Straw Paws

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Hi everybody! I know it’s been a while since my last blog post… but a very close friend of mine just created her own invention! {How awesome is that!?} I am so excited and proud of her that I wanted to take the time and share her invention with you.

Straw Paws™ was invented by Briana (and Scott) with the inspiration of their son Scotty who happens to be the cutest most loving 4 year old I know. One of his favorite things to love on are his favorite stuffed animals. No matter where we go, his stuffed animal friends are always by his side.

Scotty always had a habit of misplacing his sippy cup and it would drive Briana {crazy} she would search high and low and all around until it was found. She wondered why he couldn’t keep his sippy cup as close to him as his favorite stuffed animals. To solve this problem, Briana and Scott created a super cute plush stuffed animal that doubles as a sippy cup so that Scotty would always have both! And this folks is how Straw Paws™ came about!

Briana has decided to bring her versatile idea to the public and you can be one of the first in line to get one! You can visit StrawPaws.com and get one just in time for the holiday season!

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Here are just a few amazing benefits of getting your loved one Straw Paws ™

~Make drinking water exciting and fun!

~The straw is spill proof, unlike regular sippy cups, the Straw Paws™ straw does not leak around the house. It even has a cover to protect the mouthpiece during all your Straw Paws™ adventures.

~ Easy to clean with an extra large opening in it’s water reservoir pouch so mommy or daddy can easily clean it.

~ A cute and cuddly friend that is kid safe and provides a source of hydration.

Everyone has been so amazed that Briana and Scott came up with something so awesome, cute, and handy for their child and can’t wait to get one for their children too!

You can get your very own Straw Paws ™today by clinking on the link to their website HERE

There are three different Straw Paws™ to choose from

 

The best ever {Strawberry Jam}

Last weekend we finally made it to the U-Pick strawberry farm just in time to pick {the very last strawberries}. We’ve been so busy this summer, but I was determined to get there before the strawberry picking “season” came to an end. We made it just in time, it was like playing “Where’s Waldo” … I wasn’t leaving empty handed!

I’ve been trying to come up will all different ways to use our fresh picked strawberries and decided to give homemade jam a try. It was pretty easy and tasted amazing!!

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The best ever *Strawberry Jam*

  • 4 cups of freshly picked strawberries
  • 4 cups of white sugar
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
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  • Mix the sugar and lemon juice in a large saucepan on low heat until it melts and gets bubbly.IMG_20150705_154304878
    Cut up the strawberries into little chunks so it’s easier to boil down.
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  • Next, mix in the chunks of strawberries with the sugar and lemon juice. Make sure to stir frequently.
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  • Meanwhile, bring the jars to a boil in a big pot to get them ready for the hot jam and canning process.
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  • After the strawberry mixture has boiled for about 25-30 minutes or until it reaches 220 degrees, check to see if it sticks to the spatula without falling right off and has a jelly consistency. If it does, then it’s ready to be put into jars.
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  • Make sure to leave about 1/2 inch at the top of each jar to allow enough air to escape during the canning process.
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  • Bring the jars back to a boil in the pot for about 5 more minutes. You will begin to see the air bubbles come out of the top.

Allow the jars to cool completely for a couple of hours. You can check the seal on the jars by first seeing if the indent on the top is pushed in. Secondly, you can unscrew the jar lid and carefully lift up on the disc. If that does not come off, they’re sealed. Once the jars and jelly are set you can refrigerate or freeze & Enjoy!

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~Quick Bread: Cinnamon Swirl Bread

Fall is officially here in upstate New York { if you ask me} . The leaves are changing color and the days are getting colder & shorter. As much as I will miss the sunny summer, I am so ready for the fall time. Something about a cold fall day screams time crank up the oven and get the house warm with some fresh baked goodies.

Today, I baked this lovely quick bread, you know the kind that doesn’t involve using yeast. Anything that is easier is better in my book, especially if it still tastes amazing. This bread is sweet and fluffy, much of the texture of a cake. Mmm it’s the perfect fall time treat.
Cinnamon Swirl Quick Bread

Ingredients

    • 2 cups flour
    • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
    • 1/2 cup brown sugar
    • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
    • 1 tsp baking soda
    • 1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil
    • 1 cup sour cream
    • 3 eggs, beaten
    • 2 tsp vanilla extract
For the Cinnamon Swirl:
    • 2/3 cup sugar
    • 1 tbsp cinnamon
For the Crumble Topping:
    • 1/2 cup flour
    • 1/4 cup sugar
    • 1/4 cup butter, softened
    • 1 tsp cinnamon
For the Simple Glaze:
  • 2/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp water

1. In a large bowl, mix together the dry ingredients:  flour, sugars, baking powder and baking soda with a whisk until evenly distributed.
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2. Add oil, mix until small lumps begin to form.  Then add the sour cream, beaten eggs, and vanilla. Mix just until batter begins to form, do not over mix. (Batter will appear lumpy, and that is okay!)

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3. Now for the cinnamon swirl, mix together the sugar and cinnamon.
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4. Add 1/3 of the batter to the bread pan, then layer 1/2 of the cinnamon swirl on top of it. Take another 1/3 of the batter and do the same thing.
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5. Add the rest of the remaining batter on top of that. Now time to prepare the cinnamon crumble. Mix together the flour, sugar and cinnamon. Use a pastry blender to cut in the soften butter until a nice crumbly texture appears.
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If you don’t have one, that’s okay. Mix together then shift it using a fork.

6. Add the crumble on top of the batter and bake at 350 degrees for about 65 minutes. Or until toothpick inserted into bread comes out clean.
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7. Once it’s all done baking allow it to cool for a few minutes. In the mean time mix up the glaze. Pour it into a zip-lock baggy and cut a small section off the corner of it to squeeze onto the warm bread {just before serving}.
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The cinnamon swirls bake all by themselves.

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This bread makes the perfect fall dessert. I Hope you enjoy this lovely treat as much as we did!

Cinnamon Swirl Quick Bread

 

 

 

 

 

 

Recipe was found originally on Pinterest. I borrowed it from the blog of: http://www.somethingswanky.com/cinnamon-swirl-quick-bread/

Review: EOS Ultra Moisturizing Shaving Cream

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I’ve had my eyes on this new shaving cream since it hit the shelves at Wal-Mart. The EOS brand is famous for their lip-balm. The kind that comes in a circle ball, you have probably seen them in the checkout line… if you haven’t tried them yourself they’re super moisturizing and come in many different flavors.

So, I’ve been thinking to myself.. if the lip balms are so great the shaving cream must be too. The only thing holding me back was the price, while $3.50 is cheap, it’s twice as much as most of the other brands. And to be honest, I wanted to spend my money elsewhere (than on a product used to shave my legs).

A few weeks went bye, and my shaving cream at home ran out… so I decided to give it a try. At first I noticed a pretty pleasant smell, and an ever so soft, so rich shaving cream that came out of a pump. While applying it to my legs it felt nice, but like I said rich.. So you need to use twice as much as you normally would of the leading kind. When shaving the cream gets clogged in my razor, which is annoying when your in a rush and have to keep rinsing it under the water. It did leave my legs soft, but not any softer than normal.

With that said, I will not be buying this product again. I find myself annoyed by how thick it is, and how many times I need pump out the product, which gets stuck I might add from the thickness of the product, that the cons out way the pros (great smell, rich cream). And like I said.. this stuff is not cheap compared to other brands. It’s a “No Go” for me.

{Cherry-Pie} Cookie Bars

Love a homemade cherry pie and baked sugar cookies? Then you will die for these Cherry-Pie Cookie Bars!
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Mmm mmm mmm the buttery-sugary dough taste amazing with just a touch of almond. Cherry pie filling and a glaze frosting. To die for!!! Perfect for summer time. So much easier to make than baking a homemade pie, yet has all the yummy flavor. Trust me, you’ve got to try these! You can whip them up in just under 20 minutes!

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Ingredients:

Bars~

  •  1 cup butter (softened)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp. almond extract
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt (if unsalted butter is used)
  • 1  1/2 (21oz) cans of Cherry Pie filling

Glaze Topping~

  • 1 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp. almond extract
  • 2 tbsp. milk
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350. Mix together butter and sugar until fluffy.|
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  2. Add eggs one at a time, vanilla and almond extract, and mix until light and fluffy.
  3. Then mix in dry ingredients slowly, until well blended.
  4. Prepare a 9X13 baking pan. I recommend using parchment paper to line the pan. This makes it so much easier to take out once cooled and cut into nice squares.
  5. Use 2/3 of the batter and line the bottom of the pan with it. Smooth it out so its nice and even.
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  6. Add the cherry pie filling on top.
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  7. Use the remaining dough and spoon balls of it on top of the pie filling.
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  8. Bake for about 3o minutes or until lightly golden brown.
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  9. Allow to cool completely. Once cooled prepare the glaze topping.
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  10. Blend together until you get the consistency you like. For easy application I use a plastic ziplock baggie over a cup, then pour the glaze into it.
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  11. Ziplock the baggie up, cut a small corner off and use
    to glaze the top of the cherry-pie bars!
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    * You can try this same recipe with many other pie fillings too! My other personal favorite its blueberry and lemon extract (instead of almond) Just as amazing!!*

Spring Themed Mantel

Yay! Spring is finally here. I know it may not feel like it outside just yet, but I am so ready to pack away my winter boots/coats and start wearing bright colors again. Bring on the warm weather and sunshine please!
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Like always most of my decorations are DIY projects. I buy most of my goodies at Hobby Lobby or Joann’s. This time around I found some cute and affordable decor at the dollar store!

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To make an Easter banner ~ I used some burlap paper and cut into bunting shapes. I then cut out some egg shapes from sparkle scrapbook paper and added scrapbook letters to spell out Easter.

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What’s your favorite DIY tool? Mine would have to be the hot glue-gun it can do wonders.

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Cute bunny decor, an egg in a mini pot, and candle pillar with a scrapbook shaped egg go on the right side of my spring themed mantel, oh and picture of my love and myself. 😉

In the middle of the mantel is our initials, I use these in each mantel theme, if you haven’t noticed already. I bought them at Hobby Lobby.

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Okay, so this cute Easter wreath was only $10 at Dollar General! Normally, I make my own wreath but it was such a steal I could not pass it up. I hang it in the center of my mirror above the mantel, using a suction cup wreath holder (you can find these at Hobby Lobby too).

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On the right side of the mantle we have another bunny, an Easter egg tree from Dollar General (only $4), some egg M&Ms, and a cute Easter sign from Joann’s.

Decorating is so much fun and can be affordable. Follow my easy steps to make yours today.Remember –you don’t have to spend a fortune to make your house feel like a home.

 

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St. Patrick’s Day Mantel

Here is our St. Patty’s Day themed mantel…

But first, take a look at our mantel before:
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We have our initials and an “&” sign that is up pretty much year round {as they seem to go with all of our holiday decor}, a big mirror lays on the wall behind them. And a homemade DIY sign hangs above them, that says “Faith, Hope & Love, and the greatest of these is love.” Pretty boring without any decorations.. right?

Follow my easy steps to see how I transformed it into this:
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Much more cozy right?

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Here’s what you will need:
– grapevine wreath $3.99
– burlap ribbon (wide with no wires) $5.99 (you can use 40% off coupon)
– holiday themed florals $1.99 each (about 3-5 will do)
– wood letter to make it personalized $1.99
– craft paint $1.09
and some string to tie the bow on.

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You can weave the floral as a whole in and out of the grapevine wreath, or you can break it apart into pieces and add then individually.
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I did mine as individual pieces, and weaved them around the entire wreath.
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This is 3 of the st. patty’s themed florals. I think it’s plenty but you can use more if you wish. You shouldn’t need to tie them to the wreath if you intertwine them.
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Paint wood letters with craft paint. Allow to dry and do a second coat.
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Make a bow with the burlap ribbon, and tie to the wreath using some string. I also attach the letter with the string as well, and added a bow ontop of it to cover it up. I used fish line to attach the big center shamrock I found at Joann’s for $2.99 to complete my wreath.

Now for the banner:
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You will need:
-Burlap paper (Joann’s sell it in the scrapbook area) $5.99 (again use 40% off coupon)
– Scrapbook paper for the shamrocks
– hot glue gun
– string
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Print out a shamrock to use as a template. Use scrapbook paper for shamrock cut outs you will need 7 cut outs.
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Here is what the burlap paper looks like, you can make three banners out of this so its a good deal even without the coupon. I used the back cardboard piece and cut it out as a template for my banner shape.
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Using a hot glue gun, glue the shamrock cut outs in the middle of each cut out banner.
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Then fold about an inch of the top of banner over onto the back, next we will tuck the string under it and glue it with a hot glue gun.
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Space the next one about and inch apart from the first and so on.
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Make sure to leave about a foot of string in the beginning and the end so you can hang it up. You can cut the extra off later.

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Using your shamrock template cut an extra one out to use as a decoration on a green pillar candle. Wrap some string around the candle and tuck the shamrock under it. Tie it with a bow and add some hot glue under the bow to secure it. Quick and easy!

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I always like wood signs that are holiday themed, why do they have to be so expensive? Here’s an easy alternative- print out a sign using Microsoft word onto paper and glue it to some cardboard.
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Here is my valentines day sign next to it.
Add some string and another shamrock with some hot glue, and ta-da! Cheap sign!

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Finish off the look and add some St. Patty’s day candy decor…
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I found some mint flavored m&m’s that just happened to be green colored. YAY!

And there you have it 🙂 Make your {DIY} St. Patrick’s Day Mantel today!

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National Margarita Day {Stawberry Margarita}

Did you know today, February 22 and the 22nd of February every year,  is National Margarita Day?  Yup 🙂 You can bet that when I found out I went and took a little shopping trip to celebrate! HAHA… but no, seriously I did! It’s one of my favorite drinks, you can have it on the rocks or frozen. It’s also the most common tequila based cocktail in America. The drink comes in many different flavors, the two most common are lime and strawberry.

Follow my easy steps on creating a Strawberry Margarita to celebrate with your friends today!
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For a beginner I suggest using a margarita mix you can buy from your local grocery store or liqueur store. You will also need 2 cups of ice, 1 1/2 oz of tequila, 4 oz mix, and 1/2 cup frozen or fresh strawberries. Lime and margarita salt to garnish as well.

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Mix up all ingredients up in a blender until smooth.

You can also buy margarita salt for about $1 at Wal-mart to garnish the rim of your margarita glasses. To do this slice a lime, then take the lime slice and circle the rim of your glass with it until wet, then dip the rim into some of the salt. This adds a nice garnish and flavor to the drink.
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You can also use sugar if you prefer a sweeter taste.
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Then fill the garnished glasses with your margarita mix and garnish with lime slices and strawberries! Ta-da~ you’re now on your way to being a pro bartender today 😉

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After a few of these babies, I am so looking forward to summer time!

If you would rather a more tradition recipe skip the pre-made margarita mix, and use 2 oz triple sec and 2 0z lime juice instead 🙂

 

 

Oreo {Peanut-Butter} Pie .. No Bake!

Here is an easy no bake pie recipe.  It has a super easy crust made out of oreo’s {mmm} and a layer of peanut-butter filling, topped with mini peanut-butter cups, then a layer of chocolate pudding, and then topped with more peanut-butter cups. Yes, it’s delicious as it sounds!

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What you need:

1 package of “Oreo’s”
1 bag mini peanut-butter cups
1 (16oz) whipped cream topping
1 (8oz) package of cream cheese
1/2 cup peanut-butter
1 box of chocolate fudge instant pudding
1 1/2 cup confectionary sugar
1 cup milk
1/4 cup butter (or half a stick, melted)

Here’s how to make it:
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Line a 9 by 13 pan with some parchment paper (this step is not necessary, but I prefer it so it keeps the pan cleaner and so the crust does not stick).

  1. Take 2 rows of Oreo’s from the package and crush them up into fine pieces. I used a food processor but you can also put them in a zip block bag and smash them with a rolling pin. Mix with 1/4 cup melted butter.
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  2. Line the pan with the crust and set aside. Like so- it’s okay if you have some larger chunks of cookies – it will not ruin the flavor 😉
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  3. In a separate bowl mix together peanut-butter and softened cream cheese (you can put it into the microwave for about 15sec to help soften). You make want to use a hand mixer to help mix together easier.
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  4. Mix in the confectionary sugar it may look crumbly – that is okay.
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  5. Fold in half whipped topping. Then place on top of the crust.
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  6. Cut mini peanut-butter cups in half or 4ths and add on top of the peanut-butter layer.
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  7. Now in a separate bowl mix the instant pudding and 1 cup cold milk. Using hand mixer will make this more fluffy. Then fold in remaining whipped topping.
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  8. Add this to the top of the peanut-butter cup layer
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  9. Lastly, garnish with left over Oreo’s cut into pieces and peanut-butter cups. Allow to set in the refrigerator for at least 3 hrs.
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  10. Enjoy!
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