Archive for August, 2013

7 Easy Chalkboard Paint Crafts

Thursday, August 29th, 2013




The back-to-school season is in full swing and to honor that oh-so-wonderful time of year, I thought we could talk about fun chalkboard paint crafts today.

What could be more fun than chalkboard paint projects and what better time to tackle a project like this then when the kids return to school?




Before I begin, I must disclose that I am absolutely obsessed with chalkboard paint and chalkboard paint projects.

Don’t believe me?

Check out our outdoor chalkboard door, our chalkboard lunchbox station, our chalkboard pumpkin people,  our chalkboard cookie jars, even our homework stations are adorned with chalkboards.

I, basically, have chalkboard paint under my nails almost every day and I have even accidentally spray painted my feet a time or two with chalkboard spray paint.


It just goes to show that the possibilities are absolutely ENDLESS with chalkboard paint and how much fun these projects are.

Today I wanted to show you all of the fun DIY chalkboard paint projects you could try in your home with items that are cheap and easy to find.

Just doing this gathering of ideas is quite dangerous for me because I am already planning my next trip out there to do these fun projects!

You won’t believe how fun or how easy the projects are that we are featuring today!





Personalize a Mug

Plain white mugs can often be found inexpensively just about everywhere, but I am particularly in love with this chalkboard paint mug because it can also be a great way to cover up a mug that has a company logo on it.

I am madly in love with this adorable mug from Craft-Werk because it can be personalized to its recipient or even personalized just for yourself.

Check out the tutorial to find out how to create & cut your silhouette for your very own “moi mug.”  (@ Craft-Werk)





Organize Your Family

‘Tis the season for getting organized so why not do it with a magnetic chalkboard calendar that can be personalized just for your family.

To create this craft, head to your favorite second-hand store to find the perfect frame in the size you need for your wall.

Spray paint the frame a color to match your home and then, utilizing some cut-to-order sheet metal, create a surface to jot down all of your families activities.

Visit PSA Stamp Camp to find the tutorial for this magnetic chalkboard calendar. (@ PSA Stamp Camp)





Organize a Junk Drawer

One trip down the housewares aisle and I am sure you will spot many a jar that could use a good home.
Open one drawer in my home and you will quickly see that creating a chalkboard jar organization system would be a lot better than the exploding drawers that are currently residing in my office.
I love this fun and easy chalkboard mason jar storage from It All Started With Paint.
Have no fear if you only find yourself with jars and no lids.
Lids and bands can be purchased separately at just about any superstore that sells canning supplies  (@ It All Started With Paint)

Create a Chalkboard Labeled Cabinet

There are so many places that are a wonderful resource for gently-loved furniture and just about any piece could be transformed into useful and organized storage with the addition of a little chalkboard paint.

I love the functionality of this beautiful chalkboard-painted piece featured on homelife for one clear reason…it showcases the beauty of chalkboard paint in other colors.
Don’t feel like you have to be limited to just the black chalkboard paint.
This piece is not only eye-catching, but it also offers smart functionality for kitchen storage.

Personalize Your Stemware

Anything to prevent ending up with the wrong glass at parties is a win for me and I have fallen in love with this idea to add a chalkboard stem to a wine glass from Always Order Dessert.
If you head to your local thrift store you will find a lot of beautiful stemware that just might not match together.
Adding a chalkboard stem to each wine glass adds a little cohesiveness to a mismatched set and makes for a fun addition to your entertaining supplies. (@ Always Order Dessert)

Make Dining Fun Again

Do you have a worn table in need of a face-lift?

Maybe you have spotted a table at a garage sales or Goodwill that could use a little personal touch to it?
Look no further than this amazing chalkboard table transformation for making dining as a family, fun again.
I love the idea of adding this touch to both dining tables or to craft tables.
Consider adding a thought-starter question to the table, adding the evening’s menu, or simply labeling the food that is laid out for the meal.
Check out this fun table makeover from design sponge for some inspiration for your thrift store purchase (@ design sponge)

Add Food Labels to the Buffet

Is a chalkboard table too big of a commitment?

No worries!
Consider visiting the housewares section for simple small frames instead and give them a new look with chalkboard paint.
Did you know that chalkboard paint can be applied to glass?
Using a little chalkboard spray paint, you can transform any frame at Goodwill into a mini chalkboard to add a label to your dishes at holiday or large gathering meals.
To make mismatched frames feel part of a set, spray paint them all in one color like this cheery yellow! (@ MomAdvice)

Have you tried any chalkboard paint projects in your home? Share your success stories here!


This post contains affiliate links



Don’t miss these other great ideas from



DIY Chalkboard Cookie Jars




No-Sew Chair Cushions




How to Spray Paint Furniture



Meal Prep Ideas




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Amy’s Notebook 08.28.13

Wednesday, August 28th, 2013


Source: Thrifty Decor Chick


This ombre-painted-squares wall turned out SO cool! I can’t believe it was done to work around existing squares, it seems like it was totally planned this way, doesn’t it?

Think how many ways fun, scrabble-style chalkboard tile place cards could be used: on kids desks as name plates, as food labels at potlucks, as holiday decorations (how about ‘Boo!’ or ‘Welcome’?), and of course as place cards!

Love these simple ‘balloon’ cupcake toppers made from suckers – what a fabulous idea!

Yes, yes, yes – heart healthy power banana split bars with quinoa, oats, dried cherries and other good stuff.

I’m feeling the need for a bit of school food inspiration (already!) so these after school snack ideas are perfect timing!

And since the season of busy weeknights is here again, Spinach Pesto Chicken with pasta sounds like a yummy and quick dinner for our menu.


I hope you enjoyed this collection of gathered links to DIY crafts, food projects, and thrifty ways to spruce up your home. Nothing brings me more joy then to highlight other fabulous bloggers. Follow me on Pinterest for daily inspiration!


Slow Cooker Honey Bourbon Chicken Wings

Tuesday, August 27th, 2013

Slow Cooker Honey Bourbon Chicken Wings from 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 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 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 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

Slow Cooker Honey Bourbon Chicken Wings
Recipe Type: Appetizer
Author: Amy Allen Clark
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!
  • 4 pounds chicken wings
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup Teriyaki sauce
  • 1/4 cup Sweet Baby Ray’s Kickin’ Bourbon Wing Glaze
  • 1/8 cup olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  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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Apron Full of Giveaways 08.27.13

Tuesday, August 27th, 2013

red polka dot apron

Source: Sew Liberated,  $11.95 (apron pattern)


Welcome to our Apron Full of Giveaways! I hope everyone is having a great week this week! As we do each week, here is our round-up of giveaways for our readers. We hope that this is beneficial to you and your family! Please let us know if you guys win anything- I love to hear the success stories!

Below are the contest links-if you are hosting a contest please link it up below. Sorry, we are not giving away the aprons just showcasing them! Please put your site name and then what type of contest you are hosting. For example, “MomAdvice (Kid’s Movies).”

Good luck to each of you!

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Greek Quinoa Salad

Monday, August 26th, 2013

Greek Quinoa Salad from

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

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 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


Greek Quinoa Salad
Recipe Type: Side
Author: Adapted From Bobby Flay Fit
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.
  • 1 lemon, zest and juice
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 clove garlic, smashed and finely chopped to a paste
  • 1/4 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
  • 1/2 cucumber, diced and seeds removed
  • Feta for sprinkling on salad (optional)
  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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Late Night Entertaining With JACK’S Pizza

Thursday, August 22nd, 2013

What a fun summer this has been working with JACK’S Pizza and getting to share some tips on great outdoor entertaining. If you have missed my first two posts, I would love for you to check them out as I have covered everything from the basics of outdoor entertaining  to rethinking your outdoor entertaining altogether.

While you are out browsing, be sure to check out the JACK’S Facebook Page or for some fun strategies for outdoor entertaining. You will love their great grilling tutorial and just how easy it is to grill out back with JACK’S Pizza.

Speaking of outdoor entertaining, do you ever do any late night entertaining? We love to spend the later hours in the summer out on our patio with friends. With that in mind, this month, I wanted to share with you some easy tips for making late night entertaining fun for the whole family.

Late Night Entertaining With JACK'S Pizza

Add A Little Sparkle to Your Patio

It is always nice when you can have friends over in the evening and not have to sit in the dark. Consider adorning your patio or deck with inexpensive twinkle lights to extend the hours of your outdoor entertaining. Just two strands of twinkle lights brightened our entire patio and allowed us to entertain for longer hours outside.

With the patio lit for the adults, have kids capture their own twinkle lights by providing good old-fashioned mason jars with perforated lids (so the bugs can breathe!) to catch fireflies in the evening hours. Encourage the kids to have a contest to see who can capture the most twinkles in the jar. Just make sure to have the kids set their new friends free before bedtime!

Add Glow-In-The-Dark Fun

If there is one thing my kids love in the summer months, it is getting the chance to stay up late and play outside with their friends. You can purchase glow-in-the-dark bracelets and glow sticks at your local dollar store that kids can use to play with as the sun goes down.

A Little Something Sweet

Who doesn’t want something sweet after dinner? S’mores are a fun treat to indulge in no matter what hour of the night and a s’mores bar is a fantastic way to spend an evening with friends.

Try a new spin on entertaining with s’mores and prepare them on the gas grill for speedy and delicious results. Set up your gas grill for indirect cooking over medium heat.  Simply put eight graham-cracker halves on a piece of aluminum foil and place on the cooler side of the gas grill. Top 4 graham-cracker halves with chocolate and the other four halves with marshmallows. Cover your ga grill and cook until chocolate melts and marshmallows soften. This should take a mere 3 to 5 minutes.

Leave the halves open and allow everyone to add their own fun additions to make their own favorite s’more combination. By doing them on the gas grill, there is no need to tend a fire or worry about kids around it, and it gives you a chance to make a large batch at once.

Late Night Entertaining With JACK'S Pizza

And A Little Something Savory

While your gas grill is nice and hot from all of your s’more making, consider grilling up some JACK’S Pizza for any guests who could not make dinner. Did you know that you can grill JACK’S Pizza on your gas grill? To learn more about this easy grilling technique just head to to find out how. The  “JACK’S Summer Grilling” cooking directions explain how to cook up the same great tasting, crispy-crust JACK’S Original Pizza on the gas grill that the family has come to love from the oven. Consider preparing a few of these delicious pizzas for those late-night guests and enjoy the savings and convenience of affordable pizza at home while you enjoy the company of friends and family.

It has been such a pleasure sharing information about JACK’S Pizza with you and to get to work with this fantastic company this summer, sharing tips and strategies for outdoor entertaining. I am so thankful I had the opportunity to work with them and to share my experience with my readers. I hope you have enjoyed it as much as me!

For more information about how to enjoy JACK’S Pizza on the gas grill visit


As a spokesperson for the JACK’S Summer Grilling program, I’ve received product samples and compensation for my time and effort in creating this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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Amy’s Notebook 08.21.13

Wednesday, August 21st, 2013

Zucchini Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies

Source: Two Peas and Their Pod


What a great, kid-friendly way to use August’s plentiful zucchini: Zucchini, Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies – yum!

And since we’re loving all the fresh peaches in season now, this Stone Fruit Sangria is calling to me!

I’m completely intrigued by the cilantro vinaigrette included in Shrimp and Bell Pepper Stir Fry with Asian-Cilantro Vinaigrette – doesn’t it sound amazing?

Speaking of amazing, check out this Massachusetts Farmhouse Where Color & Pattern Meet – love it!

And while these adorable diy Felt Play Mail Envelopes and Postcards were intended for Valentines Day, they are too cute not to use year around and would make a perfect little addition to a playhouse area.

You know I love knitting, so you’re probably not surprised that I’m psyched about the new Purl Soho Video Tutorials from The Purl Bee – the first one about Yarn Overs is so clear and easy to follow!


I hope you enjoyed this collection of gathered links to DIY crafts, food projects, and thrifty ways to spruce up your home. Nothing brings me more joy then to highlight other fabulous bloggers. Follow me on Pinterest for daily inspiration!


Apron Full of Giveaways 08.20.13

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013

superheros aprons

Source: Sew Many Possibilities,  $25.00 (kids sizes)


Welcome to our Apron Full of Giveaways! I hope everyone is having a great week this week! As we do each week, here is our round-up of giveaways for our readers. We hope that this is beneficial to you and your family! Please let us know if you guys win anything- I love to hear the success stories!

Below are the contest links-if you are hosting a contest please link it up below. Sorry, we are not giving away the aprons just showcasing them! Please put your site name and then what type of contest you are hosting. For example, “MomAdvice (Kid’s Movies).”

Good luck to each of you!

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21 Back To School Organizing Ideas

Monday, August 19th, 2013

Can you believe that school has started for many already, and will be starting for everyone else within the next couple of weeks? It’s crazy how fast the summer goes, yet I always look forward to a brand new school year and that great fresh feeling of fall!  Dealing with all the busy schedules, paperwork, homework, and meals during the school week is part of the fun, but also can lead to feeling overwhelmed if not tackled in the beginning.

Now that my kids are a bit older, I’ve found that if I start out on the right track with simple, doable organizing strategies, then the rest of the year goes much better than when I put off setting up simple systems or decide to just wing it.

21 School Organizing Ideas

With this in mind, I’ve put together 21 Back To School Organizing ideas to inspire you and help you get the year off to a good start for you and your kids. I’ve picked some classic tried-and-true Mom Advice systems that work for us and gathered a few other amazing ideas in three main categories:

  • Making School Memories/Showing Love
  • Life Organization Tips for The School Year
  • Organizing Dinners, Lunches, and Snacks

Teacher School Supplies Cake ::

Making School Memories/Showing Love


Teacher’s School Supplies Cake (use the sales!)

Creating Back to School Traditions

First Day of School Pin/Barrette

19 Teacher Appreciation Ideas

Mason Jar With Chalkboard Printable Tags @ The Crafted Sparrow

First Day of School Journal @ Happy Clippings

School Year Time Capsule @ Family Volley

DIY Command Center ::

Life Organization Tips for The School Year


DIY Command Center

DIY Homework Station

The Top 7 Apps to Organize Your Life

Simplifying Your To-Do List

Organizing School Papers @ One Creative Housewife

Simplifying the Morning Routine @ Homey Home Design

After School Routine with Free Printable @ Living Locurto

Clothing Organization @ The Idea Room

DIY Lunchbox Creation Station ::

Organizing Dinners, Lunches, and Snacks


DIY Lunchbox Creation Station

Dorm Mini-Fridge Healthy Makeover

Free Weekly Menu Planner Sheet

15 Back to School Treats @ Rainbows & Honeysuckle

Quick Tips for Packing Lunches @ House of Hepworths

Pantry Organization for Easy Weeknight Meals @ BHG

I hope this helps you all get off to a successful school year start. And I hope you share with us some of your favorite back-to-school organizing tips!


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DIY Homework Study Station

Thursday, August 15th, 2013

DIY Homework Study Station from

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 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

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

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

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

DIY Homework Study Station from

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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