Posts Tagged ‘Walmart Moms’

DIY Minecraft Costume Ideas

Thursday, October 10th, 2013

DIY Minecraft Costume IdeasHalloween is just around the corner and today I wanted to share a fun Minecraft Costume you can create for your very own little Minecraft-addict. DIY Minecraft costumes are fun to make with your kids and give you a chance to spend time together.

I am partnering with Walmart on this Halloween project and today’s project is a fun project that you can do with your kiddos for a Halloween costume.

DIY Minecraft Costume IdeasI have two little Minecraft-addicts in this house. My son was excited to craft up this costume with me and I enjoyed getting to do this together. He is so excited to wear his Steve box head and I am excited that this project cost less than $20 to pull off. In fact, if you have any of these supplies at your house, it may cost even less than that!

DIY Minecraft Costume Ideas

Supplies Needed:

1- 11x11x11 box (This size is NOT available at Walmart. We got ours at FedEx, but you can try Kinkos or the UPS store)

Minecraft Steve Printables- PDF’s printed on 11×17 paper (either print at home or have them printed at the same shipping/printing supplies stores that I have listed above)

All the rest of the supplies can be found at Walmart:

Glue Stick and/or glue gun & glue sticks

Paper Trimmer or Scissors

Box Cutter

Packing tape

Hanes T-Shirt in Aqua Blue

DIY Minecraft Costume Ideas

DIY Minecraft Costume Ideas

Directions:

1. Print out your Minecraft Steve Head printables. I put these files on a jump drive and brought them to Kinkos with me and asked them to print the files on 11×17 paper. Read through this comment thread for printing options. It appears that UPS Store is the most affordable of the options. You can also print at home or try printing the files on smaller paper and piecing them together to save on costs. Feel free to also share your own experience with printing these by leaving a comment below!

2. Begin by taping together the bottom of you box. Once the bottom of your box is taped, you can begin folding in the flaps of the box on the other end, to create a hole for your child’s head.

3. Using a paper trimmer or scissors begin trimming off any of the white portions on the printables.

4. Cover the backside of the first printable with glue. We found the glue stick provided a great start and then I reinforced it, using my glue gun, with little dabs of hot glue along the seam underneath.

5. Repeat the above process and finish with Steve’s hair on top, carefully gluing the edges of the hair down around the top of the box with a little hot glue to secure.

6. Have an adult cut the holes out for Steve’s eyes and wear your new Steve head proudly.  Pair it with an aqua t-shirt and blue jeans to complete the look.

DIY Minecraft Costume Ideas

DIY Minecraft Costume IdeasLooking for more fun DIY Minecraft Costume Ideas? Check out these fun ideas!

Easy Painted Steve Head

Iron Sword & Diamond Pickaxe Printables

Telescoping Minecraft Creeper Costume

20 Amazing Minecraft Costume Ideas (for some extra Minecraft-y inspiration)

Glee Costume Ideas Glee Costume Ideas Glee Costume Ideas Glee Costume Ideas Glee Costume Ideas

We sure do love Halloween around here!  Did you see our couple’s costume from last year? My husband sure does make a dashing Sue Sylvester! Yes, we get into it just as much as the kids do. And why shouldn’t we?

And why shouldn’t YOU?

If you are still looking for fun Halloween ideas, you must visit this DIY Halloween Costume Ideas article and this list of 7 More DIY Halloween Costumes to try creating. Happy Halloween, friends!

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$15 Fabric-Lined Bookcase Makeover

Tuesday, October 1st, 2013

$15 Fabric-Lined Bookcase MakeoverThis Fall I am committed to ridding my home of some unnecessary clutter. My bookshelves were in need of some true organization and updating. Today I am sharing a fabric-lined bookcase makeover to update a tired bookcase and some ideas for adding a little budget-friendly seasonal beauty to your bookshelves.

I work with Walmart and this project update can be done with $15 of supplies found at your local Walmart store.

$15 Fabric-Lined Bookcase MakeoverLet’s start with a before picture of my bookshelves. As you can see, they are brimming over with far too many books and clutter than you could ever imagine. One side housed a million books, while the other housed random junk in our house. Since this is the front room in our house, it really embarrassed me that they had gotten this cluttered.

The first step was to remove EVERYTHING from these bookshelves and figure out what to do with them. One pile was to keep, one to donate, and some were relocated into better places (cookbooks in the kitchen, productivity/work books in the office, etc…). Once you have cleared your shelves, it is time to make them pretty with some inexpensive fabric.

Supplies

2 yards of fabric (to cover two bookshelves- definitely measure for your own bookcases. This houndstooth fabric I found was only $4 per yard!)

General All-Purpose Spray Adhesive (I had some leftover from last month’s diy homework stations)

Glue Gun & Glue Sticks

2 Binder Cliips

Optional: Gold Spray Paint & inexpensive items in Seasonal Supplies

$15 Fabric-Lined Bookcase Makeover

Directions

1. Take the back off of your bookcase on top of your fabric. Cut around the bookcase leaving approximately one inch of fabric all away around to tuck on the back.

2. Once the fabric is cut, flip the fabric with the right-side out. Clip the fabric to the bookcase at the top, using two clips. Be sure you double check the front of the fabric to make sure it lines up if it is patterned.  Relocate your project outside to spray it with the spray adhesive.

3. Lifting the fabric up, spray the entire bookcase side with spray adhesive and then carefully lay the fabric back down, doing your best to keep the fabric even and flush to your bookcase.

4. Flip the bookcase back over and using your hot glue gun, add a dab of glue along the seam and pull the fabric tight behind the bookcase. Continue adding the glue down the seam of the fabric until it is all secure. Fold the corners in just as you would wrapping a present, and glue those to secure them.

5. Secure your bookcase back to your bookcase and begin assembling the items for your bookshelves.

$15 Fabric-Lined Bookcase Makeover

I wanted to add a little nod to the season and another little nod to the Gold trend right now so I picked up another can of spray paint and a two little pumpkins and an owl that I found over in the Seasonal supplies for only $2.49 each and gave them a shiny new gold finish.

Did you catch my spray painted side table tutorial I did this summer? I am such a spray paint addict.

$15 Fabric-Lined Bookcase MakeoverHere is a close-up of my, “new-to-me,” shelves for Fall. The books at the top are among my favorite. I read East of Eden this summer for the first time, my childhood copy of Secret Garden from my great-grandma is in the pile, I’m Hemingway obsessed, and each year I am collecting one new reissued pretty classic from Barnes & Noble for a holiday gift to myself. My little $2.49 owl fits perfectly in there next to a few of my very favorite books.

The second shelf is simple with yarn and tiny bamboo needles I rarely use along with a few of my very favorite knitting books.

The bottom shelf is just for my hubby with his Harry Potter books and a golden pumpkin.

$15 Fabric-Lined Bookcase MakeoverThe top shelf in this photo holds a few of my favorite cookbooks, a golden pumpkin, and my little Pie Bird that I think is oh-so-sweet and reminds me how much I love a good piece of pie.

My copy of Wuthering Heights (which I read this winter) rests beneath the beautiful China teapot that my grandfather gave me before he passed away. Behind it is the last picture I took of him with my grandma. That shelf makes my heart ache.

The last shelf holds my galley copy of my first book, a picture of my sweet boy when he was little in the beautiful Tin Man costume my mother-in-law made for him, our Boston Drivers Handbook which was a gift when we moved to Massachusetts and were terrified to drive, and my hubby’s copy of, “Understand Rap,” from his sister. It is always a great conversation piece.

Can you see the theme? They are ALL special and ALL mean something to me.

The mess before…how could we even see the gems in there? 

$15 Fabric-Lined Bookcase MakeoverHere are some shots of my beautiful bookshelves now. It is one of those projects that I sit and look at over and over again because it makes me so happy. The fabric completely transformed these and the clutter removed from them brings a lot more peace and order to the room.

Looking for more bookshelf styling ideas? Check out these ideas for decorating bookshelves and this post for bookshelf styling tips!

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Weeknight Chicken Lo Mein

Monday, September 30th, 2013

weeknight_chicken_lo_mein_1 Chinese takeout is my weakness, but it is also a budget-buster, especially as often as I would like to indulge in it. Today’s recipe is an easy Weeknight Chicken Lo Mein recipe that fills that takeout void beautifully.

I am working with Walmart and for this month’s grocery project they wanted me to share the good news that their rotisserie chickens are now on rollback pricing at just $4.98, regularly $5.98 each.

rotiserrie_chickens_1 rotiserrie_chickens_2 You may not have noticed that they offer chickens over in the cooler of your store, in front of the Deli counters. When I discovered these, I started purchasing them weekly for our favorite Weeknight Chicken Noodle and Lemon Greek Chicken Soup. There are, of course, a million recipes you can create with these, but I thought this would be perfect for my Chicken Lo Mein fix this week and wanted to show you how I create this recipe at home.

weeknight_chicken_lo_mein_3 I keep an arsenal of ingredients in our pantry and fridge for cooking our Asian dishes. You will find most of these items over in the Asian foods aisle of the store. Sesame Seed Oil, Rice Wine Vinegar, Reduced-Sodium Soy Sauce, and Oyster Sauce are all components to many of the sauces that I make in my dishes. I don’t go through fresh ginger very quickly so I love to keep a tube of this in our fridge for our dishes, like our favorite Mongolian Beef recipe!

The star of the show in this sauce is definitely the Oyster Sauce. It takes this sauce to the takeout level with just a tablespoon or two. Once you taste the sauce in this dish, I bet you will agree!

weeknight_chicken_lo_mein_6

In my Chicken Broccoli Lo Mein recipe I simply use linguine noodles for the recipe. You can definitely do this if you want or you can head to your local Asian grocery store to get the real deal. The fresh noodles in the cooler are ideal, but since I make this recipe often, I keep the dried noodles in my pantry. This package has four pounds of noodles in it… or basically one serving.

If you are wanting to experiment with different types of Asian noodles, here is a handy Asian Noodles Cooking Timetable to help figure out how long to cook the noodles. My packaging didn’t have any instructions on it so I used this timetable as a reference for my noodles.

Other than the noodles, all the other ingredients can be found at your local Walmart including an Asian stir-fry blend of shitake mushrooms and even fortune cookies and egg rolls to add an element of fun to your meal.

I hope you enjoy this faux-mein knockoff recipe of my favorite Chinese takeout dish!

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Weeknight Chicken Lo Mein
Author: 
Recipe type: Main Dish
Cuisine: Chinese
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
An easy weeknight chicken lo mein recipe that can be prepared with a rotisserie chicken.
Ingredients
  • 1 rotisserie chicken, cut into thin strips of meat
  • 2 teaspoons white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • ½ cup soy sauce
  • 1¼ cups chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 12 ounces of your favorite Asian noodle or linguine (see suggestions above)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 8 ounces Asian stir-fry blend of mushrooms
  • 3 green onions, sliced diagonally into ½
  • inch pieces
  • snow peas or any variety of your favorite veggies that you would like to add to your stir-fry (consider what you need to use up in your fridge for this one!)
Instructions
  1. In a medium bowl, combine the chicken broth, sesame oil ground black pepper sugar, vinegar, oyster sauce, and soy sauce.
  2. In a separate small bowl, dissolve the cornstarch with some of this mixture and slowly add to the bulk of the mixture, stirring well. Set aside.
  3. Cook the noodles according to package directions, drain and set aside.
  4. Heat 1 tablespoon of the vegetable oil in a wok or large saucepan over medium heat. Add the ginger, garlic, mushrooms, any of your other favorite stir fry veggies, and green onions. Stir fry these for 30 seconds.
  5. Add the reserved sauce mixture and then the chicken. Simmer until the sauce begins to thicken, about 2 minutes. Add the reserved noodles and toss gently, coating everything well with the sauce.

 

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Roasted Tomato Bisque

Monday, September 9th, 2013

Roasted Tomato Bisque

There is nothing like a big pot of soup and today I wanted to share with you an easy recipe for Roasted Tomato Bisque. This roasted tomato bisque recipe is so easy and can be made from those garden tomatoes that you might need to put to work in your kitchen or created with whole canned tomatoes that you can keep in your pantry.

Walmart challenged me this month to share an easy weeknight meal strategy with you. I admit that my best weeknight meal strategy is making a big pot of soup on the weekends that we can enjoy all week long. I have gotten so good at making soup that I told my husband that if this blogging gig falls through that I would open my very own little soup kitchen.

True story.

Roasted Tomato Bisque

Have you ever roasted vegetables for a soup? It adds another layer of flavor to your soup that will surprise you. This soup is packed with roasted carrots, tomatoes, and shallots. The soups depth of flavor comes from a few interesting additions that add a beautiful layering when you eat it. First, the veggies are coated in olive oil, salt, pepper, and brown sugar that adds a little sweetness and saltiness to the soup. The second addition that makes this soup so special is a little sherry that adds a real depth of flavor. The third is the finishing of just the tiniest bit of cream. If you have a dairy allergy or are looking for a vegan alternative, you could leave the soup without it or add rice milk to finish the soup.

Weeknight Meal Strategies

I wanted to dive in a little bit more about my weeknight meal strategy. You see, it rarely changes although as my kids get older it does get more challenging in the evenings with our homework and extracurricular activities. On Sunday afternoons I do all my shopping and planning for the week. I purchase a week’s worth of food and I try to plan our dishes around that week’s activities.

Here are the themes I use for menu planning although I never assign a day to them unless it is our weekly pizza night and Sunday brunch. Everything else falls into place depending on the week’s activities.

Weeknight Meal Ideas

Soup Supper

If you are looking for a little soup inspiration, here are six easy soup recipes to try, a delicious white chicken chili, and a Stuffed Green Pepper Soup that is always a slow cooker winner. Serve these with a loaf of crusty bread or find out how to make an easy big batch of toasted cheese sandwiches when cooking for a crowd.

Meat-Free Night

Here are 30 of our absolute favorite meat-free dishes that we try to create in our kitchen once a week. For a new spin on tacos, try this recipe for easy 10 minute tacos for your family.

Slow Cooker Night

I am a HUGE fan of my slow cooker and use it at least once a week. Here are a month of ideas to bookmark for slow cooker creations in your house.

Waffles/Pancake Brunch

Sundays are for brunching in our house. I love to make a variety of waffles and pancake recipes on Sunday to be frozen and eaten for weekday morning breakfasts. Now that it is Fall, our pumpkin pancakes will be in constant rotation.

Pizza Night

Have you tried making pizza dough in your bread machine? I have been making pizza dough in my bread machine for almost a decade now and our Fridays just wouldn’t be the same without our fun pizza night.

Sandwich/Burger Night

Easy dishes like sloppy joes, pulled pork sandwiches, chicken pesto burgers, and Italian beef sandwiches are just a few examples of easy sandwiches/burgers that can be easily doubled for easy lunches and dinners.

Seek And Ye Shall Find Night

It is Biblical. Sunday night you need to seek and ye shall find in the refrigerator.

 

As you plan out your week, I hope you enjoy this soup for your own weekly soup night. Of course, the best part about soup is that it is the perfect dish to share with others. Be sure to share this one with those you love because I know they will love you for it.

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Roasted Tomato Bisque
Author: 
Recipe type: Soup
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
A delicious roasted tomato bisque recipe packed with delicious roasted vegetable flavor and a hint of cream.
Ingredients
  • Two 28-ounce cans whole tomatoes, drained of their juices. If using fresh tomatoes 20-24 fresh tomatoes, washed, cored, & cut in half.
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 4 carrots, peeled, cut in half, and chopped into sections
  • 2 shallots, quartered
  • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper (can increase to ½ teaspoon if more spice is desired)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons dry sherry
  • One 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 to 2 cups chicken stock or vegetable broth
  • ¼ cup heavy cream (or favorite milk substitute)
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine the drained whole tomatoes (or fresh tomatoes), olive oil, light brown sugar, carrots and shallots, and toss to coat. Season the vegetables with salt and pepper.
  3. Place the vegetables on a silicone or parchment-lined baking sheet and roast until caramelized, about 30-35 minutes.
  4. Heat a soup pot over medium heat. Add the butter and cook until foaming. Add the crushed red pepper and garlic and saute for 1 minute. Add the tomato paste and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Then add the sherry. Cook until all the liquid has evaporated and the alcohol has cooked off, 1 to 2 minutes.
  5. Add the roasted vegetables, crushed tomatoes and 1 cup chicken stock. Season with salt and pepper and bring to a simmer. Let simmer for 15 minutes.
  6. Add the heavy cream and, using an immersion blender, puree the soup until uniform in texture.
  7. Add more chicken stock to adjust the consistency to how you like it.

You can find tons more strategies for meal-time planning in my first book, “The Good Life For Less!”  Grab our free weekly calendar printable for your menu planning needs!  What is your strategy for meal planning?

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Slow Cooker Honey Bourbon Chicken Wings

Tuesday, August 27th, 2013

Slow Cooker Honey Bourbon Chicken Wings from MomAdvice.com.With the Fall comes all of the game time festivities and today I wanted to share a slow cooker chicken wing recipe that you can enjoy at your next game day festivity. These Slow Cooker Honey Bourbon Chicken Wings are the perfect balance of sweet and spicy and are one of my favorite game time recipes I love to share with my family.

Walmart asked me to share a fun game time recipe with you and also would love to remind you that they are a one-stop-shop for all of your game time needs. The best part, of course, is that the will price match those competitor ads for you so you can get everything you need and the best deal on it while you are there. While you are there, I wanted to showcase one of my favorite game day recipes that I love to make for our family!

Slow Cooker Honey Bourbon Chicken Wings from MomAdvice.com.Making wings taste delicious in a slow cooker can be a challenge, but my trick is to season and broil my wings for ten minutes on each side to give it that beautiful color on the skin and to make sure that the wings start out well-seasoned before being slid into your slow cooker. I love that a lot of the fat renders out of the wings too while being broiled so it is a much healthier option than frying them.

Slow Cooker Honey Bourbon Chicken Wings from MomAdvice.com.The secret is, of course, in the sauce that they are glazed in. My sauce has a mixture of soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, honey, garlic, and that bold and spicy Bourbon flavor comes from a new Sweet Baby Ray’s Kickin’ Bourbon Chicken Wing Glaze that you can find over in the condiment aisle of your store. The more of this you add to your sauce, the spicier it will be. This glaze will be thin, but will coat your wings beautifully.

Slow Cooker Honey Bourbon Chicken Wings from MomAdvice.com.The slow cooker gets a little crowded with this many wings in there so I do the ultimate slow cooker no-no and open that lid up and shift them periodically. Thanks to broiling them beforehand though, these wings will be done in two hours on high or four hours on low!

Slow Cooker Honey Bourbon Chicken Wings from MomAdvice.com.

Slow Cooker Honey Bourbon Chicken Wings
Author: 
Recipe type: Appetizer
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
These wings are the perfect balance of sweet and spicy. The best part though, is that they can be created right in your slow cooker for game day entertaining!
Ingredients
  • 4 pounds chicken wings
  • 1 cup honey
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • ¼ cup Teriyaki sauce
  • ¼ cup Sweet Baby Ray's Kickin' Bourbon Wing Glaze
  • ⅛ cup olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
Instructions
  1. Season wings with salt & pepper. Place wings on a cookie sheet and broil for 10 minutes on each side.
  2. Transfer wings to the slow cooker.
  3. Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl or mason jar and mix well.
  4. Pour the sauce wings.
  5. Cook on high two hours or low for four hours.

Looking for more game day recipes? Check out this list of 12 Great Tailgating Delights! Looking for more slow cooker recipes? Don’t miss this One Month of Slow Cooking article with 30 recipe ideas for your family!

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Greek Quinoa Salad

Monday, August 26th, 2013

Greek Quinoa Salad from MomAdvice.com.

Labor Day festivities are just around the corner and with that comes the fun with grilling out and sharing dishes with friends. Today I wanted to share a delicious Greek Quinoa Salad that can be made with many of the veggies lurking in that backyard garden and that easily pairs with a few items you just might have in your pantry.

Walmart challenged me to create a unique dish for Labor Day and I couldn’t wait to share this one. You see, I have been going through a bit of an identity crisis since my visit with my allergist. I was advised to limit my pasta intake and it has been a hard sacrifice for me because I happen to love my pasta…and, sadly, my pasta salads are my claim to fame in the cookout world.

I’m thankful that I discovered quinoa last year because it has helped me so much with my pasta hurdle. I hope you caught my Mexican Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers I made last week and that handy tutorial for preparing your quinoa in the rice cooker! I have been continuing to experiment with this delicious and protein-packed ingredient for my summer cooking and couldn’t wait to pair it with some of my favorite Greek flavors. This quinoa salad proves that there are certainly some fun ways around that pasta hurdle and I doubt you will even miss your pasta after you try this!

Greek Quinoa Salad from MomAdvice.com.

The most labor-intensive part of this recipe (no pun intended!) is the chopping. It is an awful lot of chopping, but the flavors are so worth it. This Greek Quinoa Salad is filled with fresh vegetables like cucumbers, tomatoes, red peppers, and fresh parsley. The salty bites come from the Greek olives and the bites of feta cheese (optional, should you be dairy-free). The whole salad is tied together with a delicious red wine vinaigrette made even more flavorful the longer that it sits.

Greek Quinoa Salad from MomAdvice.com.This is one of those recipes that you can customize depending on what you have growing in your garden or what is on sale that week in your store. If you are shopping Walmart, be sure to bring the competing store fliers in and have them price match those produce prices for you!

I hope you enjoy this recipe and I hope it can be your very own, “claim to fame,” at your next cookout! Happy Labor Day, friends! Greek Quinoa Salad from MomAdvice.com.


Greek Quinoa Salad
Author: 
Recipe type: Side
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
This Greek Quinoa Salad has all the right flavors, colors, and textures with a light vinaigrette dressing to round it all out.
Ingredients
  • 1 lemon, zest and juice
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 clove garlic, smashed and finely chopped to a paste
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • 2 cups red and yellow grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup pitted Greek olives
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • ½ cucumber, diced and seeds removed
  • Feta for sprinkling on salad (optional)
Instructions
  1. In a bowl whisk together the lemon juice, vinegar, oregano, garlic, salt, pepper, and zest from one lemon. Slowly whisk in the oil until emulsified. Let sit at room temperature while you prepare the salad to allow the flavors to meld.
  2. Rinse the quinoa in a strainer until the water runs clear.
  3. Prepare quinoa as directed above in a rice cooker or according to package directions.
  4. Transfer the cooked quinoa into a bowl, fluff with a fork and let sit for 5 minutes to cool slightly.
  5. Add the tomatoes, olives, chopped red bell pepper, chopped cucumbers and dressing and toss to coat.
  6. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 8 hours before serving. The longer it sits the better the flavor.
  7. Just before serving, transfer to a platter and sprinkle feta on top.

Adapted from Bobby Flay Fit

Looking for more fun cookout dishes? Be sure to check out the Best Steak Marinade in Existence, my Corn Grilled in the Husks, my Three Cheese Grilled Potatoes, and my delicious Grilled Portobello Burgers to tempt your tummy!

 

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DIY Homework Study Station

Thursday, August 15th, 2013

DIY Homework Study Station from MomAdvice.com.

Back-to-School time is almost here for my crew and today I wanted to show you an easy DIY Homework Station you can create for a fun, focused, and quiet little spot you can create for your homework time. This Tri-Fold Homework Station idea was something that I came up with to do for the back-to-school season with Walmart. Each month they give me a fun craft challenge and I couldn’t wait to create these for my kids.

DIY Homework Study Station from MomAdvice.com.These homework stations are perfect for small space living. Two kids at one table, but each having a place to call their own, so they can focus on their own coursework.  The best part is that these can fold flat and be stored elsewhere when not in use! I can’t wait to show you just how easy it is to create these for your kids!

DIY Homework Study Station from MomAdvice.com.

Supplies List

1- tri-fold foam display board (this will make two homework stations for you)

Razor Blade

General  Purpose Spray Adhesive

Chalkboard Spray Paint (over in the paint aisle)

Rectangle Wooden Plaques (one or two depending on how many stations you are creating)

Decorative envelope(s) and stickers

Binder Clips (we did two for each one)

Scrapbook Paper in coordinating colors (8 sheets total per homework station. The type of paper we are using is their Watercolor Paper that they offer for $5 for the pack)

Hot glue & glue gun

DIY Homework Study Station from MomAdvice.com.Directions

1. Begin by measuring and marking the halfway point for your tri-fold display board. The display board is 48″ total, so you will want to cut it so that each side is 24″ long.

2. Cut the display board with a utility knife, making sure to cut carefully through all of the layers.

3. Spray paint your wooden plaques to create your chalkboards for your homework station.  Make sure to shake the can really well, as instructed on the back of the can. Hold your can 8 inches away from your surface and spray in a sweeping motion side to side with a slight overlap. It has always been my experience to go thin with the paint, allow it to dry, and then to add another layer for the best results and minimal drip. Allow the paint to dry for one hour.

DIY Homework Study Station from MomAdvice.com.

5. While the frames are drying, pick out eight sheets of scrapbook paper and set them up for where you would like to display them. Set them aside and, beginning with one side, line the bottom sheets up and, holding them in place with your hands, flip them up to add a little spray adhesive to the underside. Do this all along the bottom of your display board.

6.  Now do the same process again on the top, making sure that they line up with each other and with the top edge of the display board.

7. Once your chalkboards have dried, use your hot glue gun to mount it to your display. Attach an envelope next to it with chalk. Make sure to give your chalkboard 24 hours to cure before writing on it and prepare your chalkboards as I have show in this handy tutorial.

8. Add any stickers or decorations you might like to your homework station or let your kids decorate it themselves.

DIY_Homework_Study_Station_8 9. Clip your binder clips to the top of your display and then add any printables, thoughtful motivational quotes, calendars, etc… to the homework station.

Here are some free printables that I found that I really love:

Weekly To-Do List (A Pair of Pears)

Macaron Calendar (from Jolie Jolie Designs)

Modern Calendar (from LAUs NOTEbook)

If you are looking for more, be sure to check my Printable Goodness Pinterest Board for more ideas.

DIY Homework Study Station from MomAdvice.com.

DIY Homework Study Station from MomAdvice.com.

Good luck to everyone heading back to school! I hope this homework station inspires a fun new homework hangout for your kiddos!  I look forward to showcasing more fun back-to-school ideas to inspire your life this year!

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DIY Outdoor Chalkboard Door

Wednesday, July 17th, 2013

DIY Outdoor Chalkboard DoorWhat could be better than a fun summertime outdoor project? Today I want to showcase an easy DIY Outdoor Chalkboard Door that I created to entertain my kids in the summer months. This DIY chalkboard project that we created is one of my new favorite things in our backyard.  This project featured is in conjunction with my job as a Walmart Mom and all of the supplies can be found at your local Walmart store.

DIY Outdoor Chalkboard Door

Here is a picture of what our tired old door looked like on our outdoor shed. The neutral paint showed all of the dirt, debris, and water drip marks all over it. It was becoming an eye sore in our backyard. Instead of painting it with regular paint, I decided to transform this spot into a new backyard activity area and give the kids a spot to do their drawing outside.

For adult entertaining, this can double as a place to jot down a menu, create a welcome sign for your guests, or keep tally of game scores in a wild game of badminton.

We are crazy like that.

DIY Outdoor Chalkboard DoorSupplies List (if you buy everything it will be less than $25 in supplies!)

1- 30 ounce container of Rust-Oleum Chalkboard Paint in Black Finish (over in the painting supplies)

Soapy Water & Rag (for wiping down your door)

Painters Tape

Paint Roller

Paint Brush

Paint Tray/Liners

Directions

1. Clean your surface and let it dry. I wiped my door down with a grout brush and a pail of sudsy water and then rinsed it with our hose.

2. Tape off around your door handle to protect it from getting paint on it.

3. Pour your paint into your paint tray and begin applying your first coat with your paint roller. The paint will be dry to the touch within thirty minutes, but give it a full four hours before applying your second coat.

4. Add a second coat of paint and repeat with the same timing above, if you desire, to add a third coat.

5. Allow the door to dry for three whole days before beginning  your conditioning or writing on it.

6. Before writing on it, after three days time, condition the surface by rubbing the side of a piece of chalk on the surface and then erase.  I like to rub my chalk in one direction and then rub it in the opposite direction for good coverage. This  will leave a coat of chalk dust that will provide erasability. Your chalkboard can be wiped clean with a damp towel, but wait seven days after painting before wiping it down. Repeat the conditioning step after cleaning.

DIY Outdoor Chalkboard Door

DIY Outdoor Chalkboard Door

Give your kids some chalk and the chance to create their own welcome sign for your guests outdoors!  I hope your family loves this project as much as we do! The best part is the hours of enjoyment they get and the lack of dirt showing on my outdoor door in the backyard.

A win-win for both kids and parents!

If you loved this project, I just know that you will love these ideas for Chalkboard Fun & Outdoor Entertaining!

S’More Toppings Bar Party

DIY Chalkboard Conversation Bubble Cookie Jars

Dollar Store DIY Chalkboard Food Label Frames

DIY Lunchbox Creation Station

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Summer Party Fun: How to Host a S’more Toppings Bar Party

Wednesday, July 3rd, 2013

How to Host a S'more Toppings Bar Party from MomAdvice.com.

If there is one thing we love about summer, it is our s’mores. Today I wanted to showcase a s’more toppings bar that you can create for a summer party and share some unexpected s’more flavor combinations you can try on your s’more toppings bar.

Walmart challenged me to create a summer party that anyone could replicate with just $25 in supplies. I wanted to host an evening for my girlfriends with a s’more toppings bar.

I love that this idea is easy, requires no cooking, and you can even encourage each of your friends to bring their own favorite topping or a drink to share. I displayed my toppings in inexpensive ice cream bowls that you can find over in the seasonal section of the store for a buck each!

S’more Toppings Bar Ideas & Combinations

 

Marshmallow, Strawberries, & Nutella

Marshmallow, Strawberries, & Dark Chocolate

Marshmallow, Strawberries, With Dark Chocolate & Sea Salt Bars

Marshmallow, Bananas, & Nutella

Marshmallow, Strawberry, Banana, & Nutella

Marshmallow & Reese’s Cups

Flavored Marshmallows (Butterscotch, Vanilla & Chocolate Swirl, or Key Lime)

Andes Mints With Marshmallow

Lemon Curd & Marshmallows (hellooo, lemon meringue pie!!)

Marshmallow, Apple Slices, & Cinnamon

Marshmallow, Biscoff Spread, & Apples

Marshmallow & Biscoff Spread

Chocolate Graham Crackers, Marshmallow, & Strawberries

How to Host a S'more Toppings Bar Party from MomAdvice.com.

It was such a fun night and everyone walked away with a new favorite s’more combination.  If you have a load of toppings, you can write titles next to them or give your guests a helpful cheat sheet of suggestions to put together after roasting their marshmallows. Kraft paper can be found over in the shipping & home office supplies section of the store along with Sharpie pens for writing your own cheat sheet of notes.

How to Host a S'more Toppings Bar Party from MomAdvice.com.

How to Host a S'more Toppings Bar Party from MomAdvice.com.

How to Host a S'more Toppings Bar Party from MomAdvice.com.I had planned to host this at my own home, but a powerful gust of storms moved in and left us without power for several days. My dear friend graciously stepped up to the plate to host the evening and allowed me to setup my s’more topping bar at her house.

How awesome is this setup? I know, SO awesome!

I am so thankful for great friends, great times, and great food! I hope this inspires you for a get together with your own friends this summer or even a fun birthday party idea in the summer months!

This s’mores party was such a hit and I can’t wait to do it again and to do something this fantastic for less than $25? Absolutely priceless!

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What is your favorite s’more combination?

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Fresh Peach Sorbet

Monday, July 1st, 2013

Fresh Peach SorbetPeach season is upon us and what could be better than putting those fresh peaches to work in a peach sorbet. This homemade peach sorbet tastes rich and creamy, but is dairy-free and packed with fresh fruit, for the perfect summer treat!

Fresh Peach Sorbet

I was a kid that grew up on the good old-fashioned canned peaches and humbly admit that I had never eaten a fresh peach until this year. Once I tasted how delicious a fresh peach peach was, I realized just what I had been missing all of these years.

Each month, Walmart is challenging  me to use one of their produce items a new way and to share some easy tips for selecting your produce. Have you seen my past projects? I bet you would love our Baked Strawberry Doughnuts and Blueberry Sangria Lemonade that I created with some of the past produce picks.

Fresh Peach Sorbet

How Do I Pick the Perfect Peach?

Look for peaches that have a slight give when pressed, but try to avoid peaches that are heavily bruised. When examining the stem end, they should have a yellow, amber, or golden hue, but not a greenish tinge.

If you have peaches that you’d like to ripen further, leave them at room temperature in a dry area. Check them daily to see if they have reached the desired ripeness and upon reaching that, refrigerate them. Refrigeration helps to stop that ripening process so even those super ripe peaches will last a couple of days longer in your refrigerator.

This month marks one year that I have started my journey on a dairy-free diet. It’s been one of the hardest things I have done, but one of the most beneficial to my health. There are few things that I can’t replicate or substitute, and the only true challenges that present themselves are when I am not at home and able to control what is being served.

Although I have never been a big ice cream eater, sometimes I crave that ice cold treat in the summer. I decided to create this peach sorbet as a special treat for myself. I love this recipe for a lot of reasons; it is jam-packed with fresh fruit, it doesn’t even require you to peel a peach, it has no dairy, and it tastes like summer in a dish.

What’s not to love?

Fresh Peach Sorbet

Why Is There Alcohol in Your Sorbet?

If you don’t want your ice cream or sorbets to freeze as hard as a rock, you can add a little alcohol to your ice cream or sorbet recipes to keep the ice cream softer and easier to scoop. I promise that you won’t even taste it.

Alcohol basically acts as an anti-freeze agent in your ice cream and a little bit will go a long way in your recipes (only 1-3 tablespoons necessary per batch). To read more about the science behind alcohol in your ice creams or sorbets, check out this awesome post from David Lebovitz that explains it a bit more.

If you don’t keep alcohol in your home, try purchasing those mini bottles of alcohol for your homemade ice cream batches. I promise, you will thank me when you don’t have to wait an hour for the ice cream to thaw so you can scoop it!

Why Don’t You Peel the Peaches for the Sorbet?

Why make more work for yourself? Your food processor will do a great job of breaking the skin down in your sorbet and you won’t even taste it. I think it adds some pretty flecks of color throughout the batch and it is less work for you! That is what makes this recipe such a winner with this fruit!

Fresh Peach Sorbet

Fresh Peach Sorbet
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
An easy dairy-free sorbet packed with fresh peaches for a fun summertime treat! Low in calories, rich in fresh fruit, and easy to make!
Ingredients
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 pounds fresh peaches (any variety)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon lightly beaten egg white
  • 1 tablespoon vodka
Instructions
  1. In a small heavy saucepan heat sugar and water, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Cool syrup.
  2. Cut and pit your peaches, leaving skins intact.
  3. Add the peaches to your food processor and purée until smooth.
  4. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and add syrup and lemon juice.
  5. Chill the mixture until cold.
  6. Stir in egg white and vodka.
  7. Add the mixture to your ice cream maker and run as directed (I churned mine for about 15 minutes).
  8. Serve sorbet immediately or transfer to an airtight container and put in freezer to harden for a few hours.

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