Monday, July 7, 2014

Summer Vacay

Happy July friends!

We hope you're having a fantastic summer. We have gotten a little busy with life lately so rather than posting randomly, we are just taking a blog vacay for the month of July.

We will be back and refreshed in August! Be sure to follow us on Facebook {click that fancy button to your right} so you'll know when we've got new stuff to share.

Enjoy your summer!

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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Homemade Lemonade Spritzer

I've been trying all kinds of fun things with my Soda Stream. One of my favorite drinks so far is this Lemonade Spritzer!

By far, my favorite recipe for homemade lemonade is from Pioneer Woman. It takes a little time but it is so worth it. It works well for this drink because you can use some of the concentrate with regular water and reserve some of the lemonade concentrate (the lemon juice + sugar water mixture) to mix with soda water, or you can just make a bunch of soda water- totally up to you.

I reserved 1.5 cups of the lemonade concentrate in a mason jar and kept it in the fridge. When I was ready for a refreshing drink, I just mixed the concentrate with soda water straight out of the soda stream to my taste (I like mine with more concentrate, less soda).

Add ice and a mint sprig for garnish and you've got yourself a spritzer!

If you're so inclined, adding a little vodka makes this a delicious adult beverage. Trust me.

Happy Summer, friends!
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Thursday, June 12, 2014

Sweet Snack: Fruity Grahams

Summer vacation is in full-swing here at my house. My kids don't seem to be too bored, but, we're only in week 2 of vacation. Actually, this is their first full week off, so I'm guessing by Friday afternoon I'll be hearing "I'm bored! There's nothing to do! Moooooom, lets do something!". It's inevitable.

When summer rolls around, I like to have lots of healthy and fun snacks on hand. I prep snacks on the weekend, which helps a ton during the week. All of the fruits and veggies are ready to eat and easily accessible, so, the kids can grab what they want without having to ask!

I have a few fun snacks that are my "go to" snacks during the summer- frozen grapes, frozen yogurt dots, and frozen peanut butter banana sammies. I may need to break for a snack now...

Earlier this week I was thinking really hard about a fun new snack I could make for the kids and these fruity grahams were the result. It's like a mini fruit pizza, but healthified. I swear it's a word. Well, it is now. I think I've used it enough times throughout my posts on the blog that it's justified as a word.

What I love about this snack is that it's simple. Graham crackers, fruit, plain greek yogurt, and a little pure maple syrup. That's it! It's also a fun way to get kids involved in the kitchen. Plus, it saves them from their boredom. ;)

Fruity Grahams
makes 12 

6 sheets of organic graham crackers, halved (just break in the middle)
1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
2 teaspoons pure maple syrup
assorted sliced fruits

In a small bowl, mix  yogurt and maple syrup until well combined. 

Spread a spoonful of yogurt on to each graham half. 

Top with your favorite fruits and enjoy! 

Tip for making for a crowd: Place graham cracker sheets on bottom of a cake pan, spread the yogurt on top, then top with fruits. The graham becomes soft if it isn't eaten right away, which would make for a yummy dessert to take on 4th of July or to your summer BBQ! 

Miss KK approves these, and she happily obliged to eat about 3 of them while I took pictures of her.

What is your favorite summer snack? 
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Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Healthier Soda

Recently, I have made the decision to stop drinking pop (soda, coke, whatever you call it in your neck of the woods :-)).

I was able to completely cut out soda and I talked about that here. Now that I'm not craving pop anymore, I want to be able to enjoy a little fizz every now and then. Especially now that we have entered into the hot and humid Oklahoma summer days. There is something super refreshing about a fizzy, ice cold drink on a hot day. I didn't want to be tempted to fall back into my pop drinking ways, so, I've done some research and decided to purchase a SodaStream.

This post isn't sponsored, I have no affiliation with SodaStream what so ever. 

You can see here that SodaStream is a healthier alternative to many sodas you can buy at the store. But what I really loved was the opportunity to make my own syrups and even add fruit to the carbonated water so that I can enjoy a variety of healthy beverages this summer. Not to mention, it's a much greener alternative to buying all those bottles and cans!

I've already consulted Pinterest and found a few recipes I will be trying for homemade syrup. I have a few ideas of my own to test as well.  I will keep you updated on my favorites!

In case you're also considering purchasing a SodaStream- there's a $20 mail in rebate available now on all models over $65. This was what convinced me to go ahead and purchase ;-)

Do you have a favorite SodaStream flavor or recipe? I'd love to try it! Leave it in the comments, please and thank you!

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Friday, June 6, 2014

My Office Must-Haves

This post is not sponsored.

Oh my. Wedding season kicked off in mid-May and I have been so busy that I've been abandoning this little ol' blog. Between doctor appointments, meetings, soccer practice, and just life in general, I could use a few more hours in my day!

Since I've been spending SO much time in my office, I thought I'd share 3 of my favorite Office "Must Haves" with you all on this Friday afternoon. I love me some office supplies, but, these 3 I could never live without!

Clipfolio: I found this little gem at Target a few weeks ago. It's a clipboard/notepad/note holder all in one. I clip a weekly "to do" list on the front at the beginning of each week. It has business and personal things listed and is easily accessible to me to see at all times. Once the included notepad runs out, you can just replace it with any 8 1/2 x 11 notepad. This thing has a permanent spot on my desk!

Seagate Slim Portable External Hard drive: This super slim external hard drive is my lifeline these days! I love that it's so small and can fit virtually anywhere- I just keep it in my desk drawer and pull it out when I need it. It holds a ton (1 TB) and is perfect for backing up pictures or other documents. It was super easy to set up, too!

Erin Condren Life Planner: I've gushed about my love for EC many times over on this blog, but really guys, I couldn't function without my LP. This thing literally holds my life- weddings, consults, soccer practice, birthdays, editing schedules, engagement session dates, bill due dates... it's all in here!

What are your office "must haves"? I wanna know so I can go out and buy some more fun things for the office. I mean, after all, you can never have enough pretty and functional office supplies.

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Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Prevent the Sunburn Peel

Every Spring, without fail, as soon as I come out of "hibernation" I end up with a sunburn. It usually happens innocently enough. The first time it's warm enough for a tank top I think to myself "I'll only be out for a few minutes... I'll be fine".

Well, even if it's just 5 minutes in the sun without sunscreen, I burn. I'm so diligent about sunscreen with my kids, I should really pay more attention to MY shoulders once in a while.

When I burn, I peel. Always. My whole life. This is how it happens: burn, peel, if it's still red under "the peel" I will even peel again! No joke. I have tried so many things to prevent the peel. Lotions, gels, all kinds of stuff.

Unintentionally, I put some baby oil on my arms and shoulders after a sunburn last month and guess what?! No peeling!! I couldn't believe it!! I thought the baby oil would help hold in moisture so that it wouldn't peel as bad. But it didn't peel at all. Talk about a cheap and quick fix!

Here's what I've figured out about this little trick:

  • Baby oil does, indeed, hold in enough moisture to help prevent peeling. Use it everyday for best results. (even when you aren't sunburned, it is still nice to use)
  • Don't use the oil on skin that is still hot to the touch. You don't want to trap in the heat. So you may need to wait a day before you start trying to prevent peeling.
  • I put the oil on just before I get out of the shower- while the water is still running. This helps to wash the excess oil off so you aren't all slimy when you get out of the shower.
  • Blot the water off with a towel when you get out of the shower- you don't want the oil to rub off on the towel.

Obviously, the best way to prevent peeling after a sunburn is to not get one in the first place, so wear your SPF folks. Don't be like me  ;-)
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Thursday, May 29, 2014

Kitchen Patrol: Dirty to Clean in 10 Minutes

The summer after my Freshman year in college, I worked at a summer camp as a "kitchie". KP duty for a whole month. While it wasn't the most glamorous job- it taught me a lot. The kitchen was huge and had to be kept very clean and very organized. We ran a tight ship and meals and clean up were always really efficient. I loved that everything had its place and that there was a process and procedure for everything. It fit well with my Type-A tendencies.

I'm far from my college days but a few lessons from that summer have stuck with me.

Despite my best intentions, my kitchen now goes from nice and neat to chaos in the blink of an eye. With 4 people in and out all day it doesn't take long before my kitchen looks like this:
**Warning: It's about to get real!

This is what breakfast, lunch, and baking a snack looks like in my world!
This would logically be a major cause of stress. However, I have a few tricks that help me turn that mess into a clean kitchen in 10 minutes. Here's how:

First, I unload the dishwasher. This is made easier by the Pampered Chef Tool Turn-About. I don't have to sort cooking utensils or shove them into drawers. They quickly slip into one of the compartments and I'm done.

My cast iron skillet lives on my stove. I cook with it almost every day. There's no sense in burying it in a cabinet. Speaking of cabinets, I make sure my kitchen cabinets are organized efficiently.

After I unload the dishwasher, I re-load it. Shocking, I know. The important note here is that I only un-load and re-load once a day. Yep, that's right. I don't like to do this chore, so I do it daily and I let the dirty dishes pile up on one side of the sink. Sometimes not everything fits, so the "extra dishes" stay on the right side of the sink waiting their turn. I realize that this won't work for everyone but it's one of my sanity saving tricks.

Loading the dishwasher typically clears 1/2 of my counter space. The other 1/2 is cleared by putting things in their place and throwing away trash. I'm not sure how so much trash ends up on the counter- mere feet from the trash can. It's one of life's mysteries.

I save time putting things away because I keep my most used stuff on the counter. My tool turn-about, my canisters, knife block, etc. This eliminates the step of having to pick them up and put them away- it's more efficient. Now I don't take this too far. There are a lot of things that are still out of sight, what you see are the things I use daily and they are pretty :-)

Once everything has found its home and the dishwasher is running, I take the last 45 seconds to wipe the counters down with Clorox Wipes. Man, are these things amazing! They make quick work of stuck on food, crumbs, and spills. I love how they go from counter to sink to stove. This is the real secret to how fast I can clean my kitchen- they just make it so easy!

So there you have it. 10 minutes, once a day, clean kitchen tips and tricks. Once a week I clean the floors and sink to stay on top of things. But I love having a clean kitchen every evening!

What's your secret to a cleaner, more efficient kitchen? I'd love to know!
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