Monday, September 30, 2013

DIY Halloween Banner

Posted by Tara

Last year I made it a goal to try to decorate my house more for the holidays. I realized that out of all the holidays throughout the year, I decorated for Halloween the least. (I'm terrible, I know.) I went to Hobby Lobby and picked up a small amount of supplies and decided to make a cute banner for my house! Devin loved the idea and decided to join in on making one as well. 
Here is what you'll need:

Supplies
Scissors
Scrapbook paper 12x12
Chipboard Letters
Elmer's glue
Glitter (we used purple, but you can use any color you like)
Jute or ribbon

First start with cutting your scrapbook paper. You'll want to find a template to make this process easier. Here is the one that we used, we really liked the size of it. Simply click on the picture, print, and cut out to use as your template.


Once you have your triangles ready, you will want to cut circles for your letters. We tried this without the circles and it wasn't as cute, I promise. Depending on the size of your chipboard letters, you will want to make your circles slightly larger than those. We used a large mason jar as our stencil for our circles and then cut them our with jagged-shaped scissors to add a little texture. 


Now get your chipboard and put Elmer's glue on the front. We put a lot of glue so lots of glitter would stick. The Elmer's glue really worked best for this. We tried Mod Podge and it was not successful. Allow the chipboard to dry completely before gluing to the paper.

We used jute to string ours, but feel free to use whatever you have or want. You could do any type of string or ribbon. We punched holes in our paper and threaded the string through, but I had also purchased black clothes pins that would look really cute as well. This was a super easy craft and something anyone new to DIY can do!





Linking Up With: Sew Can Do, Craft-O-Maniac, Shabby Nest, The Girl Creative, Thirty Handmade Days, Tatertots & Jello, Create and Inspire, Practically Functional

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Friday, September 27, 2013

Homemade Peach Cobbler

Posted by Tara




This recipe comes from my husband Seth's side of the family. This was his Great-Grandma Butler's cobbler recipe. In her last days before she passed, one of her favorite things to do was make cobbler for the family.  I never had the chance to meet her, but I sure would have liked to. This recipe is simple and delicious.

Here are some of the main ingredients.


First preheat your oven to 375 and peel as many peaches needed to cover the bottom of your pan. I show quite a few here, but most of this was eaten before getting to the pan.

After slicing the peaches, place in the bottom of a 10x7 pan. I actually don't have one (I know what you're thinking) so I decided to use this round one. It totally works in whatever pan you have. Just remember if you go smaller in size on the pan, it may flow over.

Then mix flour, sugar, butter, salt, and milk together in a separate bowl. It will be thick.


Next pour the thick batter on your fruit and lightly spread it around. Mix your other cup of sugar and cornstarch together and pour on top of fruit. I know you are thinking this is A LOT of sugar, but I promise you it is soo worth it in the end!!

Then pour your 2/3 cup of boiling water on top of sugar. Make sure all the sugar is saturated.


Put it in the oven and bake for 45 minutes.

Grandma Butler's Fruit Cobbler Recipe
3/4 cup sugar
3 Tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
1 cup flour
Fruit of Choice (any kind, canned or fresh)

1 cup sugar
1 TBSP cornstarch

Cover bottom of pan (10x7) with fruit. If using canned fruit, drain first. 
Mix all above ingredients (except fruit and cup of sugar and cornstarch). It will be quite thick. Pour over fruit.  
Now mix 1 cup sugar and 1 Tbsp of cornstarch and sprinkle over top of batter.
Pour 2/3 cup boiling water over top. Bake at 375 for 45 min. 


Enjoy this warm and delicious treat!!

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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Fall Fashion

Posted by Devin & Tara
 
This post is being featured today over at Hi It's Jilly! We are thrilled to be a part of her Fall in Love with Fall Series! All month long she will be sharing fun Fall crafts, decor, and recipes from different bloggers. You're definitely going to want to check it out!


We could not be more excited for Fall. Cooler weather, pumpkin-flavored treats, hot cocoa, Halloween fun, and of course... the switch to our warmer wardrobes. After a long hot summer here in AZ, we are always ready to break out our scarves and boots and sweaters and hats as soon as the weather becomes crisp. Unfortunately for us, that sometimes doesn't hit until early November. Although our temps aren't there yet, we are READY! So here's a look at some of our favorite things we are looking forward to wearing soon!


Devin took a summer tunic she recently found on clearance at Target and gave it a Fall look. By adding a long sleeved shirt, leggings, and boots, it makes a quick transition into a bright and fun Fall outfit. Cooler weather doesn't always mean we have to stow away our summer pieces and brightly colored clothing. Have fun mixing it up!
 

What Devin Wore:
Coral Tunic - Target (Clearance)
Leggings & Boots - Gift
White Shirt - Kohl's
Hat - Target
Turquoise Necklace - JC Penney
Belt - Inherited from Grandmother
 

Tara decided to show a more casual look for Fall. The sweater she wore was a gift from her mother-in-law which she layered over a chambray shirt. Pair that with some dark denim jeans and nice boots and you are good to go!





What Tara Wore:
Chambray Top: H&M
Sweater: Gift
Necklace: Charming Charlies 
Jeans: Decree (Buckle)
Boots: Gift

Photography by Caitlin Nalder Photography.

Linking Up With:
Real Girl Glam
The Pleated Poppy
Style Elixir
Because Shanna Said So

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Monday, September 23, 2013

Simple & Delicious Barbeque Meatloaf

Posted by Devin



This recipe is straight from my Mom's kitchen. The first time Jake ate it at her house years ago he said "You must get that recipe. That is the best meatloaf I have ever had." She never really gave me exact measurements but it ALWAYS turns out delicious. I don't think you can screw it up!

This is a favorite in my home because it has 2 things all 5 of my guys love: ground beef and lots of barbeque sauce. And it's so quick and easy to prepare that I am always more than happy to add it to our menu! I used to make this recipe with only 1 pound of ground beef but now I have had to double it to feed my growing family (so the recipe below is family size). My oldest boy is only 9, let's hope I never have to triple the recipe! I think I draw the line at doubling it... So without further ado, here it is! Click here for the printable recipe.

Ingredients:
2 lbs ground beef
2 eggs
1 1/4 c. bread crumbs
1 1/4 c. barbeque sauce (plus extra to top loaf with before baking)
1 Tbsp. dried onion
1 tsp. garlic powder
pepper
Note: You can adjust the amount of bread crumbs and barbeque sauce to suit your tastes. Just make sure it's not too dry and not too sloppy or loose, it needs to stick together.
Spray a 9x13" casserole dish with cooking spray and add a tad of water. Just a little splash.
Put the ground beef, eggs, bread crumbs, and barbeque sauce into a large bowl and mix with your hands. (I know it's cold and greasy and kind-of gross, but you can do it! It's really the best method. Oh, and don't forget to wash your hands. Before AND after.)

Now add the seasonings and mix again. (Sorry! You have to repeat the hand washing thing... Really, it's the only down-side to meatloaf, though.)
Put the beef mixture into your casserole dish and press evenly around the pan.
Drizzle extra barbeque sauce over the top of the meatloaf and spread with a fork.
I didn't drizzle enough to suit me the first time so I drizzled some more and spread it with the fork again.

Now we're talking! Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.
Whip up a few side dishes and you're ready to go! I have this weird thing where I think the only appropriate side dishes are peas and mashed potatoes and gravy, but please feel free to make whatever side dishes your heart desires! I will try not to judge, lol! ;)



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Friday, September 20, 2013

Guilt-Free Creamy Pumpkin Pasta





Guilt-Free Creamy Pumpkin Pasta
In case you haven’t noticed, the transition from summer into fall has officially begun. Pumpkins are beginning to pop up at every grocery store, coffee shops are heavily advertising their hot and foamy seasonal drinks, and Pinterest is overrun with hearty comfort food dinners, along with snacks and appetizers for football games.
Fall is an exciting time of year, but its focus on heavy comfort foods can make it tricky for families trying to eat nutritiously—especially during the busy back-to-school season. While a pumpkin latte or cheesy spinach dip makes a great indulgence for the cooler weather, most fall comfort foods aren’t the best at contributing to healthy eating. Hearty, creamy casseroles are typically packed with high-fat sour cream, lots cheese and high salt levels, while all those yummy pumpkin pastries your kids beg you for are loaded with butter and sugar.
Luckily it’s possible to enjoy hearty, stick-to-your-ribs comfort food this fall without completely deviating from nutritious eating, and one of the best ways to do so is actually with one of fall’s most popular flavors: pumpkin. Pumpkin is technically a fruit, so if you cook it right, it can make a delicious addition to all kinds of cozy fall meals, from pumpkin chili to pumpkin pasta like the recipe below. And, its creamy texture will fool you and your kids into thinking that you’re eating something much unhealthier than it actually is!
This Guilt-Free Creamy Pumpkin Pasta is one of those easy recipes for dinner that you’ll find yourself making over and over again this fall. Each serving is less than 350 calories, but this dish tastes much more decadent than that thanks to a smidge of cream cheese and lots of creamy, healthy pumpkin. Kids will love this healthier spin on mac-and-cheese (the orange color will have them fooled!) and you’ll love the dish’s nutritional benefits, quick cooking time, budget-friendly ingredients and, of course, delicious taste. Try it out this fall and enjoy!
Guilt-Free Creamy Pumpkin Pasta
(Recipe from ReadySetEat.com)
Total Time: 30 minutes
Serves: 4
Calories per Serving: 336
  • 8 ounces dry penne pasta, uncooked
  • 1 cup solid-pack pumpkin
  • 1/3 cup fat free milk
• 3 tablespoons chive and onion cream cheese spread
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup Egg Beaters® Original
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
Cook pasta according to package directions. While pasta is cooking, combine pumpkin, milk, cream cheese spread, garlic salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Cover with microwave-safe plastic wrap and microwave on high for 1 to 2 minutes or until warm and cheese melts when stirred. Slowly whisk Egg Beaters into the pumpkin mixture and set aside.
Combine cooked pasta, pumpkin mixture and 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese. Stir to combine and heat over low heat for 1 to 2 minutes or until hot. Sprinkle remaining parmesan cheese over top.
Author Bio: This is a guest post by Meredith K. on behalf of ReadySetEat. Visit ReadySetEat online to find other quick and nutritious dinner ideas that can keep you and your family feeling great.

Linking Up With: Practically Functional, Just Us Four, Tatertots & Jello, Create and Inspire, Our Little Nest

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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

"I Want It That Way"

Posted By Tara


I recently had the awesome opportunity to attend a Backstreet Boys Concert. Yep, you read right! I was one of those girls from the 90's that LOVED all the boy bands! I attended a Scottsdale Mom's Night Out and won a pair of tickets! I never win anything, so you know how excited I was when they called the number on my raffle. I felt the title of this post was fitting since I got to see them LIVE!

I haven't been to a concert in years. Yes, having 5 kids keeps those concert-going days at bay. I love my kiddos, but rarely get to go out to concerts. When I called my husband Seth to tell him I won, he quickly responded with "I'll gladly watch the kids for you!" Ha! He just didn't want to be seen at the concert. 


I took my great friend Brittany John. I have known her for years! When my husband first started his business trips 3 years ago, I would call her up and have her come over for late night movies and snacks. She always helps me when I call, love her to death!


I was worried that when I got to the concert there were going to be all these little girls there and I was going to feel out of place. Well I am happy to say I was wrong. The place was filled with girls MY age! Can I just tell you how the concert ROCKED?!! I seriously had such a great time! It was so much fun! Can't wait to attend another concert (if husband and kiddos permit...). 


What I Wore:
Top: Target
Leather Pants: Gift (I think Dillards)
Shoes: Payless
Necklace: Forever 21

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Linking up with: Style Elixir, The Pleated Poppy, Transatlantic Blonde, Real Girl Glam, The Fashion Canvas

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Football Snack Tag Printables

Posted by Devin

Yesterday I posted our Soccer Snack Tags that I am using for my boys' games this season. Due to the large number of requests for Football Tags, I have whipped some up for you guys! FYI: These are not only great for kids football games, but also for NFL or football-themed parties. Simply print, cut them out, write names on the banners, and attach to either paper bags or party bags!

In my Baseball Snack Tag post from last Spring, I showed you all how you can make your own tags customized for you team. In this post I am going to show you how you can take the tags I have made and instead of simply writing your players' names on the tags, you can type them in on the computer. But first, here are the Football Tags!

 
How To Type Names on the Tags:
 
Step 1 - Open the Football Tags document.
 
Step 2 - When you open the document, zoom out and center the view so that you can see all 6 of the footballs on the screen at once. Then hit Control - Print Screen. The Print Screen button is found near the top right of your keyboard.
 
Step 3 - Open Paint on your computer. Paste your picture onto Paint (Control - V). Now use the "Select" tool to draw a rectangle around the outside of all six footballs. Copy (Control - C).
 
Step 4 -  Open a blank document on Microsoft Publisher. Hit Paste (Control - V). Now you can simply insert separate Word Art for each player's name, center them over the banners, and you are done!
 
 
I hope everyone has a fun and safe season!

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Monday, September 16, 2013

Soccer Snack Tag Printables

Posted by Devin

Due to the popularity of my Baseball Snack Tags, I thought I would share this season's snack tags as well! At our house we are in full time SOCCER mode. So if you need a quick and easy way to spruce up your team's snacks, I've got the printables for you!
 
Simply print off these Soccer Snack Tags (printable shown below), write the names of your team's players in the banners, cut them out, and attach them to paper bags with your snacks in them. Easy and cute!

 
Grab those lawn chairs and have a great season everyone!


 FYI: If you want to learn how to make your own snack tags, check out my tutorial in my Baseball Snack Tags post.

Linking Up With: Practically Functional, Just Us Four, The Shabby Nest, Tatertots & Jello

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Thursday, September 12, 2013

Easy Cheater Block Quilt

Posted by Devin


I am not a quilter. But I can make this quilt. I learned how to make these as a service project at a week-long girls' camp that I was a counselor at for our church. Girls that had never sewn before worked on this project so I figured I could make them too! I went home and gave it a try and now I have made about 6 of these, some for my boys and some for my nieces. I call it an "Easy Cheater" quilt because you use things like spray adhesive and glue sticks to put it together, leave all of the fabric edges raw, and use twin sheets for the top and bottom of the quilt. And to sew it you pretty much just have to sew a whole bunch of straight lines. Even if they're not so straight, it's ok.

What You Need:


- 1 flat twin-sized sheet for the bottom of the quilt (I like to get one with color or a pattern)
- 1 flat twin-sized sheet for the top of the quilt (plain white or off-white is best)
- twin-sized Quilter's batting (it MUST be Quilter's batting, which is thinner and more condensed than other, fluffier battings)
- 160 5" fabric squares* (this is for a quilt that has 10 x 16 rows, sometimes my quilts end up with a few more or a few less depending on how it works out)
- multipurpose spray adhesive (cheaper than craft spray adhesive and works just as well)
- disappearing ink fabric pen
- large glue sticks (2-3)
- clear acrylic quilting and sewing ruler (you could probably figure out how to make the quilt without this, but for me it's a must have)
- rotary fabric cutter (again, you could just use scissors but this saves so much time and energy)
- white thread

(* I recommend buying fabric squares from Fat Quarter Shop. They have high quality quilting fabric that won't fade and they sell charm packs that are already cut into 5x5" squares. Also, the prints are beautiful and come in already matching sets with a variety of patterns. The prices are a bit more expensive than other fabrics you can find, but if you are going to go through the trouble of making a quilt, you should get the best fabrics. And sometimes you can find their charm packs on Ebay at discounted prices. Also, I like to use about 10 different fabrics on the quilt to make the pattern interesting.)

Step 1: Lay Out the Bottom Sheet
Lay your flat sheet for the bottom of the quilt face down on the floor. Smooth it out and tape all of the edges to the ground using masking tape (I only had painter's tape so I used that instead).


Step 2. Attach the Batting
Place the batting over the bottom flat sheet so that it covers the sheet. Fold back one half of the batting and spray everything showing (half of the sheet and half of the batting) with spray adhesive. Carefully fold the batting back over the sheet, smoothing out any wrinkles as you go. The spray adhesive will make it stick together pretty quickly, so try not to accidentally drop it in the wrong place when you are folding it back over. (If you have a friend available to help you with this it's a little easier. You each grab a corner and fold it over at the same time and then get down and press it smooth with your hands.) Now fold back the other half and again spray everything showing with the spray adhesive. Repeat the process of carefully folding the batting back over, smoothing it as you go. You can see there are some wrinkles when you're done, but a few won't really matter.


Step 3. Attach the Top Sheet
Take your plain white top sheet and lay it over the batting. Repeat the process in Step 2 of folding the top sheet over one half at a time, spraying it with the spray adhesive, and smoothing it out as you lay it back over. After you have sprayed it all and smoothed it together there will probably be some wrinkles, but it does not need to be perfect. It won't matter in the end, just make it as smooth as you can get it.


Step 4. Mark the Top Sheet
At one corner, find the point where the bottom sheet, batting, and top sheet all meet to make a corner. This will make more sense when you have it laid out and are looking at it. Take a long piece of yarn and run it from one corner to the opposite corner. Use your disappearing ink pen to mark the line near the middle of the quilt. Now do the same thing with the thread between the other two corners, marking the middle where the lines cross.


Now that you have an X marking the center of the quilt, it is time to draw out a grid of squares which will show you where to place your fabric pieces. Take your ruler and make your first horizontal and vertical lines perpendicular to each other starting at the center. You'll want to keep everything as parallel and perpendicular to the edges of the quilt as possible. Once you have your first 2 lines marking the center (crossed like a T), you begin drawing your lines 5 1/2" apart going both directions until you have made the grid pattern on the whole top of the sheet. Use your acrylic ruler to draw the lines and keep them all perpendicular and parallel to each other. You will want to stop drawing lines when you are no less than 1 1/2" away from the edge of the quilt (the edge being the edge of either the bottom or top sheet or the batting, which ever is closest). 


Step 5: Lay Out Your Fabric Squares
Pick a corner of your grid squares (top left, top right, bottom left, bottom right) and begin placing your fabric pieces in the same corner of each square. This is my favorite step because I get to use my artsy-side and design how I want the pattern to look. I usually go for random which is actually quite difficult to achieve sometimes. But I enjoy the challenge.


Step 6. Glue On The Fabric Squares
Now that you have the squares placed how you want them, it is time to stick them down using the glue sticks. I like to pick up each square, draw a box with an X in it on the top sheet with the glue stick, and then place the square on the glue.


Step 7. Cutting Out the Quilt
Take your acrylic ruler and measure and draw a line 1 1/2" away from the edges of your fabric squares all the way around the edges of the quilt. For this quilt I actually measured 2" all the way around the edge, just to make it slightly larger since I had the room to do it. Once your lines are drawn all the way around, cut out the quilt following your lines.


Roll your quilt up to prepare to sew it together. At this point, you may want to give your floor a good cleaning since it is probably covered with spray adhesive and batting fuzz.


Step 8: Sew Your Quilt Together
So finally it's time to sew. This is pretty simple. You sew lines along the edges of the fabric squares, making a line all the way down each edge of the row of squares. I usually start with the short width of the quilt and sew all of my lines along the two edges of each of the rows of squares. After I have finished sewing in the short direction, I turn my quilt and begin sewing all of the lines in the long direction, making sure to sew lines on both edges of each of the rows of fabric squares.


I like to keep my quilt rolled up while I'm sewing so it's easier to maneuver. Also, I fold the blanket up on my lap like an accordion while I'm pushing it through so the weight of the quilt is not hanging off of the table and pulling on the needle. The hardest lines to sew are in the middle of the quilt because of the bulk of rolled up fabric and batting on either side. But keeping the quilt rolled in this way really makes it as easy as possible to get those middle lines sewn.

Step 9: Bind the Edges
Now every fabric square on your quilt should be sewn down on all 4 edges, with numerous thread lines running the length and width of your quilt. To bind the edges, begin by cutting out 2" strips of fabric. It really doesn't matter how long the strips are, just cut them as long as you can get them. Iron the fabric strips in half, lengthwise. Then simply fold them over the edges of the quilt and sew them on. When you run out of a strip of fabric, overlap another one about 1/2" and begin sewing it on. When you reach a corner, cut the strip off and turn it to start the next edge. Go all the way around until it's done!


Step 10: Wash & Dry the Quilt and Cut Off Hanging Threads
The very last step. Put your finished quilt through a cycle on your washing machine. You do not need to use soap. Dry it in the dryer. When it comes out, the raw fabric edges will be raveled and frayed and you will need to take scissors and cut off all of the hanging threads. The raw edges and wrinkly fabric give it a really great antique look, I love it!

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