I’m so excited to be apart of the Uplift Families Parenting Conference family this year. I’m most excited for the opportunity that I’ll get to spend with my husband and the chance we’ll have to reconnect over parenting. First Lady, Jeanette Herbert, has started the initiative to make sure that all children have a good environment that starts in the home. I was so impressed with all her achievements throughout the years and I’m excited to see all of you!
Use this code – 2016$5offFW to get $5 off your registration and let’s compare notes on all what we’re doing wrong in the parenting world! Join us on Saturday, August 27, 2016 at the Thanksgiving Point Show Barn.
It’s a luau themed with dinner, entertainment, inspiring speakers, exhibits and giveaways. Renowned presenters and experts on the family will give Parenting TIPS (Teaching Important Parenting Skills).
The cost is only $25.00 per couple or $15.00 for an individual. Seating is limited.
This post is brought to you by our friends at The Baby Cubby.Diaper bags are so hard for me to get right. I’ve had several through the years and I finally made the perfect choice with the Ju-Ju-Be Be Classy and guides like this one from The Baby Cubby helped in that search. I’m going to be answering questions that I’ve often wondered about in how to pick the perfect diaper bag. I’d love to hear some of your feedback as well.How many pockets will you need? You definitely want one or two on the exterior to hold your bottle. I like that the Ju-Ju-Be has insulated pockets so that you don’t have to take a separate insulated bag to keep your water warm. I also like them to be easily accessible for everyone involved. If you have to dig through your bag just to find the bottle, it’s not worth it. On the interior it’s great to have 2-4 more so that diapers, medicine, Copper Pearl bandanna bibs and pacifiers all have their own dedicated space.
How large should it be? I am a big bag lady – not the Erika Badu kind – the larger the purse is, I’ll buy it. I personally think that no bigger than 18″ on the base is really needed when it comes to diaper bags. You want it to be large enough to carry all your essentials and yet easy enough to carry.
Should I get the backpack or purse style? I prefer backpack style so that your arms are free to do the heavier duty things. Backpack style bags are great for traveling and walking around but it’s a little harder to keep on if you don’t have both straps around each arm. Purse style diaper bags are great for convenience. Their zippers are easily reachable and you can grab and go and not worry about other straps dragging on the ground. Look for a purse style that has a strap that can be added to convert it into a tote, I think you’ll love that.
What will I put in it? Your life! It’s so important to have the little things available when you need them and you’re not always going to be home. I like to stock up my bags with at least 10 diapers and a pack of wipes. I always have an extra change of clothes on hand because they’re babies we’re taking care of. I also keep some medicine and always a spare pacifier because I lose those all the time. I’ve already lost 4 pacifier clips and I’m surprised I haven’t lost my baby…yet. What material is best? I go for a material that I know will not get holes easily (that’s obvious) but there are so many options when it comes to material it just is really about preference. I’ve had a real leather bag that to-be-honest wasn’t worth spending all that money on. I have a faux leather backpack style one and I do appreciate that one because the pleather is on the inside and out. I personally prefer the Teflon protection that the Ju-Ju-Be bag offers. It’s easily cleaned and it has my favorite ‘crumb drains’. You have no idea how much you’ll use that feature. Get one that can be wiped down or washed easily, that’ll make life so much easier than having to walk around with a giant stained bag.
Should I buy a gender-neutral bag or go all in on patterns? When you invest in an item, you want it to be timeless. The same thing is true when buying diaper bags. Get one that suites your style and can be carried by both you and your partner. Get one that most people can’t tell it’s a diaper bag. You’re already tired from having a baby, you might as well feel like your style is somewhat amped up with a stylish bag.
How much should I pay? I would rather pay once for a good quality bag than have to buy 2-3 bags at $50 a pop. You end up getting the one you want in the end anyways. Be sure to try it before you buy it. Don’t be afraid to see if there is a local boutique that carries the bag and try and bring what you think you’ll carry in it to give you an idea of functionality. If you buy online like I do, be sure to buy from a company that has a good return policy and don’t throw anything away until you’re sure it’s the right one.
Will I use it as much as I think I will? Answer for me was yes. I did opt for the neutral patterned bag and so I use t as my purse and my diaper bag at the same time. Look for bags that serve a dual purpose and ones that have places for mom, not just baby. Be sure to get the style that you will like as in the tote style, backpack style or purse style. Get one that you actually want to carry around and your investment will be well used.
**This is a sponsored post but all opinions are mine. Thank you so much to Pure & Original Paints for providing the materials.
So I’m late as always to the deadline party for The Fab Furniture Flip Challenge. Ugh! I swear if my head wasn’t stuck to my neck, I’d lose it for sure. This months theme was “Pure Colors, Original Elegance”We’ve had this piano in our home for about a year. A friend of ours gave it to us and I didn’t want to make a hasty decision by just painting it a color I would end up not liking. The nice people at Pure & Original Paints sent us two quarts of colors of our choice in the Classico line. I chose Antique White and Tin Kettle. The Tin Kettle was the color I chose to do the first coat so that I could feel the texture of the paint. There are some differences in all chalk paints but this is one of the better brands I’ve used. It’s thick and creamy and gives you the option to thin it out a bit with some water.I started with my base coat and when I put on my second coat that I wanted to be smooth, I just dipped my brush lightly in water so that I could get a smoother coat. I used a natural bristle brush and it took two coats. I added these knobs from Anthropology and my little Heidi Swapp art project I made two years ago.I love the matte finish that the Pure & Original Paint gives the piece. I’m planning on upholstering the bench as soon as I get my Ryobi One Strike Stapler. Girl can only dream!If you’re interested in seeing more pieces, check out the two hostesses for this month, Thirty Eighth Street and Anastasia Vintage. If other bloggers are interested in joining this contest, email one of these girls at email@example.com
I am super excited to announce that I am going to be a contributor for Made by Pinterest! I’m super excited to be over there with those three wonderfully talented sisters. I’ve followed their site for a while and love that they have such a loyal following I was really excited to have these Kitten Ear Barrettes as my first tutorial. These were a little tricky for me because I used what I had on hand but I’m going to redo them when I have a chance and do it a better way. We all learn from our mistakes. I’ll let you know what those are but for now, you better be all ears!
I started with some leather in black and mauve. My black leather is actually pig skin, super light and flimsy. The mauve is upholstery leather, very stiff. You can easily use felt or some stiff fabric that you have on hand or run to the store. You really only need about 4-5″ of each color. I used the snap barrettes but I’m telling you now – DO NOT USE THOSE – use the alligator clips that have teeth. These will really give you a grip and will help your ears stay in place much longer.
So start with cutting out your shapes. I used a shape on my electronic cutter but you don’t need one of those by any means. Just eyeball it but make sure that your base width is as wide or wider than your clip, just like the picture and about 1″-1 1/14″ long. I cut mine before I looked at my clips – dumb mistake. Cut another piece that is going to go into the center and glue. I suggest hot glue or E6000 with a fine tip. Make it the exact same shape but a 1/4″ smaller all the way around.
You’ll now want to adhere them onto your clip with the hot glue. I just adhered the black part and I recommend that if your felt or fabric is extremely thick, either sew a small stitch or glue it so that it will stay folded upwards. This is why it was good to have the thicker leather, to help it stand. I especially think these are cute on little girls but they are definitely hip to wear with someone in their 20’s. Definitely a hipster accessory.
I hope that if you have questions, you’ll ask. When I do the update, I’ll be sure to point you in that direction. I think these would be darling also for a cat Halloween costume for moms or girls, too.
I’m so excited to have Nicole Carpenter guest post today for us! I have loved her new book, 52 Weeks to Fortify Your Family – 5 Minute Messages. We have been using it on Monday nights for our weekly family nights and I’ve seen a huge difference in the way we communicate and love each other. I highly recommend this book even if you’re not Mormon. There are many ways that we can learn from each other and the Mormon church teaches many reliable things about family.
Take it away, Nicole!
I have a love-hate relationship with Pinterest. I love the pretty images, the useful life hacks, the picture-perfect recipes and the birthday party ideas.
Yet I hate how the beautiful images make life seem so unrealistically perfect and the picture-perfect recipes haunt me because I never cook them. Most of the things on Pinterest remind so many of us of our weaknesses, not our strengths.
However, when it came to the origins of my book 52 Weeks to Fortify Your Family: 5-minute messages, I loved Pinterest. Like love, love loved Pinterest. Because of this image and idea-sharing site, my original devotional series posted years ago on MOMentity.com spread like wildfire and other families all over the world could find the spiritual help they were looking for to fortify their families.
And now that blog series has been expanded into a book. 52 Weeks is a theme-based approach to daily devotionals for Latter-day Saint families. The book offers an assortment of topics from kindness and citizenship to prayer and the repentance.
One of my favorite things about this book is a section included near the back that I haven’t talked about much — holiday devotionals. Now it’s nothing near as fancy as the holiday helpers you’ll find on Pinterest, but as far as teaching the gospel in your home goes, I think you’ll love them!
Love & Valentine’s Day
The Atonement of Jesus Christ & Easter (part 1)
The Resurrection of Jesus Christ & Easter (part 2)
Nation & Independence Day
Fear & Halloween
Gratitude & Thanksgiving
The Nativity & Christmas
So as you continue to search Pinterest for homemade Valentines ideas or fun Easter crafts for the kids, just know we’ve already got your devotionals covered!
I’m so excited that 52 Weeks is already a #1 bestseller on Amazon! If you want your own copy you can grab one online at Amazon, Barnes & Noble or in person at Deseret Book or Seagull Book. Or – if you’re feeling lucky – maybe you’ll be the winner of the autographed copy we’re giving away!
NICOLE CARPENTER is an advocate for strong families. She believes in focusing first on strengthening mothers so they can fortify their children. Nicole is a mom mentor, speaker and founder of MOMentity.com, a blog and online community for mothers, reaching out to moms in over seven different countries. She is the creator of the Define Your Time™ time-management e-course and the Mothers of Magnitude Academy. Nicole’s parenting column publishes regularly on KSL.com and has been syndicated in several other online news sources. 52 Weeks to Fortify Your Family: 5-minute Messages is her first book.
Nicole graduated with a B.A. degree in Public Relations from Weber State University, where she also met her husband, Marty. They reside in Syracuse, Utah and are raising four incredible children, including a set of identical twins. And to make it all happen, she may or may not rely on Diet Dr Pepper and chocolate-covered toffee hidden in the fridge.
This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #YoursandMine #CollectiveBias
**Just a disclosure and me being a meany pants. All my printables I offer are free for personal use only. I really hope I don’t have to talk to you in my scary mom voice cause my kids don’t like it and I’m sure you wouldn’t either, thanks!
My husband gets a lot of heat from me and not in a good way. I decided this Valentine’s Day that I’d treat him to a gift basket to include some of his favorite treats and continue a tradition that we do with our kids but extend it to him. I created some cheap and fun date night ideas that can be opened and redeemed once per month that will help us live down memory lane. Let me tell you our story. It’s pretty funny and not your ordinary love story.
My husband, Efi and I met in October 2003. He was visiting from California and I just randomly showed up at a friend of a friend’s house for a party. It was awkward cause I knew a few people but not a lot. I thought he was my friends ex-boyfriend when I saw him far away but as he came closer, things were much better! My brother has a friend who always was so cute and he knew it and he knew I thought it and his name is Garrett, when I saw Efi – he is the Tongan Garrett, lol!
He knew he was cute and I kind of thought I wasn’t his type, I know now that I’m not his type. We didn’t talk much that night and he ended up going inside the house and I left. We ended up there the same night the following week and he had just gotten dropped off from another date (yes, that’s true). Well, someone asked us to go grab some cheeseburgers from the local fast food joint and since him and I were the only ones not drinking, we were clearly the obvious choice. We went through the drive-thru and had some more opportunity to chat and he was very friendly and a total flirt. We got to the window and the guy asked us if we had seen anyone because someone had tried to rob them through the drive-thru the night before. I totally laughed in the guys face, poor guy. We grabbed the food and Efi was trying to tell me where to drive back to the house but really he was trying to show me a place to make out, hahahaha! The hormones of 20 year olds. Anyways, I’m sure you can imagine we obviously made out that night, of course, he’s the Tongan Garrett! I’m not letting this one slip me by!
I kind of thought I wouldn’t really see him again after that but we kept in touch and he was really the first person that I could really relate everything to. That would be my heart, my faith and my past. He got me, he understood me and he loved me. That’s all I could ask for and for him to be my partner and my spouse now for the last 10 years, I couldn’t imagine my life with anyone else. It really takes love to know how to support and care for you. Anyone can come in and say it, but it really comes down to actions and I’m so grateful for him. He deserves the world and I hope I’m able to provide that to him as well.
For his gift this year, I really wanted to go back to our first years together and print out some coupons for him to help him remember our first memories together. We used to walk around Temple Square in the snow, drive around all the time, hang out with friends, watch movies, cook, get ice cream, go to movies, go to the dollar store in our poor days. These are some special memories that aren’t so specific that I made up for a printable that you can easily make them yours too. Now, when I say play at the park, I mean actually play on the toys, not make out. We are grown now so we don’t need to go to the park to make out anymore, we can do that at home ;). So with that said, I headed over to Walmart and grabbed the K-Y® YOURS+MINE in the K-Y® DATE NIGHT pack with super discreet packaging. For more great Valentine’s Day ideas, visit www.k-y.com. I know that any husband will enjoy the time and thought put into anything that their wife gets them. It’s not about the money but always about the thought put into something. Take the time in your marriage to communicate and really take the time to love each other.
I wrote this post as part of a paid campaign with Plaid Crafts, Michaels and Blueprint Social. The opinions in this post are my own.
I love this little thing. It’s perfect for Valentines Day or Spring and really any day of the year to give your home a fresh floral look. Michaels sent me some items and I was asked to make one of their new Spring Wood Surfaces creatively using Plaid Craft products.
I started with applying my Mod Podge – I did this in one solid step because my tissue paper is a roll. If my paper was actual sheets, I would do this piece by piece. I start with the bare minimum that I think I’ll need. If you overdue it with the Mod Podge, you risk tearing and an overall non attractive project (I learned years ago the hard way!)
Start by pouncing and add any additional that you may need, remember that your foam brush is usually always filled with the product as well. I then laid my paper on the wood surface and tried to make it as smooth as possible. It won’t be perfect and that’s what the sandpaper is there for later. I allowed this to dry overnight and then I carefully cut around the Sprind Wood Surface to remove the excess tissue paper. I then decided to go on the inner and outer edge with the Gilding Paint.
With my wreath I chose some artificial flowers I had on hand. They are about 2″ in diameter and about 5 to a stem and I needed 10 total. I cut them about 1.5″ below the bud and just stuck it into my wreath form. I didn’t glue it because of the wire and I might want to use this form again. I grabbed some 1.5″ grey satin ribbon from a local shop here and just wrapped it around the wreath where no flowers were yet. I then sandpapered the inner and outer edges of the surface to give it a bit of a worn look and then I hot glued the ribbon to the back of the wooden surface and then I filled in the sparse areas with the remaining flowers.
Make sure your following Michaels and Plaid on all the social media channels so that you can stay up to date with all the hottest products and projects! Follow Plaid on Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
I hope you love this, I plan on giving this to a dear friend of mine who I just love and I know she’ll love it too! XOXO – Lindsay
*I did receive her new cookbook in exchange for this post but all opinions are my own
I love to cook but most of all, I love to find some new recipes that my family and I can try. I’m a lover of soups in the fall season and when I was looking through Martina McBrides new cookbook Around the Table, I was immediately drawn to a few recipes but this Southwestern Corn Chowder sounded right up my alley. I’m lucky enough to get to share with you a few recipes today included this Corn Chowder and some delicious others! Make sure your scroll to the bottom for your chances to win your very own copy!
One thing that I loved about Martina’s cookbook is that she has everything planned out for you and your party. She has the menus of course, but she also has the playlists, the weeks and days ahead task lists and some unique things that you can add to your table to make your party yours! This one is definitely a keeper and it easily grabs your attention with the beautiful photography and props. The food is the real reason we’re there and it’s hard to know if a singer/songwriter really has what it takes in the kitchen. Let me be the one to say that it’s an absolute yes! I was so impressed with this soup that it will now be a staple on our kitchen table.
Southwestern Corn Chowder
Serves 10 to 12
Corn chowder is such a satisfying soup. Creamy and savory, it hits the spot. I like this version’s Southwestern take.
1. Cook the bacon 6 to 8 minutes in a large Dutch oven, over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Drain the fat, reserving 4 tablespoons.
2. Add the reserved bacon fat and onion to the Dutch oven and cook over medium heat for 4 minutes, or until tender. Add the bell pepper, celery, and chilies and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the salt, cumin, black pepper, and cayenne pepper. Increase the heat to high and add the wine. Cook until most of the liquid has evaporated, 3 to 5 minutes.
3. Add the potatoes and chicken stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 25 minutes. Stir in the corn.
4. In a medium bowl, combine the cream and flour, stirring with a whisk to create a slurry. Add the slurry to the Dutch oven and cook over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, for 8 to 10 minutes or until slightly thickened. Stir in the cilantro. Garnish with cilantro and
reserved bacon pieces, crumbled.
8 slices thick-cut applewood-smoked bacon, cut into 1⁄2-inch pieces
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 medium red bell pepper , chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 fresh, small poblano chilies, seeded and cut into 1⁄4-inch dice
1⁄2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1⁄2 teaspoons ground cumin
1⁄2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1⁄8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 1⁄2 cups dry white wine or chicken stock
1 1⁄2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1⁄2-inch cubes
6 cups low- sodium chicken stock
3 1/2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels (about 12 ears if using fresh)
1 cup heavy cream
1⁄4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish
Autumn Chopped Salad
The Balsamic–Poppy Seed Dressing (recipe follows) has a pleasant tanginess that is a
nice change of pace from the usual super sweet poppy seed dressings, plus it balances
the sweetness of the dried cherries and pears. I dress the salad very lightly and offer more of the dressing for guests to add at the table if they wish.
3 romaine hearts, chopped (about 8 cups)
2 small Red Bartlett pears, chopped 3⁄4 cup dried cherries, roughly chopped
3⁄4 cup pecans, chopped and toasted
6 slices thick-cut bacon, cooked and crumbled
1⁄2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1⁄2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
1. Combine the lettuce, pears, cherries, pecans, bacon, feta, and parsley on a large
platter or in a large bowl. Serve with the Balsamic–Poppy Seed Dressing.
Tip: Have you ever noticed that when you toss a salad all the good stuff (in this case the
fruit, nuts, cheese, and bacon) goes to the bottom of the bowl? I like to toss the
chopped lettuce with the dressing and then add the rest of the ingredients on top. It’ s
really pretty that way and it ensures that everyone gets a
little of everything on their salad plate. This salad is pretty enough to bring to the table to serve.
salt, and pepper in a food processor, pulsing 3 times. With the food processor running,
gradually add the olive oil through the feed tube, blending until incorporated.
2. Pour the dressing into a screw-top jar and store in the refrigerator. When ready to
use, shake to recombine.
Triple Chocolate Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies
Makes 32 cookies
As I’ve said before, I’m not a great baker. But every once in a while I get the urge to bake or make cookies with Ava. This is a holiday twist on the oatmeal cookie. The orange and cranberry take it to a whole new level! Double or triple this recipe depending on how large a crowd you expect or if you’re packaging these as party favors. The prepared dough keeps well, covered, in the refrigerator. Let it sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes, then scoop and bake.
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two 17×13-inch rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt in a medium bowl and set aside. In a large bowl, beat the butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar with an electric mixer until smooth and fluffy. Add egg, vanilla, and orange zest and beat until blended. Add the flour mixture and oats and stir until blended. Stir in the chocolate chunks, 1/2 cup of the milk chocolate chips, ½ cup of the white chocolate chips, and the cranberries.
3. Drop the batter by rounded tablespoons onto the prepared baking sheets, at least 2 inches apart. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes, or until the edges are lightly browned. Cool on the sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer the cookies to a rack and cool completely.
4. In separate small bowls, microwave the remaining ½ cup milk chocolate chips and ½ cup white chocolate chips at high power for 1 minute, stirring after 30 seconds. Using a small spoon, drizzle the melted chocolate over the cookies. Let stand until the chocolate sets, about 1 hour. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.)
For myself I really can’t say anything bad about these recipes, they’re really delicious and satisfying. This would be a great gift to give a mom, sister or aunt for Christmas and Amazon has them for less than $22! Grab it here. You can also enter the Rafflecopter! Good luck, it ends Dec. 4th at Midnight CST and HarperCollins will ship out the book to the winner. Thanks so much!
From the book AROUND THE TABLE: Recipes and Inspiration for Gatherings Throughout the Year by Martina McBride Copyright (c) 2014 by Martina McBride. William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. Reprinted by permission