Browsing Tag:


FUN/DIY/ Holidays/Parties/ HOME/ Organizing/ RECIPES/ Sides/ Sponsored/ Sweets

A Sweet Snack Mix & A Salty Snack Mix– Perfect For Your SuperBowl Party

“This shop is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign withPollinate Media Group™ and Rubbermaid and Sharpie but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #RubbermaidSharpie
If I’m going to take the time to make a savory or sugary treat (or both!) that does not offer much nutrition, I’m going to have a few ultimatums.
1. It has to be for a fun reason–a get together with friends, a birthday or a party–like THE SUPER BOWL!
2. It has to make a lot of treat for a little time in the kitchen.
3. It has to be low cost.
4. It has to be easy.
5. It has to taste awesome!
Bonus points: It has to be easy to store.
These two snack mixes do all of those things…times 2!
My favorite thing about both mixes is that they have at least 4 ingredients in common–peanuts, cheerios, pretzels and bugles.  It is so great to buy one bag of each of them and divide it between the 2 recipes! I love efficiency.
These mixes are perfect for feeding a crowd and munching on during a football game.
Let me tell you how I made them the perfect snack for the Super Bowl game.

I headed out to Target to pick up my supplies.  I got 2 glass Rubbermaid bowls for holding the mix, a package of Sharpie Pens, and some plastic cups.  I made sure I got enough cups for holding both drinks and snack mix.  Again, I’m all about efficiency!

While you are at Target, make sure you use the mobile coupon service and text COUPONS to TARGET (type TARGET into the phone number section of your phone) and grab the $1 off food storage Rubbermaid coupon and the $1 off Sharpie 4 pack or larger coupon.  This option will be available January 25- February 8.

I love my Sharpies! If you have been reading this blog long enough, you know I am a huge fan of Sharpie markers.  I use them all the time.  I love them for crafting and I use them almost daily in the kitchen to label my leftovers or write little surprise messages for girls’ lunchbox.
You probably also know I am a big fan of using glass for storage…usually I re purpose jars.  I have been wanting some bigger bowls to store larger portions of soup leftovers and snack mixes.  Rubbermaid glass line is the perfect solution.  They completely seal with one easy touch, they lids nestle into each other for easy storage, or if you want to stack the bowls they do that perfectly, too!

I used the bright green insert from the Rubbermaid bowls — which was actually a picture of green beans– to use as a fun border for my snack tags.  I thought it looked like grass which is perfect for a Super Bowl party.

I cut a piece of white card stock into a square, backed it in the green, then used Sharpie markers to embellish with a simple black and white border on top and the numbers of a football field on the bottom.  You don’t have to be an artist to get crafty with Sharpie!
I used a container I found in the dollar section of Target to put my Sharpie markers in.  It looks pretty to set the Sharpie markers out and let the guests mark their own cups.

Isn’t Juiper the cutest name ever?  My daughter has a friend named Juniper and they call her ‘Junie’ for short. cute!

Some guests will use the Sharpie Markers to write the team name on their cups– in team colors of course–letting everyone know who they are rooting for.
Doesn’t that look yummy?  Bugles, pretzels, cheerios, peanuts and M&M’s!  Like I said, a great thing about making these two recipes at the same time is that they use common ingredients, but no one would even notice because they are such different tasting recipes.
It had been awhile since we had a fun sugar treat in the house.  This is how my daughter felt about that!

Every party should have a little bit of sweet…

…and a little bit of salty!
Make sure you pick some of these cute football brownies up while you are at Target.  They come in a long, thin box with a little girls face on it.  Yea…that one!  They make a fun, football touch to the table without having to spend hours in the kitchen, AND they are inexpensive!

If you are traveling for the party, you can just put the tags on top of the lids and use the lids as snack markers.  If your party is at home, grab a couple little jars, tape a paper clip to the back of the jar, fill it with mix to cover the tape, and display your snack tag.  Easy!  If you love how this looks but are taking the mix to a party, take the jar and and stick the mix in and the tag on when you get there.

I bet you are wondering how these snack mixes taste?
Well, the sweet one speaks for itself.  It is very sweet with just a touch of salty, crunchy with chocolate and peanuts, all covered in white almond bark.  It makes a ton and both kids and adults love it.
The savory, salty mix is a unique one, and you will get asked for the recipe often.  It is salty with a bit of sweet, has chili powder and curry in the seasoning which makes it stand out from your typical snack mix.  It uses some fun colored potato and vegetable chips which also makes it stand out from the crowd. It is very addicting and also makes a very good amount.

What are your super bowl plans?


Super Bowl Sweet Mix

1/2 jar (8oz) peanuts (16 oz jar)
1/2 bag(8oz) pretzels (16 oz bag)
1/2 bag (6oz) bugles (12 oz bag)
1/2 box Cheerios (8.9 oz box)
1/2 bag M&M’s (12 oz bag–use extra to make table pretty, or just eat them :))
1 lb vanilla almond bark

Mix all ingredients except for almond bark in a large bowl.  Melt almond bark as package directs.  Pour over mixture, mixing to coat well.  Spread out onto waxed paper to dry.  Break into chunks and store in airtight container.  Saves well for several weeks.

Super Bowl Savory Mix

1/2 jar (8oz) peanuts (16 oz jar)
1/2 bag (8oz) pretzels (16 oz bag)
1/2 bag (6oz) bugles (12 oz bag)
1/2 box cheerios (8.9 oz box)
6 oz chips (I used Terra Chips- Exotic Harvest)
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup butter
1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tsp curry powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Mix peanuts, pretzels, bugles, cheerios & chips in a large bowl.

Mix brown sugar, butter, worcestershire sauce, chili powder, curry powder and garlic powder in a small saucepan.  Heat on med until sugar is dissolved.

Pour seasoning mixture over dry mix.  Toss until well coated.  Pour onto 2 large cookie sheets.  Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes, stirring after 20.


Uncle Sam Cereal Mallow Bars

Uncle Sam cereal mallow bars
We all know everyone loves a good Krispie Rice Marshmallow Bar.  Kids love their gooey sweetness and crunch.  Mom’s love the ease of making them.  The only thing we didn’t love around here is how unhealthy they are, so I set about figuring out a way to change that!
Cereal bars
Typical krispy rice cereal has very, very little fiber in it, and basically turns to sugar after ingesting.  This spikes blood sugar levels, which is never a good thing.  I knew I had to find a cereal that had lots of fiber & protein in it, and whole grains.  This would keep blood sugar leveled & be much more filling.  

Uncle Sam Original whole wheat kernels
Uncle Sams cereal is made of 4 ingredients.  It fit the bill for my recipe.  We also added a bit of o’s cereal.  You all know how much I like the circle shape around here, so I added those just for pretty.
I like that this recipe added nutrition to calories.  A plain krispy rice mallow treat is just empty calories.  These still have the sugar from the marshmallows, but it also gives the body some nutrition, so no more empty calories!  
They are made just like regular krispy treats.  Super easy!  My kids thought I was super mom when they tasted them.  They loved that they were yummy, I loved that they were nutritious!
Uncle Sam cereal mallow bars

Uncle Sam Cereal Mallow Bars

3 tbsp butter (I used Earth Balance)
4 cups miniature marshmallows (or a 10oz pkg of regular marshmallows)
6 cups cereal

In a large pan, melt butter over low heat.  Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted.  Remove from heat.

Using wax paper or buttered spatula (or buttered fingers!) spread evenly into a 9×13 inch buttered pan. (My bars were thinner as I used a larger pan).  Let cool completely and cut into squares.

FUN/DIY/ Holidays/Parties/ RECIPES/ Sweets

Apple S’mores

My in-laws have the best fire pit, and we have used it more than once the last few weeks.  There is nothing like the smell of fire in air and seeing marshmallows puff up and turn golden that gets me more excited about fall.  Ok, maybe the smell of chili, but, naw…s’mores win!
This Apple S’more is a version that is a favorite with my family.  My sister-in-law’s mother learned to do this in girl scouts, and boy am I glad she did!  It really is a great way to have a s’more.  It adds some great texture and makes me feel good that we are having a bit of fiber with all that sugar!  All you need to do is substitute apple for graham crackers.  
Want to know a way to take this even up a notch?  Instead of Hershey’s chocolate bars, use a large Reese’s Peanut Butter cup.  Oh man.  It is awesome!  It is like you are eating an apple dipped in peanut butter and chocolate and marshmallow–oh my!

Isn’t it a pretty pit?  Our friend Michael, author of Koinoia, knows how to build a wicked fire.  He built the one above for us during my daughter’s birthday party.  See the cross in it?  Fitting, for he is a Godly man.

4th of July/ Drinks/ FUN/DIY/ Holidays/Parties/ RECIPES

2 Ingredient Sparkling Lemonade

This is the easiest beverage to make, and tastes great!  I have used it for 2 parties in the last 2 weeks, and I got positive feedback both times.  Both kids and adults love this.  
All you have to do is buy frozen lemonade concentrate, and in place of water, use sparkling water!  
That is it!  The sparkling water adds fizz and sparkle, but does not over-sweeten like adding a lemon-lime soda would.  It is delicious and super refreshing!

I love to use Lemonade Concentrate from Trader Joes.  It is the only brand I can find that does not contain high fructose corn syrup.  The brand of sparkling water really does not matter.  Add a slice of lemon to each glass for pretty!

Sparkling Lemonade
1 can Lemonade Concentrate
Sparkling Water

Make lemonade according to directions on can, using sparkling water instead of regular water.  Add a slice of lemon if desired to each glass. Serve over ice & enjoy!

FUN/DIY/ Holidays/Parties/ RECIPES/ Sweets

5 Minutes To Chocolate Sauce Heaven

A repost from the archives.  It deserves a is delicious!!  I plan on making a dairy-free version this weekend with earth balance spread instead of butter and serving it over coconut milk ice cream.  I will let you know how it turns out!
I’ve given this away as a gift and made it a few times for my own family.  It is one of those recipes that I  know I will be in the family for a very long time–it is SOOO good.  It is quick, it uses ingredients we usually have on hand, and it tastes WAY better than store bought chocolate sauce.  When I served it to my husband, he just kept grunting and saying “MMM”& “YUM” as he scraped his bowl clean.  I’m surprised he didn’t get his face in it and lick it clean!  Yes, it is that good.

Here is the recipe, it is from  It was recommended by another blog, but I can’t remember which one, which I’m feeling pretty bad about because they deserve a big thanks from me!
Lee Lee’s Famous Chocolate Sauce For Ice Cream
2 min/1 minute prep time
Serves 4-6
1/2 cup sugar (I use whole cane sugar -rapadura)
2 Tablespoon Cocoa
1/8 tsp Salt
1 1/2-2 Tablespoon Butter
1/4 cup water (more or less, as needed to make a stirable consistency)
1/4 tsp vanilla extract (can’t beat 100% pure vanilla extract!)
1. Combine sugar, cocoa, and salt in a small saucepan.
2. Add enough water to make stirable consistency.
3. Add butter to cocoa mixture.
4. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, stirring constantly.
5. Allow to boil for 1 minute, stirring.
6. Remove from heat.
7. Add vanilla.
8. Serve warm over ice cream.

Decorating/ Frugal/ FUN/DIY/ Holidays/Parties/ HOME

Graduation Party Decoration Plan

Tis the season for graduation and graduation parties!  This year is a special one for us. My husband is programs director for an organization called City Impact.  He has the privilege of working with some pretty cool youth.  He has led a group of boys the last few years and 3 of those boys are graduating this year.  It has been amazing to watch them grow up into great young men who we know are going to make a difference in their community and in this world.

One of those guys is T.J.  We are super big T.J. fans around here. He just has a gentle way about him, he is kind and smart and his smile lights the room.  He has always been so great to my girls, he tops the list when they talk of all the “big brothers” they have.  T.J. and his family are super special to ours, so I was really excited to help decorate for his graduation party.

I love making social gatherings beautiful, and I really love challenging myself to do it in a simple way that doesn’t break the bank.

One of the first places I checked out was our local dollar store.  Working with T.J.’s mom and between the two of us, we were able to find all kinds of fun stuff there – from plates & napkins to a grad mug.  They even had a fun poster to be signed by all who enter the party.

{gathering my supplies}
T.J.’s school colors are black and white, so that was super easy to work with.  The decor we found at the dollar store had a bit of grey on it too, so working off that I decided to add bits of silver to add some shine to the party.

We will have 4 large round tables that I need a centerpiece for, and of course T.J.’s memorabilia table.  He is a football player and has been very active at school so I have lots to work with for that table.

The centerpieces we got at the dollar store came with gold tinsel.  I didn’t like how it looked and gold is not a color I wanted to add, so I bought some silver star tinsel and will work with that to make the centerpieces more what I want them to be.  

{not what I wanted}
{that is better}

The venue that we will be having the party at provides black tablecloths, and I am putting a square of this awesome silver glitter wrapping paper I found at Michael’s Craft store in the center of each table, which will ground the centerpieces.

I am rolling up paper and tying black ribbon to make simple diplomas at each centerpiece.  We also will have small mason jars with water and silver star confetti floating in it, along with a candle.  T.J.’s mom found some black and white wrapped candy, so we will sprinkle that around each centerpiece for guests to help themselves to.  I hope it turn out as cool as it looks in my head.  I’m sure it will!

T.J. had some awesome poster sized photos of himself that we will place around, one on a mantle in the party room and a couple on easels.  No one will question who we are celebrating, that is for sure!

For his memorabilia table, I plan on flanking the back of the table with white and black helium balloons, like in this photo.  

I will take photos at the party and let you all know how it turned out!

Congrats, T.J.!  Thank you for letting me be part of your day.  We love you and are very proud of you!

Frugal/ FUN/DIY/ Holidays/Parties/ HOME/ Kids/Family/ Simplifying

A Super Simple Yet Special Birthday

That sweet little face is my middle girl back when she was 9.  Last week she turned 11!  Where or where has the time gone?
We usually budget in birthday parties for our 3 girls.  I love a good party and an excuse to have one.  We usually do not buy our kids birthday gifts, as grandparents are amazingly generous so our kids get plenty of gifts, and we consider a birthday party their gift.  This year, my little 11-year-old-to-be asked “Mom, if I save my money for a new Kindle Fire will you pay for half of it?”  I told her that we would, but we would have to use the money we usually set aside for a party.  She like this idea, she thought it was totally worth it.  She saved her money, and is LOVING her new Kindle Fire,
Her birthday was last week, and I wanted to do something to make her feel special on her day, despite not having a big birthday party.  At the end of the day, she said “Mom, this was one of the best birthdays ever.” Success!
Here is what her day entailed:
She woke up to a sea of pink balloons on her floor.  I was sneaky the night before and when I peaked in her room in the morning, she was laying in bed, hitting one pink balloon in the air with the biggest, best birthday girl smile on her face.  She loved it and just giggled at me. That was so worth the 2.00 dollars I spent on balloons and the fact that I almost passed out blowing them up!  I got this great idea from my Pinterest Parties Board. 

Once my birthday girl was up, she was greeted by her favorite breakfast.  We call it “Toad In A Hole”–so appetizing, huh?  It really is good.  I wanted to make it extra special so I made it pretty with a flower cookie cutter and sliced fruit. 
{our usual “toad in a hole”}

{flower cookie cutter} 
{special birthday breakkie!}

She loved her special breakfast.  She also loved that I had to pick her up early from school to take her to a quick doctor checkup for a knee injury that is now healed. He gave her a GREAT birthday gift, telling her she could participate in P.E.  After sitting out since October, this was awesome news. 

 I had some returns to make at the mall, so she came with, and as we walked by the soft pretzel stand at the mall we both took a whiff and of course had to get one!  Getting out of school early and a couple buck pretzel made her feel very special.

In the meantime, little sister got home from school and I left her instructions to frost some cupcakes that I had baked earlier.  I used the same mix cake mix and frosting mix that I use in my Gooey Caramel Chocolate Cupcakes.  I knew little sister would LOVE getting to help, and I also knew I would come home to cupcakes that would be drenched in decorating sugar.  I was right!

Little sister also took time to make super cute and creative homemade party hats.  Loved!

{my youngest, laughing at me wearing her hat creation while doing a birthday jig}

I sent a quick text to the neighbor girls mom, and she agreed to let her 2 girls come over for some birthday cupcakes and…

..a hot chocolate bar!  Another idea from Pinterest, but we kept ours very simple.  The girls had caramel candy sticks to stir their hot chocolate.  They melted quickly into the hot chocolate and gave it a caramel-ly flavor.  Fun!

{my oldest, enjoying her caramel stick}
I took a few balloons from the sea of pink in her bedroom and taped them on the wall.  I wanted to copy the below idea also found on Pinterest, but kept it simple instead.

{great idea from Martha Stewart.  Could put a dollar bill in each balloon!}

{my oldest, enjoying her cupcake}

It was great fun, and actually felt like a party even though it really was not, (not like our usual birthday parties) and my sweet girl felt very loved on her birthday.  It goes to show that simple, cheap touches are enough!