Tuesday, April 21, 2015

CINNAMON FRENCH TOAST BAKE

I honestly cannot believe it has taken be this long to share this recipe. Probably because I try and focus more on heathy recipes and this isn't exactly health food. It may not be overly healthy, but it is dang good - like the absolute best french toast bake you will ever have! I first had this recipe four years ago when I went to my friend's house to visit her after her baby was born. It was amazing and I had to have the recipe. I have made it for every Mother's Day brunch, bridal shower and baby shower I have thrown ever since. Every time I make it, at least a half dozen women ask me for the recipe. THAT is how you know you have a good recipe worthy of making for every special occasion! What I love about it (besides the fact that I could eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner) is that it is cheap and super easy. I whip it up the night before so all I have to do in the morning is sprinkle on the topping and bake it for an hour.



Ingredients:
1 loaf french or sourdough bread (or leftover bread/buns of any kind)
8 eggs
2 cups milk
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons vanilla

Topping:
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 stick cold butter - cut up into pieces

Grease a 9x13 pan with butter. Tear apart bread into chunks and distribute in pan. Mix together eggs, milk, cream, sugar, & vanilla. Pour over bread, cover & store in refrigerator for several hours or overnight.

In separate bowl, mix flour, brown sugar and cinnamon. Add butter pieces and cut into dry mixture until mixture resembles fine pebbles. Store in a ziplock bag in refrigerator.

The next morning (or after it has sat for several hours) preheat the over to 350 degrees. Sprinkle on topping and place in the oven. Bake for 45 minutes for a soft, bread pudding like texture and bake for one hour for a firmer, less liquid texture.
(I bake mine for about 50 minutes)

Drizzle some pure maple syrup on top and serve.






Sunday, April 12, 2015

ELLIS & FINN'S BIRTHDAY / EASTER

How can my little Easter baby be three??? It just doesn't seem possible!

Last weekend our family, along with Logan's sister's family, joined forces to throw a big birthday/Easter celebration. We celebrated Ellis' 3rd birthday and Finn's 6th birthday. I am a sucker for a good party theme, so we went with animals in party hats and all things Easter. We had tons of yummy food, a bounce house, an egg hunt, and a visit from the Easter Bunny himself! Let's just say Ellis slept like a log that night. A bounce house and all her cousins make for a very crazy day! :)

Between our two kids and all of Logan's sibling's kids, there are eight kids - all six years and under. One of our family traditions in to take 'couch pictures' where we line all the kids up on a couch, either stick bunny ears or Christmas jammies on them and snap hundreds (no joke) of pictures until we think we may have gotten one where every child is looking. There is usually at least one child who has expired and is completely losing it and at least one who WILL NOT sit no matter what. It is kind of hilarious. For the picture below we added in Logan's cousin's two kids. So here they are, five girl bunnies and five boy bunnies. ;)

CAKE DETAILS: safari animals, cupcake wrappers, and tiny tinsel poms for the party hats are all from Consumer Crafts. I made the table top out of two strawberry wafer cookies that I hot glued together, used a scrap piece of vintage fabric for the tablecloth and straws for the legs. The little cakes are life savers that I painted with watered down food coloring and topped with frosting and sprinkles. I designed the banner and it is held up with straws and the string is baker's twine, also from Consumer Crafts. Cake recipe is from Half Baked Harvest and the frosting is from Cooking Classy.
Animal crackers are my weakness - especially when dipped in frosting!!! For party favors, I filled plastic cups with animal crackers and then mini cups with frosting and sprinkles to dip them in! I put them in clear plastic treat bags, twisted them shut with silver twist ties (used a pen to curl the ends), and slapped on some cute custom stickers with Ellis and Finn's ages on them!

I used custom printed gift wrap from tinyprints for the table runner and it was perfect!!!
Everyone thought it was so cool that it said their names!


I found the most adorable stationary for Ellis' thank you notes that went perfectly with our theme!





We got Ellis a wubble bubble ball (say that 5 times fast) for her birthday and it was a hit! Unfortunately, it popped. :( so... if you are going to buy one, just make sure you keep your receipt. We took ours back and got our money back, but I am half tempted to try one again. The kids really did love it... while it lasted.




Wednesday, April 1, 2015

FREE PRINTABLE: MAGIC JELLY BEANS

I found this idea on pinterest a year or so ago and I am so excited that Ellis is finally old enough to get excited about it! I decided to design a cute little packet to put the 'magic' beans in and turn it into a free printable so you guys can do it with your kiddos as well! I have so many memories as a kid getting so excited about the magic of the holidays. This is just another tradition to make Easter even more magical than it already is.



DIRECTIONS:
- Buy a bag of jellybeans and a bag of lollipops or suckers
- Download the free printable and print on card stock or thicker paper (8.5x11")
- Cut out and score on the dotted lines (shown below)
- Secure the tabs with double stick tape
- Fill the packet with jellybeans
- Put the packet in a fun place for your kid(s) to find on the Saturday before Easter
   (under their pillow, in the mail box, in their shoe, etc.)
- Have them plant (or sprinkle) them either in a bowl of sugar or outside in the lawn
- After they have gone to bed, replace the beans with lollipops
- Watch them get so excited in the morning when they see that their magic jelly beans have turned into lollipops!!!


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

PRODUCT REVIEW: FIRMOO

I have a confession to make, I do not actually need glasses. Nope, these baby blues provide me with 20/20 vision! Seeing so many girls who look just plain adorable in their little black specks (my best friend being one of them) has secretly given me glasses envy. That being said, I jumped at the chance to try a pair from firmoo.com.


Don't get me wrong, I am happy that I do not actually HAVE to wear glasses, but it has been fun getting to try a pair and wearing them as more of an accessory!

My only experience buying glasses has been sunglasses and because I have a long, narrow, and somewhat square face it is always a bit of a struggle. Most glasses are quite wide for my face, so when I put them on, they go way too far out on the sides. Logan bought me a pair of Ray-Bans last summer and he had to get the special 'thinner' ones so they would look normal on my face. So when I went on firmoo.com to pick out a pair, I had to pay real close attention to the width of the frames to make sure they were narrow enough for my face. All of the measurements are clearly shown, the pictures are great, but what I really love is the pictures of (non-model) women wearing them.



So, I ordered my glasses and they shipped right away. They came in this great little case with a cleaning cloth. Now, since I do not actually NEED glasses, I am not about to spend an arm and a leg on fake ones. Firmoo.com is more than fairly priced AND if you are a new customer, you get 50% off your first pair!

So go check them out! I love mine so much I made this my profile pic! ;)

Sunday, March 8, 2015

HEALTHIED UP ST. PATTY'S DAY RICE KRISPIES TREATS

I just found out the other day that I could send Ellis to daycare with treats for the kids. For some reason I thought I wasnt allowed to b/c of food allergies, but it turns out none of the kids in her class have any food allergies! 

Ellis loves to watch and help me bake, so I figured it would be a fun Sunday afternoon activity for us to make some a St. Pattys Day themed treats for Ellis class. Now of course I have to try and healthy everything up and lets be honest, I can sometimes get a little carried away. I once made deviled eggs with greek yogurt for a family event and my brother in law will not let me forgot how awful they were. Lol

Anyways, I wanted them to be at least a little healthy, but I also wanted the kids to actually eat them, so I made a healthier version of rice krispies treats. What kid doesnt love rice krispies treats? Ok, what adult doesnt? Yeah, they are yummy! I took out the butter and marshmallows and added natural peanut butter, flaxseed meal and honey! Now they are by no means health food, but they are a heck of a lot more nutritious than the classic version.




Here is the recipe. Both Ellis and I loved them and I am hoping the kids will as well!

Ingredients
1 cup creamy natural almond butter (I buy mine from Costco)
2/3 cup honey
2 tsp. vanilla extract
¼ cup flaxseed meal
8 cups crispy rice cereal
8 oz white backers chocolate

Instructions
1. Spray a 9x13 pan with cooking spray and set aside.
2. Heat the almond butter, honey, and vanilla in a medium size pan on medium heat, stirring until everything is melted together.
3. Remove pan from heat and stir in the flaxseed meal.
4. Add the cereal, stirring well until everything is fully combined.
5. Pour into prepared baking pan and use a spatula or your hands to distribute the mixture evenly, pressing down firmly to ensure that the mixture is tightly packed.
6. Place pan into fridge and allow to cool for at least 30 minutes before cutting into squares.
7. Once the pan is cut into squares, place chocolate into a microwave safe bowl and nuke on high in 30 second intervals, mixing between each. When chocolate is fully melted, add in a few drops of green food coloring and stir.
8. Frost the bars with green chocolate and sprinkle what sprinkles or lucky charms marshmallows.


Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

ROOM DESIGN: Ellis' Big Girl Room

I have had Ellis' room done for about 9ish months now, but I FINALLY got around to taking pictures of it to share with all of you! :) I truly love interior design and someday hope to make a post about exactly how I go about designing a space. Yes, I actually have a process. I like interior design, but I LOVE interior design on a dime. Anyone can buy adorable things from PB kids, spend a fortune and have it look amazing, but it takes a bit more work, effort and an eye for what you like to pull it together on a dime. Not that there is anything wrong with buying from PB kids (their stuff is to die for) but I just have so much fun treasure hunting and finding unique pieces to decorate with - plus we are the Buells - we love a deal. ;)








ROOM DETAILS:

Wooden wall: Made by my husband. We bought boxcar siding (tongue & groove) from Menards, installed it and whitewashed it. $400 and a whole lot of elbow grease later Logan wanted to kill me, but at the same time was pretty proud. :)
Got my inspiration HERE.

Quilt: The top was made by my great grandmother - backing and edging done by my mom.

Sheets: Lands' End - no longer sold, but THESE, THESE and THESE are fun

Cube organizer: Kallax Shelving Unit from IKEA with these baskets in light green.

Double shelf: VARDE Wall Shelf with hooks from IKEA with these meal buckets.

Little table & chairs: Walmart (got mine for $30 at Christmas! SCORE!)

Bed: Given to us by friends for FREE! I painted it teal and put upholstery tacks on the headboard.

Bench at foot of bed: Craigslist ($5)

Wooden letter and word stand: Target

Basket: Lands' End

Curtain rod: Made from hardware from Menards for under $10. (tutorial HERE)

Curtains: Old lace tablecloths from St. Vinnies

3 gold box shelves: Super old - I have no ideas where I originally got them. They were black and I spray painted them gold.

Yardstick dress-up clothes hanger: Flea market find - $3 yardsticks for a buck! Used wood glue to attach them to a piece of wood, secured them with screws and then screwed in the hangers.

Magnets: Made by me or letter magnets I spray painted gold.

Night stand: Found on the side of the road - painted it white, lined with scrapbook paper (using modpodge) and painted the sides of drawers gold

TRINKETS:
Blue & gold horse: Logan's from when he was a baby
Play zone door hanger, mushroom, brass dog & pig: All flea market or garage sale finds
Yellow bike: Etsy - Similar
Wooden dice: Etsy - Similar
Children's Book: Julia Child

PICTURES:
Peppers print: Bought from shutterstock, adjusted color/size and printed.
Locally grown Wisconsin print: Designed by me - frame from IKEA
"Your playing small..." quote print: Designed by me - frame from IKEA
Black & white picture of Ellis & Logan: A metal print from tinyprints
Little girl & mom looking at a house picture: Bought an old children's book off ebay for $6 and framed an illustration that I liked. Frame from IKEA.

PILLOWS: 
Striped grain sack pillows: Lands' End - Similar 
Floral tassel pillow: TJMaxx
Round teal pillow: Urban Outfitters - Similar

Saturday, February 7, 2015

FREE PRINTABLE: 'Fancy Pants' Dollar Store Glitter Pen Valentines

I don't know about you, but I thought this one was pretty funny! Seriously... I crack myself up! ;)

One night I got it in my mind that I wanted to design some free printable valentines so I sat down and I designed all eight of them in one night. So here you go - the last valentine of the year. I had so much fun designing these and putting them together!



I got my glitter glue sticks from the dollar store. 
You can buy them in-store or online! 10 for $1!!



 


Attach the glitter glue sticks with hot glue - it will peel right off!