you created. I was orginally going to use the small hot pink ones, but didn’t like them, so I just had to connect one.
  5. Finally connect the dreamcathers to your molding, I lucked out because there was already hangers on the back so I just connected the the three top dreamcathers with twine and knotting around the hangers, but you can wrap around, add nail hangers, or glue on.

Finally make your nail hole on the wall and voila! A beautiful boho chic dreamcather any girl would love. I love the way this turned out and super excited for her room to be done since it’s been such a pouring of love and sweat to make her room just as perfect as she is (cheesy…I know). Hope you enjoy creating one of your very own!

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