Friday, February 28, 2014

How to Upcycle Old Candles

Today I found all of the candles I have collected since we moved to Naples. Recently I switched over to a wax warmer because they are much safer and more decorative. I still wanted to keep all of my favorite scents, but I needed to downsize...somehow. 
So..I used the same concept of a wax warmer and melted down the candles into fewer jars. 

Upcycle With Old Candles

Supplies you will need...
Candles that are almost empty
Long wicks ($3 at Hobby Lobby)
Glass jars or mason jars (Dollar Store)
Oven mitts

1. Determine what scents and colors you want to use.  Stick with ones that will go well together, you will be layering them later on. 

2. Fill a saucepan with water, a quarter to half-way full. Heat the water until the water is hot, but not simmering or boiling. Carefully place a candle into the water. The candle will begin to melt. Do not allow the water to flow inside of the candle. 

3. Once the candle has melted a bit, dip the end of the wick into the wax, then into the glass jar you will be using as your new candle.  This will help the wick stand up straight. 

4. Once the wax has fully melted, use your tongs to lift the candle out of the water, then use the oven mitts to help you pour the wax into the new glass jar. If you have Ove Gloves they will work wonders for this step!

5. Allow each layer to fully cool before pouring the next.  If you don't, the wax will combine and make a gross color.  I learned the hard way with the first one I made.  

When you are done creating all the layers and the last layer has cooled, cut the wick to the length you want.

Enjoy your new candle with all your favorite scents!

(Don't forget to clean out and save the old jars for future projects!)

One Dish Maple Dijon Baked Chicken Legs with Potatoes

One dish dinners are my favorite dinners to make.  I used to never cook chicken legs, mainly because I never knew what to marinate them in and could never find a recipe my Hubby and I both liked. But, I finally found one and gave it a try. Maple Dijon Baked Chicken Legs with Potatoes is absolutely delicious and so easy to make! Even my Hubby could do it, that is, if he had to. It makes the entire house smell divine when it's baking away in the oven. This is one of my favorite dinners to make when I don't want to make a big fuss over dinner. Plus, the ingredients are so simple, I always know I will have the ingredients in my pantry. It is seriously the perfect recipe for busy on the go families.

Maple Dijon Baked Chicken Legs with Potatoes
Photo and recipe come from Food Family Finds

1/4 cup Dijon mustard
4 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons extra light olive oil
1/8 teaspoon ground oregano
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons fresh flat leaf parsley, finely chopped (I use dried parsley)
4 chicken legs
1 pound red-skinned potatoes, cut into 1/4 inch cubes
2 tablespoons extra light olive oil
pinch of salt and black pepper

In a small bowl, mix together the mustard, syrup, olive oil, oregano, pepper, salt and parsley until combined.

Add the chicken legs and marinade to a 1 gallon Ziplock bag, close and toss to coat.  Refrigerate for at least one hour or up to 24 hours. (Or until you come home from work and school)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Line a casserole dish with non-stick foil.

In a bowl, toss potatoes with olive oil, salt and pepper.

Add potatoes to the foil lined baking dish.  Place chicken legs over the potatoes, spaced evenly. 

Bake uncovered for 40 minutes.

Turn broiler on and broil for up to 5 minutes, just until skin browns. (Do not look away)

Insanely Easy Chocolate Covered Pretzels

I spent most of yesterday cleaning and doing laundry, but I still managed to get some baking done. Well, I guess you can't consider this baking, since there is no oven or fancy tools required.
I was looking for something sweet and salty to snack on and I created just that. These chocolate covered pretzels can be made for any occasion.  I obviously made these as another recipe we can all use at our Easter dessert table, or goodies to put in the kids Easter Baskets. I have yet to find Easter sprinkles in the grocery stores here, so I resorted to rainbow color, again. This recipe would also be great if you're having a St. Patrick's Day party! Just tint all the chocolate green and decorate with festive sprinkles.  

Insanely Easy Chocolate Covered Pretzels

4 squares of Almond Bark (vanilla flavored white chocolate)
1 tablespoon shortening
Food colouring 
Festive decorations

In a medium sized glass bowl, melt the Almond Bark and shortening in the microwave. I usually do 30 second increments, so I don't over melt the chocolate - you do not want that. In the meantime, line baking sheets with parchment paper or tin foil. After all the chocolate has melted, divide into small ramekins or bowls - I used three since I used three colors, then tint the chocolate to the colors you want to use. Dip each pretzel into the chocolate until it is fully coated. Lay the pretzels flat onto the prepared baking sheets and decorate with sprinkles. Once all the pretzels have been dipped and decorated, place the baking sheets in the refrigerator for 10 minutes to allow the chocolate to harden.  

Thursday, February 27, 2014

35 Things to Hide In Easter Eggs

Growing up my grandmother made Easter so special for my cousins and I. Every Easter we had hidden Easter Eggs in the backyard and hidden Easter baskets inside - after we had found all our eggs of course. She was such an incredible woman and made every holiday very special. I hope to carry on the same traditions in my family someday.
Today, there are so many different items that can fit inside Easter Eggs, you just have to be creative.
  • Stickers
  • Character band-aids
  • Magnetic Letters spelling out their name
  • Puzzle pieces
  • Finger puppets
  • Lip gloss
  • Bouncy Balls
  • Marbles
  • Legos
  • Glitter shakers
  • Glitter glue
  • Wind up toys
  • Army men
  • Toy cars
  • Hair ties
  • Necklaces
  • Slime
  • Play-Doh
  • Silly putty
  • Temporary tattoos
  • Dollar bills
  • Coins
  • Mini water gun
  • Tiny Bubbles
  • A yo-yo
  • A whistle
  • Balloons
  • Fruit snacks
  • Nail polish
  • Clues to find their Easter Basket
  • Mini slinkies
  • Silly-bandz
  • Chuck-E Cheese tokens
  • Goldfish crackers
  • Teddy Grahams 

Easter Marshmallow Bark

This recipe has been sitting in my Pinterest archives for a couple of weeks now.  It comes from the blog Butter with a side of Bread.  I however will not be making this recipe this year, since it will only be Hubby and I for Easter. But maybe you will!  A big pan of white chocolate deliciousness is just too much for us.  It looks sooo good though.  If you do happen to make this, please let me know how it tastes!

Easter Marshmallow Bark
Photos and recipe come from Butter with a side of Bread

1 bag white chocolate chips (12 oz)
3 cups multi-color miniature marshmallows
about 1 tablespoon shortening (makes melting the chocolate a lot easier)
Easter sprinkles or any fun sprinkles you have for decoration

Measure 3 cups of marshmallows.  Line an 8x11 glass dish or half sized cookie sheet with parchment paper.
Place the white chocolate chips and shortening into a medium sized glass bowl. Heat in the microwave for 1 minute. Gently stir the chocolate chips, and return them to the microwave for 30 second increments until the chocolate is fully melted when you stir it. 
After the chocolate has melted, add the marshmallow and stir to coat. You'll want to do this quickly and be sure the chocolate coats all the marshmallows. If you take too long, the marshmallows will begin to melt, which you do not want.
Transfer the chocolate marshmallows to the prepared pan. Use a rubber spatula to evenly spread out the mixture to the sides of the pans. Decorate with any sprinkles you'd like and immediately place the pan in the freezer for 20 minutes to allow the chocolate to cool. You'll want to use the freezer because this will prevent the marshmallows from melting. 
Remove from the freezer and allow to return to room temperature. If you want cut out shapes, use metal cookie cutters, or cut them into squares.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Upcycle Your Empty Wine Bottles

I spent my morning upcycling again. This time I used empty wine bottles. They are great to use for centerpieces in a DIY wedding, a decorative piece in your home, or a housewarming gift for first time home buyers.

DIY Shabby Chic Wine Bottle
Supplies you will need...
Modge Podge
Sponge or paint brush
Lace ribbon
Flowers (found in paper crafting aisle) 
Hot Glue Gun

Remove all the labels, rinse out and allow to dry overnight. 
Starting at the top of the wine bottle apply a thin coat of modge podge. Take the twine and start wrapping it tightly around the bottle, pushing each layer into the last; you want to cover all of the glass. The glue will dry fast so work quickly. Apply more modge podge if its needed. 
Once the modge podge has dried, use the glue gun to apply any embellishments you would like. 

For instructions on how to upcycle an old can
like the one in the picture 
please visit DIY Shabby Chic Can

More pictures of the finished product

Homemade Shamrock Shake

Have you had a Shamrock Shake this year from McDonald's yet? I haven't. They are so yummy. This year I think I'll be making my own.  After seeing this recipe and how easy it is to make your own, I'm not going to.

Photo and recipe are from Wishes and Dishes

2 cups vanilla ice cream
3/4 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon mint extract
8 drops green food coloring

Pour all the ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Makes 1 large shake or 2 medium shakes.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Bunny Bait

This is very similar to the Salted Caramel Easter Popcorn that I posted a week ago.  There are a few extra add-ins and instead of caramel, this one is made with white chocolate!  This recipe will be great in treat bags as a party favor, or served in a huge bowl at any party.  Swap out the colors of sprinkles and M&M's for different holidays. The possibilities with this recipe are endless.

Bunny Bait 
Photo and recipe from Life in the Green House

2 cups pretzels
1 bag of popcorn popped
1 package almond bark, white chocolate
1 bag of festive M&M's
2 cups Chex Cereal
1 container sprinkles

Spread pretzels, popcorn and chex onto baking sheets lined with foil. Drizzle the white chocolate over the mixture and gently stir to evenly coat. Add sprinkles, but don't stir anymore; the white chocolate will turn the sprinkles white.  Let the mixture harden on the baking sheets and then break apart.  Add the M&M's to finish it off.  

Monday, February 24, 2014

10 Things You Can Do With Paper Towel

Check out how convenient paper towels can be!

Strain grease from broth
Use a paper towel to absorb the fat.  Place a clean pot in the sink.  Put a colander or sieve in the bottom of the pot and a piece of paper towel at the bottom of the colander.  Pour the broth through into the colander.  The paper towel will collect any fat and the clean broth will strain through.

Keep frozen bread from getting soggy
Before you freeze your bread, place a piece of paper towel inside of the bag. When you're ready to thaw your bread, the paper towel will absorb the moisture while it thaws.

Keep cast-iron pots and pans rust-free
After your pots and pans are clean, place a paper towel in each one.  The paper towel will absorb any moisture that may be left.  Make sure to store your lids separately from the cast-iron, and separate those also with paper towels.

Keep produce fresher, longer
Line your vegetable bins with paper towels.  The paper towel will absorb the moisture that causes fruits and vegetables to rot.

Test viability of old seeds
Just found seeds you can't remember buying? Check the viability.  Dampen two paper towels and lay down a few seeds.  Cover with two more dampened towels. For the next two weeks, keep the towels moist.  If most of the seeds sprout, it is okay to plant the remaining seeds.

Emergency coffee filter
Place inside the coffee maker, just like you would if you had a coffee filter.

Soften brown sugar
Place your hardened brown sugar into a bowl. Cover the bowl with a dampened paper towel, and leave on the counter overnight, or in the refrigerator.  The moisture of the paper towel will be absorbed by the brown sugar.

Clean corn on the cob
Hate those silk strings left on the corn ears when you shuck them? Take a wet paper towel and run it down the corn.  It will collect all of the silk.

Grease and junk absorber
Run a piece of paper towel through a freshly oiled sewing machine.  The paper towel will absorb any extra lubricant so it won't stain your fabrics. "Open" a piece of paper towel with a can opener. It will absorb any gunk and grim that may build up on the blade and gear over time.

Remove crayon and wax marks
Place the paper towel over an iron.  Run the iron over the crayon or wax marks.  The paper towel will absorb the marks, while protecting your iron.

5 Coffee Filter Crafts for Spring and Easter

Coffee filters can be used for a wide variety of crafts. They are a great canvas to show your creativity, and can be easily painted, embellished and transformed. Here are a few crafts you can start crafting today.

Supplies you'll need
Coffee filters
Food colouring or dye (red and yellow)
Floral wire
Floral tape
Paint brush

For the full tutorial please visit...Craftberry Bush

Supplies you'll need..
An old lampshade
Coffee filter flowers
Hot glue gun
Bias tape

For the full tutorial please visit...Aunt Peaches

Supplies you'll need
Coffee filters
Watercolor paints and brushes
Watercolor iridescent medium
Craft glue
Rhinestone brads
Glass beads (bronze)

For the full tutorial please visit...Scissors and Spoons

Flower Baskets 
(great for Easter)
Supplies you'll need
Coffee filters
Food colouring (yellow)
Small bowls
Paints brush
Green leaves (from craft store)

For the full tutorial and video please visit...Martha Stewart

For the full list of supplies and tutorial please visit...Lovely Crafty Home

Saturday, February 22, 2014

DIY Glitter Magnets

Years ago I was an after school program leader for one of our local schools.  We were always trying to find new ways to keep the kids busy once their homework was finished, and at that time Pinterest did not exist.  Today, teacher's and activity leaders are so lucky to have such an awesome resource.
Back then I wish I thought of this for an activity.  It would have been the perfect project to get all the kids involved with. Yes, glitter can be messy, get on everything, and seem to never come off, but it is so much! 
Today, I spent my afternoon making Glitter Magnets out of large glass gems I picked up at Hobby Lobby the other day. (Our refrigerator needed a little makeover.) Hobby Lobby sells 2lb bags for $3.00, which leaves you with a lot of gems for the kids to get crafty with!

DIY Glitter Magnets

Supplies you will need


Large Glass Gems 
(found in the floral aisle)

Small paint brushes

Artists Varnish 
(found in the paint aisle)

Modge Podge or Glass Bond Glue
(I found glass bond glue worked the best)

Circular Magnets 
(get the strongest hold you can find)

Divide out the glitter you want to use 

On the flat surface of each gem put a thin layer of glue (glass bond) and press it into the glitter. 
I also combined colors by gently pressing the gem into one color, then into the next. 

Once all the gems have been coated in glitter,
lay them on a flat surface with the glitter facing up. 
Step away for about an hour to allow the glue to dry. 
Once the glue has dried, take your small paint brush 
and brush on a thin layer of varnish over the glitter. 
This seals the glitter, so it will not flake off and get on everything.  
Step away for about 2-3 hours until the varnish has completely dried. 
Keep the room ventilated, it has a very strong odor.
Once the varnish has completely dried, use the glass bond glue
to attach the magnets over the glitter, and allow to dry for another hour.

Here is what they will look like

How to Upcycle Old Cans

Upcycling is becoming very popular, especially in crafting. Start upcycling your old cans by turning them into shabby chic decor. Use them as office supplies, a holder for makeup brushes, or centerpieces for a DIY wedding.

DIY Shabby Chic

Supplies you will need
Twine (found in the paper crafting aisle)
An old can (clean it and take off all the paper)
Modge Podge
Hot Glue Gun (not pictured)
Brush or sponge
Flowers and Ribbon (found in the paper crafting aisle)

Brush a thin layer of modge podge around the can. Starting at the top of the can, wrap the twine around the can, pushing each row into the last; you want to cover up all the aluminum. The glue will dry fast, so work quickly. Add more modge podge if needed.
(It was hard to capture a picture of these steps. Your fingers will get messy)

Once the modge podge has dried, use the glue gun to attach any decorations you may want. 

Have fun with it!

Finished Product 

Friday, February 21, 2014

Things you can do with Used Tea Bags by Spend with Pennies

I came across this post on Pinterest tonight.  It comes from one of my favorite blogs Spend with Pennies. Simple everyday uses on how to reuse your old tea bags. Who would have thought they are great for your skin and around the kitchen!  

Picture comes from Spend with Pennies

A few great uses for used tea bags are...

Deflate puffy eyes
Clean up grease

For the full list please visit..Spend with Pennies

Spring is in the air!

After this week I'm almost positive spring has arrived here in Florida. The heat and humidity are back, and it feels almost as miserable as the summers here. Hubby and I were out and about shopping yesterday and our car thermometer was reading that it was 89 degrees out.  Yuck! Today, our dog didn't even want to go for his walk, it was that humid. But with the spring weather in the air, I'm in the mood to start decorating the house for it. This weekend I'm bringing out all the bright colors; flowers, rugs, towels, decor, the new wreath for the door :), etc.
Fresh flower arrangements are always a great way to add a pop of color to a plain room. Plus, they make the house smell great! But, if you have a cat like we do, it can be a pain in the butt to keep them looking nice. Most of the time I have to resort to silk flowers from Hobby Lobby.
Tonight, I came across this idea for a new arrangement for our kitchen table.  It's called a Lemonade Arrangement.  Get it?! I'm sure I could pull this off with silk flowers.  Having fresh Lilacs would be great, though.  They are my favorite spring flower, next to Lily's. Oh, and daffodils. Heck, I love all spring flowers! Mainly because they mean winter is finally over!

DIY Spring Wreath!

This week at Hobby Lobby fabric was 30-50% off. I thought it would be the perfect time to dress up our front door with a DIY wreath for spring.  Here is how I made it.

DIY Spring Wreath 
I chose three different fabrics for this wreath. 1 yard of each.
 Feel free to use as many colors you want.

I cut each pattern into long strips. 1 to 2" inch in width.

Then again into smaller strips. Roughly 10 inches in length

I tied each strip around the wreath form until there was no wire showing. 
(Tie a ribbon at the top to hang.)    

Finished Product

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Wisconsin Beer Dip

Being from Wisconsin this instantly caught my eye! Beer and cheese can be found at almost every tailgate, cookout, or party in Wisconsin.  It's what we do best! This recipe comes from the blog A Teaspoon of Happiness.  (I made this tonight for Hubby and he approved! It is very tasty but very filling.)

Wisconsin Beer Dip
Photo and recipe come from A Teaspoon of Happiness

2 (8oz) packages of cream cheese, softened
1/3 to 1/2 cup beer (Miller Light would be a great beer!)
11-ounce packet of dry ranch dressing mix
1-1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese
Pretzels for dipping

In a small bowl mix together cream cheese, beer and ranch dressing packet until smooth.  Evenly spread mixture over a plate or serving platter.  Top with cheese and serve with pretzels.

Berry Breakfast Pizza from All You Magazine

Berry Breakfast Pizza

Photo and recipe from All You Magazine
1 can of refrigerator large buttermilk biscuits
2 cups fresh or frozen berries
3 tablespoons sugar

Heat oven to 375. Lightly grease two baking sheets or line them with parchment paper.  Separate dough into 8 biscuits. Align the biscuits on the two baking sheets.  Flatten them with your hands until they are 5-1/2 inch in diameter.  Arrange the berries on top leaving 3/4 inch around the edges.  Sprinkle sugar over the top of each pizza and baking until the dough is golden brown and the fruit is bubbly. Roughly 15 to 20 minutes.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Pork Ragu With Your Leftover Pork Roast

Earlier this week I posted about mine and Hubby's Valentine's Day dinner. I made (roughly) a 6 pound Pork Roast for us in the slow cooker. I knew 6 pounds was going to be way too much meat for the two of us.  So, once the pork roast was finished cooking I split it right in half, and saved half of the veggies and sauce, storing it in the refrigerator for Pork Ragu later in the week.

Here is how I make my Pork Roast..
I sear all sides of the roast in a very hot pan coated in vegetable oil. I then transfer the roast to a slow cooker that is lined with a bed of vegetables. 
5 red potatoes, chopped
3 celery sticks, chopped
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 cups baby carrots
1 14.5oz can beef broth

Cook the roast on low for 8-10 hours or on high for 4-6 hours until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. 

Here is how I used our leftovers.. 

Pork Ragu over Penne

3 to 4 pound Pork Roast, cook and shredded
2-4 cups vegetables and sauce, mashed
2 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes, (drain one of the cans and save liquid of the other)
6oz tomato paste
1 package of penne pasta
Grated parmesan cheese, for garnish

Pour the vegetables and sauce into a large skillet and mash with a fork over medium heat.  Pour in the tomatoes and liquid of one can.  Transfer the shredded roast into the pan, along with the tomato paste. Allow it to simmer uncovered for 10-15 minutes. 

In the meantime, cook the penne pasta according to package directions. 

Once the pasta has finished cooking transfer it to a serving platter and pour the pork ragu over the pasta. Garnish with grated parmesan cheese.

The Best Banana Bread You Will Ever Make

I L-O-V-E Banana Bread! If I could eat Banana Bread every single day for breakfast, I'd be one happy girl. Plus, I'm pretty sure nothing smells better than the cinnamon aroma that fills your kitchen when it's baking.  When I was a little girl my Grandma made the best Banana Bread. She always put nuts in it, that I almost always picked out. But, if you like pecans in your banana bread, feel free to add them in! Blueberries and chocolate chips also work great in this.

Banana Bread

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs, beaten
2 1/3 cup bananas, mashed

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly grease a 9x5 inch loaf pan.
In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. In a stand mixer, cream together butter and brown sugar.  Stir in eggs and mashed bananas until well blended.  Stir banana mixture into flour mixture; stir just to moisten.  Pour batter into prepared loaf pan.
Bake for 60 to 65 minutes until toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.  Let the bread cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then turn out onto a wire rack.  Allow to fully cool before slicing. 

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