Birthday Chip Frapp

This post was sponsored in part by Social Spotters on behalf of Shamrock Farms, all opinions are my own. 

With Brando’s 1st birthday party quickly approaching I wanted to pick a theme that matched what he’s in love with. After a lot of deliberation we decided to have a “This Little Piggy” foodie themed birthday. So basically, we skip out on all the kitschy party decor, and go straight to what matters most: good food. While Brando won’t be partaking in this beverage, I wanted to create a non-alcholoic foodie friendly beverage for the party. This is an adults-only drink because of the amount of caffeine in it, but it’s so fun and festive for his birthday party.

Coffee drinks are my jamm, and I’ve literally only met like 3 adults in my life who didn’t LOVE a good coffee beverage, so this idea seemed perfect to match the foodie theme, and be a fun treat for our party people.

This recipe makes 4 drinks so adjust for the amount of party-goers if you’re preparing ahead of time.

What You’ll Need:

2 cups of ice 

1- 12 oz bottle of Shamrock Farms Cold Brew Coffee & Milk

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 cup heavy whipping cream

1/4 cup mini chocolate chips

2 tbsp rainbow sprinkles

How to make it: 

  1. Fill blender with 2 cups of ice.
  2. Add all ingredients to blender- save 1 tbsp rainbow sprinkles for garnish
  3. Pulse blender until ice is good and blended, then hit “smoothie” setting for 30 seconds.
  4. Pour into glass and top with leftover sprinkles.
  5. ENJOY!

This was such a delicious treat to kick start my mid-week slump, and it will be such a delicious treat for our baby boy’s party guests! Combining all of our favorite flavors (coffee, birthday cake, and chocolate) made for one spectacular concoction.

Continue Reading

Creating a Dining Nook on a Budget

This post has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. This post was sponsored by Starbucks as part of an Influencer Activation. I received compensation and complimentary products to facilitate my review. #StarbucksCaffeLatte #MyStarbucksatHome #CollectiveBias

The newest member of our family, Baby Brando, is much more demanding than my first child Cash ever was. He loves to be held all the time, and wakes up much earlier than I had been accustomed to before he was born. While he goes to sleep early- around 8pm- he also gets up for the day SUPER early between 5-5:30am. For a while, I tried feeding him at 5:30 then laying back down and grabbing some extra sleep for an additional 45-90 minutes depending on his temperament, but I discovered in doing this I was actually wearing myself out even more. So recently, I started actively beginning my day at 5 when he wakes up.

It took a few days to fully adjust, but now I LOVE starting my mornings off super early. Typically after Brando is fed, he will go back to sleep for a bit and this gives me time to myself to get some blog work done, eat a good breakfast, and actually have some quiet time to mentally prepare myself for the long day ahead.

starbsfinal

In having this quiet time each morning, I like to have some space to lay out my laptop, coffee, and daily planner. Since we don’t have a formal dining room in this house, I was doing this on the bar/barstools for a while when I realized I did actually have space to put a table and chairs in my living area. I put this dining nook together on just $50 and I’m going to show you how!

First, I came up with my visual concept. The area by my front door has an excellent window for natural light to come through, and it was just housing a playtable and easel for Cash, with plenty of extra room. I took measurements of this area to know what size table would best fill the space without making it look overcrowded.

starbs

After taking my measurements, I took to the internet to find a second-hand table and chairs within my budget. Since I wasn’t buying something brand new, and am not above painting things in my garage I wanted to stick within a $50-60 budget for everything including the cost of paint. I always use a spray paint with built in primer that costs $4 per can, for an average table & chairs which I wanted to paint white, I figured I would use about 5 cans so I factored in $20 for paint. That left me with $30 for a table and chairs, and while it took about 2 weeks of daily looking at the online listings, I found a deal to get a table with 3 chairs in my area for $25. The asking price was $40, but I simply messaged the seller and asked if he would take $25 to keep me within my budget and he happily obliged. I always recommend negating furniture prices online, as most people are just trying to get rid of the pieces for space, and if you’re willing to pick it up they are happy to be letting go of it!

starbs2

Once I had my pieces at home, I laid out a tarp painted them. This took about 12 hours in total for dry time. I did two coats of paint on the table to prevent scratching and get a nice even look, then one coat of paint on the chairs. Once the chairs were finished drying I went over their edges with a piece of sandpaper, to create a more “shabby chic” look.

starbs10

After I moved the kid’s table upstairs I brought my brand new dining table and chairs in, and set up an adorable Halloween centerpiece. To separate the living areas even more, I made a mini gallery style wall above the table with wedding photos and a wall art piece we were gifted for our wedding.

starbs1

With my dining nook finally done, it was time to relax and enjoy this space! My morning ritual is quite simple. After Brando is fed and laying peacefully back in his crib, I pop in a K-Cup® and let the caffeine work it’s magic. My favorite new way to start my day with my Keurig is with Starbucks® Caffè Latte K-Cup® Pods.

starbs3

Made from milk with no artificial flavors, these Starbucks® Caffè Latte K-Cup® Pods enable me to enjoy my favorite latte’s in the comfort of my own home! They come in 5 different flavors- 3 classic ones (Caramel, Mocha, and Vanilla), and 2 seasonal flavors (Peppermint Mocha & Pumpkin Spice, only available for a limited time). What’s even better is that they are available at grocery stores everywhere, so there’s no need to have to hunt for them! The process of making them is slightly different from brewing your typical K-Cup®.

starbs4

First you add your flavor packet to your mug, then you brew your K-Cup® pod, stir well, then enjoy!

starbs5

starbs6

starbs7

This morning routine is so much nicer enjoyed in my dining nook, and starting my morning each day with a Starbucks® Caffè Latte K-Cup® Pod is the perfect way get myself up and going on these super early mornings.

starbs8

What time do you get up in the mornings? What flavor of these Starbucks® Caffè Latte K-Cup® Pods would you try first to start your day with?

starbs9

 

 
2016 Starbucks® Corporation. All rights reserved. Keurig, Keurig HOT, K-Cup and the K logo are trademarks of Keurig Green Mountain, Inc., used with permission.

Continue Reading

Cold-Brewed Coffee At Home

makeyourown

This family runs on coffee. While I am pregnant and only consume about one cup a day, my husband will clear the rest of the pot before 10am, and sometimes we’ll enjoy a cup for dessert as well. While piping hot cup of coffee is something I can enjoy when it’s a little chillier, hot beverages in general are difficult for me to enjoy when it’s 87 degrees outside. While I have tried brewing coffee and pouring it over ice with cream, the ice melts leaving you with watered down flavored coffee water, which is not my jam, so I decided to try cold-brewing coffee at home. I was pleasantly surprised to learn it was an easy task and worked perfectly! Here’s how simple it is:

  1. Scoop 4-5 tablespoons of ground coffee into the bottom of your French Press, then fill the remainder up with water.
  2. Set French Press in fridge for 12-24 hours, the longer it sets, the richer & bolder the coffee flavor becomes.

CB

That’s it! That’s all you have to do to brew some delicious cold brew at home for those days you can’t stomach the idea of a hot cup o’joe.

I finished off my cold brew with half of a teaspoon of vanilla extract, 1/4 cup half&half, and poured it all over ice. It stayed cool and non-watery all morning and was a great refreshing way to start the day, and kick Monday’s butt!

Coldbrew

 

Have you tried cold-brewing coffee? What’s your favorite way to enjoy coffee in the morning?

CB1

Roasted Beans & Vanilla Cream,

B

 

Continue Reading

#WHATIBOUGHTATTARGET

I’m new to this, so don’t be too harsh on me. I attended a blogging conference back in February that instructed all bloggers to get on Youtube and start making videos. Being the procrastinator I am at times, I’m just now starting a weekly video series entitled: “What I bought at Target.”  Come along for a joyous sarcastic ride filled with wonders of the one spot and more…

#whatiboughtattarget Video

I’ll be posting these confessionals every week, so hopefully my editing skills will become more than sub-par here soon. For now I present to you the first edition of my series! After the video be sure to scroll to check out more up close shots of the awesome fall decor I couldn’t live without this week!

IMG_5648

IMG_5668

IMG_5673

IMG_5679

11850928_1054908024520798_1444526506_n

Bullseye,

B

Continue Reading

Egg Hunt Cupcakes

EasterBunnyEggHunt

This is literally the FIRST time I’m using box cake mix in a recipe on my blog! While I love making things from scratch and putting the extra love and effort into things, sometimes I just want to make something because it’s fun, and not worry about the nutritional aspect of it! I mean, from scratch or not, this IS a cupcake full of sugar, it’s 100% okay to skip a step here and there sometimes for the sake of time!

bunnycupcakes

Since I was able to spend less time preparing the cake mix, I was able to spend more time on decorating, making them adorable and perfect for Easter! Duncan Hines Decadent Carrot Cake mix is awesome! I found it at Wal-Mart for just under $3. The kit even includes real carrots and raisins to put into your cake, so the “semi-homemade” aspect feels more relevant with this mix. For these adorable cupcakes here is what you will need!

ingredients

1 package Duncan Hines Decadent Carrot Cake Mix

1 can cream cheese frosting

pastel gel food coloring

1 package (12) Bunny shaped marshmallow Peeps

4 oz white chocolate chips

seasonal sprinkles

1 package edible Easter grass

1 80z package Cadbury Mini-Eggs

12 2in “sticks”- I used paper straws that I cut into thirds.

theperfect

1. Melt 4oz of white chocolate chips in microwave, in 30 second intervals, stirring in between heating. Separate sprinkles you want to use in individual cups. Open Peeps and pull them apart

dipbunny

2. Dip the Peeps lower half into white chocolate, then dip into sprinkles, push halfway into bottom half while chocolate is melted. Lay on flat surface, let cool in freezer 30 min.

bunnys

3. Following the directions, prepare the cupcake mix according to the box. Allow cupcakes to cool for 30 minutes before frosting.

4. In 3 separate containers divide frosting and mix food coloring in pastels you want to use. Frost cupcakes

icing

5. Push in blades of edible grass, Push Peeps bunny in, and add Cadbury Eggs to the top! The batch makes about 18 cupcakes, and I only had 12 Bunnies, so I made some that just looked like Easter eggs next to blades of grass in a field!

singleblue

These really are such an adorable cupcake to make! I enjoyed making them, and Cash is enjoying devouring them! I can’t wait til my family sees them on Sunday!!

Hippity-Hoppity,

B

Continue Reading

Easter Crafting & Decor – Giveaway Post!!!

I really love making things with Cash, and watching him while he explores and creates. Last year he was so small and it was his first Easter ever, so we just made some cute Carrots out of his footprints . They turned out really adorable, I made a set for each of the Grandparents, and they totally loved them so much I decided to make something fun this year for them too!

PaintedEasterEggs

This year since Cash is a bit older and more aware of what’s going on, I wanted to let him really play around in the paint, so I simply cut out an decorative egg ‘stencil’ from a piece of cardstock, and taped in onto another piece of cardstock, then just applied small dots of  non-toxic fingerpaint in fun spring colors to each paper, and put it all out on a washable blanket for Cash to explore and play.

babybath

Honestly the first thing he did was stand up and then sit right back down in the middle of all the paint papers, it was so funny! He then proceeded to repeat the cycle of getting up and sitting back down in the squishy paint several times, before finishing his masterpieces by walking all over them. Not quite the finger-painting craft I had envisioned, but such a fun memory, and while the paint did leak through my makeshift “stencils” I still love the cuteness of these painted eggs!

eggpaint

After allowing to dry for a few hours, I peeled off the “stencil” to reveal a cute, only semi-messy tie-dyed looking Easter Egg!  I set mine on display in the living room in a great wooden serving tray with a heart full of jellybeans, a Robin’s Egg Blue tart burner, an adorable vintage floral placemat and a cute inspirational sign! I love this little display, and I love that I can look at this and laugh at the memory of how much fun Cash and I had playing in the paint!

eggontray

I love having small touches of seasonal decor throughout my home, it just makes me feel more festive! This serving tray is so much fun, it’s so cute, was super easy to assemble, and very affordable! This is just a basic wooden serving tray which you can find at a craft store for around $10, the tart burner, jellybeans and glass heart came from the Dollar Tree, and to add a special spring touch I added this adorable floral paper placemat.

simpleandaffordable

These placemats come in a huge book so you can alternate them in any home space! The “From The Garden” Book of Botanical Paper Placemats can be found anywhere you’d buy a book, and is only $14.99 for 48 placemats!! However you can win it here now!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This Beautiful Botanical Paper Placemats Giveaway will run until midnight Sat. April 4, 2015! I love using these to brighten up meal time, and obviously for decorations! They are so cute and unique!

trayagain

springgarden

florals&faunas,

B

Continue Reading

Pinterest Wins: The Struggle behind the Victory.

Lately it seems like “Pinterest Fail” photos and links are all over my social media news feeds. Being a blogger, and a crafty person, I typically am the one uploading and creating fun craft ideas and recipes. It’s a rare occasion for me to pin something and follow the directions, as I’m more of a “Pinned it, Spinned it” kind of girl. However, since I’ve been selected out of thousands of applicants to host an amazing #Disneyside @homecelebration, I wanted to go ALL OUT, and really show the world my party planning & prep skills. I created a fabulous Pinterest Board full of Disney ideas, and I WAS really committed to recreating each of those darling crafts for Cash’s Disney themed Valentine’s Day party. That was until last night…

I found this pin, and while I don’t typically do processed foods in general, I thought they would make the cutest little treats for the kids goody bags! Seems simple and self explanatory right?

1. Put 2 halves of a mini Oreo on the side of 1 mega-stuffed or double stuff Oreo

2. Dip in melted chocolate

3. Allow to cool for 2-3 hours

4. Dip bottom half in red baking melts

5. Dip stick into red baking melts and attach to Oreo

6. Allow to cool and then add your buttons

Here’s how it really went down:

1. Shuffle through Oreo package and pick out the 20 cookies that aren’t ALREADY broken

2. Attach Mini-Oreos to the top, and try not to break the big Oreo in the process (this happened about 13 times)

3. Once you have your unbroken Mickey Mouse Oreo heads, dip them in chocolate. Only, when you dip them, the little Oreos will fall out, causing a huge chocolate mess, globbing, and breaking of the big Oreo. Think of a different way to coat the top in chocolate. Try using a spoon, but don’t coat with the spoon too hard, or the ears will fall off and break the big Oreo… Try using an unused paint brush, immediately stop when you see the paint brush hairs coming out in your chocolate. Try to stop crying, suck it up, it’s a PINTEREST CRAFT for God’s sake, you CAN and WiLL do this!!!

FullSizeRender-2

4. After about 2 hours of attempting to glop chocolate on enough to cover the top portion of Mickey’s head, and having just BARELY enough to put one in each child’s goody bag say to yourself “That’s Good enough”, and put them in the fridge overnight, you’ll need your rest if you’re going to finish these damn things.

IMG_1501

5. Wake up and have a TON of coffee. Count your Mouse heads just to make sure you have SOME room for error (if you don’t have room for error, start back at step 1)

Now the next problem was my fault, the pinner’s instructions CLEARLY said “Red Baking Melts”, but Target had vanilla almond bark melt on sale for less than $1 a package, and I THOUGHT (silly me) that I could just add red food coloring to that and it would work. WRONG. Food coloring in almond bark melt completely takes away it’s dipp-able consistency and you end up with a weird dry frosting-like substance. So…

6. Think on your feet! You can’t have red bottoms, so dipping them in white, and covering them in pink sprinkles for Minnie and red sprinkles for Mickey will work!!! This part actually was the easiest part! It worked, and was super simple, though it didn’t produce that “professional pinnable” look I was hoping for, at this point I just wanted to be done without quitting! Side tip: remember to turn your heat off while doing this, otherwise your lovely chocolate covered Mickey Mouse tops will start to melt in your hands as your dipping.

7. Dip your stick (in my case cute paper straws that I cut in half) into the white chocolate then attach it to the bottom of your mouse head. Don’t try to force the stick in, or the Oreo will break. Don’t be too gentle inserting the stick, or it will fall right off. After proper insertion of said stick, CAREFULLY place these precious Mickey and Minnie’s in the refrigerator . If you want, after 3 hours, you may take a few out to photograph, after a battle like that, you’ll want a keepsake from this Victory.

IMG_1513

Mine certainly don’t look anything like the pin, but after a process that took about 4 hours altogether, I’m marking this one as a win in my book, and from now on I’m going to stick to uploading the pins myself again! If you’re out there struggling with a pin, know that you are not alone, and you CAN avoid the Pinterest Fail, if you have a positive outlook, a glass (or 4) of wine, and stick with it!

IMG_1530

IMG_1528

Double Stuffed and Mini,

B

Continue Reading

Merry & Bright. Inexpensive Christmas Decor Ideas.

I can’t explain how much I LOVE Christmas. I really let my inner child go nuts around this time of the year, and Christmas decorating is one of the ways I do so. Now, I realize these decorations will only be up for a little over a month in my home, so I don’t see a lot of point in spending a ton of money on decorations. Last year my mother gave us a nice 7 ft. fake tree, and then we probably spent about $20 at the Dollar Tree as well as $30 at Wal-Mart getting ornaments, lights and other decor. Since we had a new baby last year, it was hard to get to sales or really get out of the house much, so our tree and few countertop decorations were fine with me then. This year though I really wanted to make our house feel magical for Cash. While I do have some decor in various places throughout my house, my officially titled “Christmas Room” is my favorite place to be this holiday season.

I spent about another $30 on Holiday decorations this year between Target, Wal-Mart and Dollar Tree, and I figure hopefully I’ll be able to grab lots of stuff when it goes on sale after Christmas this year, to make my home extraordinary next year!

The Christmas Room

deckthehalls

As you can see there are no decorations on the bottom portion of my tree, Cash thought those ornaments were over kill and he quickly removed them for me.

I love how bright blues contrast with reds and while it’s not a typical Christmas color combination, the teal end table really helps the reds to pop and make the room even more “Winter-Wonderland-y”

For the ceiling I found this candy cane striped ribbon, and these awesome glitter reindeer ornaments at the dollar store. I bought 2 spools of ribbon, and 2 (sets of 2) reindeer ornaments totaling $4 for this craft! I tied the ornaments to a variety of different ribbon lengths then simply pushed a thumb tack through the ribbon and the ceiling, and they hang making the room so fun! I also got red, green and gold thick garland ($3 total)  and pinned it into places on the ceiling, which added that extra fun glisten on the roof!

seasonsceilings

I found these awesome little pails decorated for the holidays at the One Spot in Target. I got 2 for $2, then also picked up this felt tree for $1 as well. I put this little arrangement on my table in the room. Cash loves to dance with this Santa who sings that we “won” last year at a White Elephant gift exchange. Then in the kitchen I filled a clear flower vase with a sleeve of ornaments I got at the Dollar Tree ($2 for 24), and used Cash’s sidewalk chalk to color on this fun countertop easel I found at Michael’s for $3!

IMG_9140

kitchen

Outside we hung a beautiful wreath and put some bright multi-colored lights around our front windows

wreath

A fun way to make it feel more like winter in Florida, or to make it feel more holiday-ish in your home if you don’t have a fireplace, is to download the free HD Fireplace app and set your tablet up in a little nook! This little cut-out in my end table was the perfect place for a faux-fire! The app even allows you to pic different strengths of fire, while you play Christmas music or listen to fireplace crackling sounds!

DIYfireplace

Another tip is to find items you have around the house and think of creative ways to make them holiday-themed. We took this chalkboard in Cash’s room and made it a Christmas decoration simply be using some sidewalk chalk and making a bow out of wired ribbon (Dollar Tree $1).

holidaydecortip

I’m really happy with the way our Christmas room turned out! I plan on slowly but surely continuing to check for sales and adding new items to my holiday decor collection each year so that by the time Cash is older our house is Christmas central! For now this is definitely my favorite room in the house! I love how retro, yet modern it looks! Perfectly Clark Family style! Don’t be afraid to pop some pastels in with your traditional red, gold and green either! I found an adorable pink fleece blanket for $3 at Big Lots with such fun retro green and red trees on it. While it is pink it doesn’t look overly girly, or out of place which makes it another great and affordable addition to my holiday decorations!

IMG_9319

merrychristmas

Santa Claus is Comin’ to town!

B

Continue Reading

Creamy Spinach and Artichoke Dip at home.

James and I have been lo-carbing it recently in order to shake off some pregnancy weight (yes he gained some sympathy lbs like a good fiancé does lol) and we’re really missing some of the things we’d get at restaurants when we eat out. Pizza being the main thing we’re struggling with, however we also miss things like chips, fried cheese, and you guessed it, Spinach and Artichoke dip. I knew that the fundamentals of spinach and artichoke dip were simple, so after finding some awesome “crackers” made 100% out of parmesan cheese (carb-free), I decided to do some experimenting and see if I could make a dip from scratch in my kitchen. The results were awesome! A delicious dip that only took about 15 min to create! The best part is while it is high in fat, the dip only has carbs in the vegetables, so its diet approved!

Ingredients

1/4 cup sour cream

4 oz fresh spinach

1 jar (8oz) artichoke hearts

1 8oz package of cream cheese – James and I actually used a cream cheese/greek yogurt blend to add protein and decrease fat

2 tbsp garlic

1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese

salt and pepper to taste

1. Cut spinach and artichokes into small pieces

2. Boil spinach and artichoke hearts, and 1 tbsp garlic until very tender (about 8-10 min)

3. Drain spinach/artichoke mixture

4. Mix in the rest of the ingredients, until smooth and blended well.

Then sit back and enjoy. We ate these with our parmesan “crackers” and also I cut up grilled chicken into strips that we also dipped into this awesomeness!

spinach

 

 

Continue Reading

Drunkin’ Pumpkin Spiced Lattes. The Perfect Fall Cocktail

Pumpkin everything is apparently everything right now. Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook have turned a what was once a casual seasonal flavor to an all out craze. I, being a lover of all things Pinnable have admittedly jumped aboard this bandwagon. Last year I did mini-pumpkin pie cheesecakes, which were amazing! This year since I’m not currently living with another person inside my body, I wanted to make a grown up cocktail that could be enjoyed at any point of any gorgeous fall day.

Ingredients serves 4

1 tsp Pumpkin Extract

6 cups freshly brewed coffee

3 oz. Baileys Irish Creme

2 oz. Pinnacle Pumpkin Pie Vodka

ingrediants

Directions

1. Brew 6 cups of Coffee

2. Add pumpkin extract, stir.

3. Add Vodka and Baileys, mix well

4. Pour into coffee cup, top with whipped cream, a sprinkle of cinnamon, and seasonal favors as desired.

5. Sit outside and enjoy!

pumpkinspiced

I found these seasonal appropriate marshmallows at Wal-Mart and they are Pumpkin Spice flavored! If you’re not into all the fancy toppings just throw a handful on top of your delicious drink for a really cute way to celebrate the season!

drunkin

For this and other amazing seasonal recipes check out Lover.ly!
Hot Toddy’s and Apple Cinnamon Dreams,

B

Continue Reading