What We’ve Been Up To

Marshmallow Gidget Cookies

We are in cozy holiday mode over here, which involves lots of movie nights. I LOVE IT! Since The Secret Life of Pets comes out today on Blu-ray & DVD (the new release comes with close to an hour of bonus footage PLUS 3 Mini Movies, eeep!) we couldn’t help but set up a fancy… Read more »

Desserts, Desserts, Party Themes, Sugar Arts

Holiday Traditions and School Pictures

School Picture OrnamentsHoliday traditions and school pictures: two of my favorite things! Also, Scarlet is my most favorite thing. Like any parent, I see her school pictures and I just go SQUEEEEEEEEE. Here she is from Pre-K through to now, in third grade. We’ve been getting the house all decorated for Christmas and Hanukkah (at the same time this year!) so of course I had to order her school picture ornament from CVS.com/photo. I do this every year, and every year it brings me such joy. School Photo Ornaments It also brings Scarlet joy. While she hangs them on the tree she will talk about her Kindergarten teacher or her favorite book from second grade. It’s so cute. Look at that proud face. Happy Scarlet I like the round porcelain ornament, though they also have glass and wood which are nice. I make them on the CVS site, it only takes a couple minutes, then I usually pick them up in store (though I had it delivered this year, and that worked out great). When CVS asked us to share how we use photos for holiday traditions, it just made sense because I already do this! I also order a bunch of gifts for my in-laws and my parents. My mom loved getting photo gifts of Scarlet, when she died we laughed at how many coasters and canvases and magnets she had of her only grandchild all over her house. It’s really the best gift for a loving grandparent, I think.

CVS also did a survey, and asked us to share some statistics: A recent survey from Harris Poll on behalf of CVS Photo found that 3 in 4 adults (75%) indicate thoughtful gifts are the best to receive followed by personalized gifts at 52%. Nearly 2 in 3 adults have also created a photo gift. So, I guess other people like to put photos on stuff too. School Picture OrnamentsIf you love your kid’s school pictures as much as I do, I highly recommend making them into ornaments. It just adds one more layer of nostalgia to the holidays. I look forward to having 14 of these by the time she heads off to college! I might make her pose for a “school photo” every year for the rest of her life. And by “might,” I mean “will.”

Disclosure: I’m proud to partner with CVS Pharmacy for the Bring Holidays to Life campaign. I am being sponsored by CVS Pharmacy for my posts and activities, but all opinions expressed are my own, and all product claims or program details shared should be verified at CVS.com or with the appropriate manufacturers.

by

Marshmallow Gidget Cookies

img_4863

We are in cozy holiday mode over here, which involves lots of movie nights. I LOVE IT! Since The Secret Life of Pets comes out today on Blu-ray & DVD (the new release comes with close to an hour of bonus footage PLUS 3 Mini Movies, eeep!) we couldn’t help but set up a fancy little snack table inspired by our sponsor Universal Pictures Home Entertainment and my favorite character from the movie, Gidget.

img_1922-copy

Gidget is a white fluff ball of a pup with a pink bow and a heart as big as New York City. I just love how brave and determined she is to find Max. It warms my soul. It’s so fun to fantasize about what our pets do when we aren’t home. I doubt their adventures are quite this exciting.

img_1934

The highlight of our spread was pretty, pretty marshmallow cookies that are simple to put together, darling to look at, and a delight to nosh on. Read on for the simple no-bake instructions plus more ideas for a cute “Pets”-themed party. And yes those are malt milk balls in a kitty bowl. The kids are cracking up. And a little scared.

img_4843

From the humans behind Despicable Me, The Secret Life of Pets is a comedy about the lives our pets lead after we leave for work or school each day. The all-star voice cast includes Louis C.K., Eric Stonestreet, Kevin Hart, Jenny Slate, Ellie Kemper, Lake Bell, Dana Carvey, Hannibal Buress, Bobby Moynihan, Steve Coogan and Albert Brooks.

(more…)

by

All The Wreaths You Could Make This Week

Take some stuff and make it circular, and voila, it’s holiday decor. We love wreaths. They serve no actual purpose, but are festive and joyful. They make me smile and also make me want to craft. Here’s some of our favorite DIY wreath projects from years past…
DIY Jingle Bell Wreath, bonus, it makes a happy sound when guests come over. DIY Jingle Bell Wreath

You need virtually no DIY skills to make this Ribbon Wreath, and it’s so pretty! diy-ribbon-wreath

This fun wreath Jacinda made was featured in All You magazine. I love the surprise of upcycling yogurt cups to make it. A fun one to paint with the littles. diy upcycled yogurt cup wreath

One of our most popular posts ever, this DIY Living Succulent Wreath is sure to amaze and can last forever.diy-succulent-wreath You can also follow our tute for making a living succulent tree.

If you can crochet just a little bit, you can make a Crochet Wreath. Jacinda made two and they’re both so fun. diy-crochet-wreath-1 diy-crochet-wreath-2

And just for fun, make a salad wreath at your holiday party. The kids will love it.DIY Salad Wreath

by

No More Nursery: A Boy’s Bedroom Makeover

lampsplus2

Now that Gordon is a big Kindergartener, our nursery days are over. I’m cool with it. He still gives me some pretty amazing hugs. Welp. Ok, back to that nursery. We recently ditched the toddler bed, moved our queen bed into his room, and upgraded ours to a King. Now he will have a bed he can stay in for as long as he is here. It can be forever. I’m totally ok with that. Now it is time to round out the room with toy storage, a nightstand and some lighting! We’ve partnered with our longtime friends at Lamps Plus, to help us furnish and illuminate the room with their gorgeous products. While the inspiration board above might not look like the bedroom of a 5 year old, that is my goal. I want this to be a room that he can live in for as long as he lives here. Read on for all of the details… (more…)

by

The Real Story of How Our Pets Went to the “Farm Upstate”

chickens-17 If you follow us on Facebook or Instagram, then you may have heard the tragic tale of the prudent chickens. We had our seven chickens for about three years. We loved them. We got two of them as pullets, hatched one of them ourselves, and got the other four as baby chicks in the mail. You can see our life with them at the #prudentchickens hashtag. It was filled with strawberries, eggs, and lazy days in the grass. It was good. Scarlet and Pippi We adored our feathered friends. When we moved to our new house, they were freaking out at night, so much squawking and shuffling. We thought maybe it was because they were in a new place. We were wrong. We awoke one morning a few weeks after moving in to two brutally murdered pets torn apart on our deck. We aren’t sure what animal did this, but there have been coyote sightings in the neighborhood. We definitely have a possum problem, as our gardeners found two dead possum corpses in our yard recently. Regardless, we had to accept that we couldn’t keep the chickens safe in our new neighborhood, which is closer to the mountains and more rich in wild animals then our previous home. chickens So, on that fateful morning, we talked to Scarlet (who luckily did not see the gory bloodbath) about what we should do. We knew that if we didn’t find a new home for the five remaining chickens, that whatever animal had killed the first two would be back, and probably that very night. Scarlet was emotional, but knew that the best thing would be to find a new home for them. So as I drove her to school, knowing she would probably not see them again, she asked me for only one thing: “Mom, whatever you do, please don’t tell me that you sent them to a farm upstate. I saw it on a TV show and I know that’s just a thing parents tell their children when their pets are dead.” I assured her I would not tell her such a lie. chickens-2 So, I dropped her at school, cried some of my own tears, and got on the phone. I called the humane society, I called local feed stores, I posted on chicken message boards, and I waited for replies. The local LA animal shelter said they would take our chickens, but could not guarantee they would be adopted (we do live in Los Angeles after all, not a lot of chicken owners here). The chicken groups all offered to reach out to their friends, but most people who want chickens around here already have them, and introducing a new flock is a fraught situation, as anyone who has ever owned chickens would understand. Then, when I had just about given up hope and was picturing another night of nerves and morning of blood and gore, I got a return call. chickens-7

That call came from an organization called Farm Sanctuary. This is a national charity that rescues farm animals. They have a small farm in Acton, CA about an hour or two from my house. They said I could bring my girls there right away. I packed them up in a dog crate, put them in my trunk, and hit the road. The only catch? Their Acton farm was full, and the birds would be transferred to their bigger farm… upstate.

This sounded perfect to me! And it was, I am so grateful for this organization. The real problem? Explaning to Scarlet that I sent her pets to a farm upstate and I WAS TELLING THE TRUTH. She believed me, but I know in her heart she wasn’t sure. chickens-8

Well, the amazing women at Farm Sanctuary not only rescued our hens from certain death, they also helped prove to my daughter that I am an honest woman. This Thanksgiving week we drove up to visit our family in the Sacramento area, and took a day to drive the couple hours North to the Farm Sanctuary in Orland, CA to visit our sweet birds. What a magical place it is! chickens-17

All five of them were there, happy and thriving, in a magical, beautiful hen house on acres of rolling hills that is really a chicken’s dream come true. I could never have made them such a beautiful home. They will live out their lives as a flock with everything they need. They even got to keep their names. So Queen Singalong Ice Cream, Pippi, Fluffy, Marble, and Zebra are living the good life (R.I.P. Love Traveler and Lemon). chickens-3chickens-2chickens-4chickens-1
The farmers at the sanctuary know the name of every animal there. And we are talking a flock of 30 white ducks, each with their own name and personality. Along with cows, chickens-16 goats,chickens-15 sheep,chickens-13pigs,chickens-9 and their favorite, turkeys (After meeting their turkeys, I can say I have a new appreciation for this animal. They were like puppies, running over for pets and kisses). chickens-11 Thank you so much Farm Sanctuary for giving our girls the home they deserve that we couldn’t provide. And thank you for allowing my daughter and I to visit them. They couldn’t be happier, and neither could we.chickens-6
I donated to Farm Sanctuary. If this story touches your heart, I hope you will too. Learn how to donate to their efforts here: FarmSanctuary.org, and how to tour a farm near you here.

by

Feliz Navidad: Piñata Cupcakes

img_1799

We are loving Elena of Avalor: Feliz Navidad! In partnership with Disney Books, we were asked to come up with a fun sweet treat that celebrates the beautiful Latin and Hispanic-inspired culture featured in this special holiday book. We came up with these easy and adorable cupcakes with a surprise inside. The Piñata Cupcake!

img_1893 img_1866

Here’s every detail that you need to prepare this festive treat! (more…)

by

The Easiest Holiday Coffee Bar

img_1679

This post was created in partnership with Keurig Green Mountain®. All opinions, images, and ideas are my own.

Knock, knock! Since turning into a grown-up and moving to suburbia, I’ve noticed my life involves many more drop-in guests. A misplaced piece of mail, a parent escorting my child to my door from a play date, a holiday cookie delivery from a friendly neighbor (ahem, we love Snickerdoodles); my doorbell always seems to ringing. While being prepared for drop-in guests would make me feel like a total success in life, I’ve never been ready.

People, this holiday season is going to be different. Enter my new coffee bar. We are all obsessed.

img_4785

While you can pull out some fresh milk and cream to be fancy, the most beautiful part of the coffee cart is that it is totally self-serve. With my Keurig® K55 brewer plus dreamy holiday-inspired K-Cup® pods in flavors like Green Mountain Coffee® Holiday Blend Coffee and Cinnamon Sugar Cookie Coffee, The Original Donut Shop® Holiday Buzz, and even Swiss Miss® Peppermint Hot Cocoa for the non-coffee drinkers, you can let guests help themselves with the touch of a button, while you quickly kick shoes under the sofa. Did you know that you can also get K-Cup® pods delivered through Keurig’s Subscription Service?

img_4776

Have out of town family visiting for the holidays? Everyone can make their own piping hot cup of Fair Trade Certified™ 100% Arabic coffee in hundreds of varieties, any time of day. If you are feeling frisky, you can even set out some brandy to turn an afternoon coffee into a hot toddy. Doesn’t your family seem like more fun already?

img_1725

We have our cart dolled up for the holidays with yummy baked things and small gifts for friends but I think the coffee cart might have a permanent home in the kitchen. In fact, I can think of a few loved ones who will be getting a Keurig® K55 brewer of their own this holiday season, especially with this festive Rhubarb color. There is something so satisfying about giving a gift that will get used every day. I enjoy knowing that people I love are thinking about me when they take their first sip of coffee in the morning. The Keurig Gift Guide is a great place to find the perfect gift for the coffee lover on your list.
img_1707

If you really want to make your coffee bar an experience to remember, spice things up with an assortment of mix-ins and toppings like chocolate, chili powder, caramel, raw sugar, cinnamon, crushed candy cane, nutmeg, and Mexican vanilla. There are endless ways to surprise and delight your coffee-loving guests.

img_1727 img_1681

This post was created in partnership with Keurig Green Mountain®. All opinions, images, and ideas are my own.

img_4775

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

by

Mocha Chili Bundt Cake Recipe

Chili Mocha Bundt Cake Recipe To warm your lips as well as your heart, here is my recipe for a Mocha Chili Bundt Cake. It has that Mexican hot cocoa flavor of cinnamon and spice, with a rich mocha coffee decadence that lends itself perfectly to the cooler days ahead. It would go quite nicely with a Smoky Watermelon Mezcal cocktail. But can we talk about the real star here? Yeah, my husband bought me that bundt pan. I knelt down to open up the overly-packaged amazon box, and upon finding this beauty nestled inside I looked up at my husband with a gaze of love so deep and sincere… the best feeling in the world is that of being understood. Recieving this bundt pan as a gift from him made me feel truly known and loved. Ha! I’m only like 5% kidding. This pan is magic, it’s the famous Nordic Ware bundt pan (releases like a dream) in the Jubilee shape, you can find it on Amazon here: Nordic Ware Jubilee Bundt Pan. Ok, but back to the recipe. Make this one up, if you are making it for kids who don’t like “spicy” just leave out the cayenne. Get my Mocha Chili Bundt Cake recipe after the jump… (more…)

by