Monday, March 30, 2015

A Little Baby Love; Here's What I'm Working on Today

I wanted to share with you what I've been working on today I've had babies on the brain as I've been creating some new baby gift cards and baby shower favors.

A cute little card to welcome a sweet baby girl into world.


How about this adorable frame idea for a baby shower favor?  

 So what have you been working on today?
Xoxo,
Mickey
 

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Wordless Wednesday Week #2



Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Jar Salads

So, I know these jar salads have been all over Pinterest and the blogging world.  I have even seen them in the refrigerators of some of my favorite YouTubers.  But I wanted to share with you my take on these jar salad wonders.  First, can we just acknowledge for a minute the multiple uses of the simple Mason Jar?  They have been used for generations to can food, collect treasures and toast an iced tea or lemonade.  I have always had them in my kitchen as drinking glasses and I use them in many organizational projects that I will share another time.  

I like to store my leftovers in glass containers, not sure why, Mom always did so I do too.  I often use my wide mouth jars for leftover soup, chili, pasta and the like.  But these Jar Salads are a stroke of genius!  So  love this concept.  I think the only thing I do differently then what I have seen out in blogger world is that I build the salad from the leftovers that I already have rather then starting with a jar salad recipe.  This has worked so well for me because it can really stretch our dinner leftovers into healthy take-along lunches.  

For example, Monday night we had Tacos, rice, beans with roasted broccoli and cauliflower.   I was able to make 4 Jar Salads from our leftovers.

Each jar had 7 great layers starting from the bottom up:
  • I start with 2 tablespoons of dressing, today was a Good Seasons Italian packet mixed with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
  • A layer of cous cous and rice mix.
  • Black beans
  • Turkey taco meat
  • Shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • Roasted broccoli and cauliflower
  • Sweet lettuce bagged mix.  I used almost all of both bags.

The amount used in each layer is determined by what you have leftover and the tastes of the lucky ones taking one of these jars for lunch.  Be sure to load as much salad as you possibly can into each jar.  The more you add the heartier the lunch and it keeps all the other layers from shifting.  

My husband loves to take these to work for lunch and I love having something healthy waiting for me after class.

If you have some mason jars hanging around, give these jar salads a try.  Healthy and convenient too!

If you have just stumbled upon my little blog, I hope you will leave me a comment and let me know where your from and I hope you will add yourself to my blog followers.  I always follow back if your a blogger and spread a little love.

What do you guys pack for lunch?

xoxo,
Mickey



Thursday, March 19, 2015

Books and Crafts: Getting Preschoolers Excited About Books

If there is one piece of advise that I always pass along to my preschoolers parents is: READ TO THEM.  Read to them every day, everywhere, all the time!  The love of reading is a gift, a true gift that keeps on giving.  Reading will fill children's days with adventure, hearts with joy and brains with knowledge.  Children are never too young to be read to.  As infants, the rhythmic tone of a voice can be soothing, helping a baby drift off to sleep or calm themselves.  As a toddler, reading with your child is a wonderful way to bond, sitting close together not only is comforting for the child but can help the reader relax too.  

Creating activities around a child's favorite book is a great way to keep them engaged in reading.  Crafts and Books are a natural pairing.  As a continuing series I will be sharing Book and Craft combos that are easy to recreate with your favorite young reader.  Are you ready for the first installment?


The Lady with the Alligator Purse by Nadine Bernard Westcott is a silly easy read book that is sure to become a favorite.  Teamed with an A for Alligator.  Go ahead, dig out those scissors, Elmer's glue and buy a new pack of construction paper.  Get ready for a few giggles and a few sticky fingers!

READ TO THEM!

xoxo,
Mickey



Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Irish Soda Bread: A St. Patrick's Day Love Story

I have had a love/hate relationship with Irish Soda Bread.  I know its odd to have any kind of relationship with bread but these are very particular circumstances.  I married into a large Irish family and St. Patrick's Day is their JAM.  I mean, all Irish families celebrate St. Patrick's feast day but few families take this day to heart like my husband's family.  Its more like St. Patrick's Day month.  They party, they gather, they wear green.  They spend no expense rounding up the essentials,  green rainbow suspenders, hats, hats with attached leprechaun beards, bow ties, clay leprechauns pipes, chocolate gold coins, Shamrocks, rosaries (yes, green) Bailey's Irish Creme, Irish Stew, Ham & Cabbage and the exalted, ever present much anticipated Irish Soda Bread. (Cue the angel chorus) I believe your value as a person is only judged by the quality of your soda bread.  

Now, I come from a long line of wonderful cooks and bakers.  My Italian grandmother was just incredible in the kitchen, she cooked, canned, made home made sausage and wine, grew her own vegetables and was even credited with keeping her neighbors fed during the snowstorm of 1947.  But even she did not make Irish Soda Bread.  How hard could it be really, flour, raisins a little of this, a little of that.    Well, my torment began in the late 1990's when my early baking attempts were used as street hockey pucks by the neighbor kid.  I'm not even exaggerating, no one ate it, no one even attempted to eat it.  This is how it went for years, every year  I baked and every year there it sat untouched.  Until I met Mrs Wolfe.  Mrs. Wolfe was a wonderful teacher at my daughters elementary school.  Every St. Pat's Day she would bring in several beautiful golden loaves for everyone to share.  After several years of envy, I finally asked Mrs Wolfe what her secret was.  She simply laughed and said "Oh honey, its easy" and wrote down her recipe from memory.  I brought it home, tried it, and from that very first loaf PERFECTION!


I want all of you to have a LOVE relationship with this sweet Delicious and moist bread so I am sharing wonderful Mrs. Wolfe's recipe exactly like she gave it to me all those years ago.

Irish Soda Bread
1/2 cup Crisco
3 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
3 tsp baking soda
1 egg whipped (with fork)
1 1/2 cup buttermilk
1 cup raisins

Mix all put in greased round cake pan bake for 45 mins @ 350

That's how Mrs. Wolfe wrote it out for me.  This is how I put it together:  Cream the Crisco and sugar together, add the egg.  Combine the dry ingredients and slowly add the dry to the wet ingredients adding the buttermilk a little at a time.  Put mixed ingredients in a round greased cake pan and bake.  That's it.

I hope you give it a try, maybe bake a few extra loaves, bring it to school and be that dear Mrs. Wolfe for someone else.

Call your Mama!
xoxo  Mickey



Saturday, March 14, 2015

Tarte Miracles from the Amazon Kit Review

I received my Tarte "Miracles from the Amazon" kit from QVC at the end of Febuary as a TSV (Today Special Value).  The "Be Your Most Tarteist" 6 piece kit sold for $59.96 on auto delivery which means you will recieve a new kit every few months.    I love ordering cosmetic kits from QVC because the colors are always coordinated for you, the value for the amount of quality product received can't be beat and often times, brushes are included.  To me,  a great brush is worth the price of admission.  First let me say that Tarte is one of my favorite cosmetic lines.  Their BB cream and Lights, Camera Lashes mascara are two of my "Holy Grail" products.  So I was excited to try this new collection.



The kit packaging is beautiful, a mix of purples and gold.  The included make-bag is a durable woven print in Tarte's signature colors.  This kit marked the debut of their Maracuja Miracle Foundcealer, a combination of concealer and foundation that is infused with maracuja oil for a smooth finish.

I was excited to try this new formula as I am always looking for a miracle concealer to hide a few flaws.  I am sorry to say, I was not too impressed with this foundcealer.  I ordered my kit in Light as that is the shade I always use.  The color was a nice match and was very light on the skin however the coverage is not what I had expected.  I felt the formula accentuated my pores and felt too dry even for my combination skin.  Also, my under eye still required a touch more concealer.  The foundation brush, included in the kit, is outstanding!  The bristles are super soft and the angle of the brush is perfect for foundation application or blush.  This foundcealer was added to my "Saturday" make-up collection which is usually the make-up I use only on Saturdays.
A full size LipSurgence Liquid Lip Shine in Exquisite, a berry mauve shade is a beautiful color for spring.  I've been a fan of Tarte's LipSurgence for some time and this version didn't disappoint.  The Amazonian Clay Smart Mascara in black was nice, it covered and wore well but I still prefer Light's Camera Lashes mascara for fullness and length.  

I've saved the best for last,  the Amazonian Clay Eye and Cheek palette.  Tarte is well known for their eye shadows.  They are soft, velvety and pigmented.  This palette came with 6 shades, Pink Beyond, Taupe for the Best, Dreams Plum True, Out of This Pearl (an Ivory shade), Thistle be the Day (a grey shade), and Paint the Brown.  Four shadows are matte and two are radiant, each are easily blendable and can stand alone.  The included double ended shadow brush is also super soft, the fluffier end is perfect for applying shadow to the crease and blending while the shorter end works well for the brow bone and lid.  Also included is a full size clay blush in Talented, a peachy coral shade that complements every skin shade.  

This kit is a great addition to anyone's make-up collection.  Each item can easily be teamed up with other products you may already own. Although, I was not a fan of the new Foundcealer, I am already looking forward to the next shippement which should arrive in June, just in time for summer!

Do you ever order make-up from QVC?  You should give it a try, I've never been disappointed and returns are easy.

xoxo, Stay Beautiful my friends,
Mickey



Wednesday, March 11, 2015

A Little St. Patrick's Day Decorating

Everyone is Irish on St. Patricks Day aren't they?  St. Patty's Day is a sure reason to bring a little whimsy into the house.  Whether it's a leprechaun trap or dancing a reel, this is one holiday that is pure fun.  Adding a little green in the foyer helps welcome in the holiday and spring just around the corner.


The large shamrock was a Dollar Store find and the Irish doll is part of my daughters doll collection.


Some of our favorite Irish keepsakes, a picture of family, a rosary from Ireland and my own sweet girl wearing her gillies dancing a reel.

I hope you find a special spot to add a little green of your own!  

Thanks for stopping by and don't forget to follow along!  
xoxo, Mickey




Wordless Wednesday


Saturday, March 7, 2015

Cupcakes: The World's Most Perfect Food

We have 4 children.  With 4 kids, reasons to celebrate are endless.  One day it could be someone getting their braces off, while another day it could be getting a good grade on a project.  This week in our house, it was my youngest getting invited to a FEA (Future Educators of America) conference. Honestly, it was just the excuse I needed, we have been stuck in this house with a foot of snow around us and a treat would bring a few smiles I was sure.  And who could turn a cupcake down?  So I pulled out a recipe that was an oldie but definitely a goodie.  Rocky Road cupcakes, it's a combo of my family's favorite chocolate cake recipe and your standard rocky road toppings.


And yes, it tastes as good as it looks.  Here's the recipe...your welcome!

Rocky Road Cupcakes

For cupcakes:
One box of Devil's Food cake mix (I always use Duncan Hines)
One small box of instant chocolate pudding
3 eggs
1 tsp Vanilla
1/2 cup vegetable oil
one cup of chocolate chips (I use milk but you can use semi sweet chips too)

Line 2 cupcake pans with paper liners and preheat oven to 350.  Combine first 6 ingredients in a large bowl.  Mix with a hand mixer on medium until well combined.  Fold in chips until they are distributed through out batter.  Fill cupcake liners about 3/4 full and bake according to directions on the back of the cake mix box.

For Topping:
                                                                                  1/4 
1/2 cup of  butter                                                      1/2 tsp vanilla 
1/3 cup evaporated milk                                           about 1 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup Hersey's unsweetened cocoa                         about 1 cup of mini marshmallows
4 cups of powdered sugar

Combine first 3 ingredients in a small sauce pan, stirring until butter melts.  Bring to a boil stirring constantly.  Remove from heat and add sugar, vanilla and salt, stir until well combined.  Once the cupcakes are baked and still warm, take 5-6 marshmallows and press them into the top of the cupcake, quickly pour the fudge topping over top until all the marshmallows are covered, sprinkle with pecans.  Repeat until all the cupcakes are complete.   Enjoy, seriously ENJOY!

Hope you give these babies a try, they really are something special.

In the mean time, be kind to each other,
xoxo,  Mickey






Thursday, March 5, 2015

$6 Closet Organizing

As I write this post I am watching it snow out my back kitchen window, this is my 14th snow day from school this winter.  It sure is beautiful but even this snow lover has spring on her mind.  So, out on my last Tuesday errands day (between storms) I stopped into our local Dollar Tree and they had all their colorful bins on display.  
I was happy to see they were offering a new color, robins egg blue.  Or at least that's  what I was calling it with visions of Martha Stewart in my head.  I bought a few, not knowing what I would do with them once I got home but I was excited with the possibilities.  There was a closet somewhere in my house that was calling my name.

We have a hard working linen closet that needed a little love.  Of course this is where we store our towels but also all of our little extras; soaps, shampoos, cotton balls, first aid, toothpaste etc.  with 6 of us in the house, this closet is the first to look like an explosion took place in it.  I used my Dollar Tree bins to house our less reached for items like our first aid kit and extra cotton balls and Q-Tips on the top shelf.  Extra shampoo, body wash and toothpaste on the remaining shelves.  The pull drawer container on the bottom was a long ago Target purchased that has been great to hold our travel toiletries and smaller extras.  
I used sweet little chalkboard clothes pins that I found in the Target $1 aisle to label each bin so items are easily found.  So in the end, I spent a total of $6!  A simple change that made a huge impact.  Not only did the bins add function, they added a splash of color that look great and made me happy.  During these long days of winter, never underestimate what a little color can do for your mood!  And, by the ways, this is the scene out my back window:


I guess its time to tell the kids they have another snow day.  I hope what ever is happening outside your back window makes you smile.  Stay WARM.

As always, I would love for you to join me on my journey through this bashful life of mine.  You can sign up with your email address on the side bar.  Thanks!

Call your mom,
xoxo Mickey




Monday, March 2, 2015

National Peanut Butter Day

Did you know there is a day set aside every year to celebrate the simple joy that is Peanut Butter?  This lunch box staple actually has two days on the books January 24th and March 1.  To say I love peanut butter is an understatement.   My love can only be doubled when you add a little (preferably a lot) of chocolate.  I'd have to say that chocolate and peanut butter is my ultimate pairing, better then Romeo and Juliette and Sonny and Cher combined!  Here is a great recipe combining my two favorites.  Buckeye Brownies are so easy to make, they only have 5 ingredients and start with a boxed brownie mix.  This recipe has made me famous in certain circles...those circles may be small and contain mostly boy scouts and marching band kids, but famous is famous!



Buckeye Brownies

1 Family size pkg. of brownie mix  (Duncan Hines is my fav)
2 cups powder sugar
1 stick plus 6 tablespoons butter
1 cup creamy peanut butter  
1 cup chocolate chips  semi-sweet or milk



Mix and bake brownies in a 9"x 13" pan according to package instructions, let cool.

In a medium bowl mix 1 stick of butter, powdered sugar and peanut butter using a hand mixer until smooth.  Spread over cooled brownies, using clean hands to smooth as needed.  Chill in refrigerator 1 hour.

In a small sauce pan over low heat melt together chocolate chips and 6 remaining tablespoons of butter.  Stirring until smooth.  Spread over brownies, let cool and enjoy!  

Happy Peanut Butter Day!

xoxo,   Mickey


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