The Best Salsa Ever

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Last week I was looking for a new salsa recipe to try for a little party I was having. I found this recipe by Ree Drummond, a.k.a The Pioneer Woman– IT IS THE BOMB. It’s so simple to make and the flavors are just right. Here’s how I made it:

What you need:

  • 1 can (28 Ounce) Whole Tomatoes With Juice
  • 2 cans (10 Ounce) Rotel (diced Tomatoes And Green Chilies)
  • 1/4 cup Chopped Onion
  • 1 clove Garlic, Minced
  • 1 whole Jalapeno, Quartered And Sliced Thin
  • 1/4 teaspoon Sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon Ground Cumin
  • 1/2 cup Cilantro (more To Taste!)
  • 1/2 whole Lime Juice

Note: this is a very large batch. I was able to make all of it using my Kitchen Aid blender. If you have a smaller blender I would recommend blending it in two batches. Combine whole tomatoes, Rotel, onion, jalapeno (with seeds), garlic, sugar, salt, cumin, lime juice, and cilantro in a blender. Test seasonings with a tortilla chip and adjust as needed.

Refrigerate salsa for at least an hour. Serve with tortilla chips.

Money: $5.34 for everything but spices I had on hand. 

TIme: 15 minutes

Ick Factor: LOW. 

Worth it? Yes. This salsa is so easy to make. It makes 3 1/2 jars worth which is a huge savings!! Chips and salsa are a staple at our house and this recipe fits the bill. This is my new go to salsa recipe and I think it will be for a long time. Enjoy!

Posted by Sara J. 

DIY J.Crew Heart Sweater

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Time: 1 hour. The stitching took the longest, if you decide to go without it, it probably takes about 25-30 minutes. 

Money$7.20. I used an old sweater, and black thread that I had on hand. I purchased the black wool felt and double sided fusible web. I also used a Joann’s coupon. 

Ick Factor: Medium. It took a few minutes for me to figure out the fusible web (this was my first time using it), other than that the project ran very smoothly, and was quick to put together. 

Worth It?: Very worth it. This is a fun and easy way to update an old sweater, and the timing is perfect with Valentine’s Day just around the corner. 

Found on Pinterest in many versions.

Posted by Sara J.

Valentine Box Tutorial

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Time: 1-2 hours plus time spent gathering materials.  

Money: less than $5 for materials, all of which I already had at my home. KFC will give you an  empty bucket for free.

Ick FactorWaiting for paint to dry if you use paint.  You’ll have to use several coats to cover up the KFC words if you use paint too.  I recommend using a glue stick and wrapping paper to cover the box.  

Worth It?Very worth it.  You’ll have the cutest valentine box in the class!

Posted By: Jessica J.

Valentine’s Pink Style

This week, I challenged myself to break out of my dark winter wardrobe and add a pop of color.  Now that Valentine’s day is just around the corner, I wanted to find some pink inspiration without sacrificing my winter layers.

Here’s what I found:

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I have a lot of blue, so I liked the idea of combining blue and neon colors.

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Here’s my pink layered, neon and blue inspired outfit.  My wallet is still recovering from the Holidays  so I wanted to find Spring colors at the thrift store.  This whole outfit is thrifted except for the pants that I purchased at J.Crew for $10.

Money:

J.Crew Vest: $9 thrifted

Denim shirt: $5 thrifted

J.Crew pants: $10

J.Crew plaid shoes: $5 thrifted

White and Gold necklace: $3 thrifted

Total: $32.00

Time: 3 hours raiding Thrift stores

ICK Factor: Low. I’m kind of a Thrift store junkie, so for my personality this was low stress.

Worth it? Yes! Adding a splash of color to my otherwise bland wardrobe in a thrifty way was a good challenge and proved to be a surprisingly fun outlet for my creativity.

Posted by: Sara W.

More Pink inspiration on our Pinterest Fashion board:

Valentine’s Free Printables on Pinterest

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Money: Free! (I printed the Holiday Subway Art at Heritage Makers for $5 a print, yes this is pricey but the quality is amazing).

Time: 5 minutes to download and print off. 20 minutes to cut and assemble babushka dolls. If printing through a company, usually it  takes a few days for prints to be ready for pickup. Costco is same day! 

Ick factor: Very Low

Worth it? YESSS!! I love these! They are so cute and so easy to put together. The holiday subway art prints are great for wedding gifts (frame included), or to add to your own home! There is even one for celebrating birthdays. Free printables are my FAV! 

Found on pinterest via:

http://www.smallfryblog.com

http://www.eighteen25.blogspot.com

Posted by Sara J.

Positive Discipline for Toddlers

The authors go into detail with each step, but I thought I would just focus on my experience and thoughts. After three days, I did notice a difference with my toddler and now when I say, “Uh-Oh”, he clues into what is about to happen and tries to recourse his action. I think that overall, children want that one-on-one attention from their parents. I noticed that the days I would spend one hour with my little man, doing exactly what he wanted to do and making sure my eyes were focused only on him, he was happier throughout the day…(big surprise right?). I will continue to use this idea and implement these suggestions as to my style and personality.

Overall view of the book:

I found this book to be very straightforward and easy to read. I did, at times, find myself cringing at some of the examples used, but if you can overlook that, I think you will find this book to be helpful. With all parenting books, however,  I think you need to adjust the suggestions to your style and personality so that it’s YOU parenting and not the book.

Time: 3 days (at least)

Money: $24.95 (price off amazon.com)

Ick Factor: Low-Medium

Worth It: Yes, but need to stay consistent in order to see dramatic change. 

 Posted by Anne D.

Snickerdoodle Cookie Bars

In college a friend brought me a plate of large, slightly crunchy, gooey in the middle, snickerdoodle cookies during finals week. I still think about them. He even gave me the recipe. I made them over and over until the recipe disappeared and I haven’t been able to recreate the perfect combination of cream of tartar and vanilla. So, I got excited when I came across these Snickerdoodle Cookie Bars… the same taste without all the dough rolling and inevitable, “What do I do with the extra sugar and cinnamon?” right? Wrong. I wish I could say I will make these again, but alas another disappointment in my quest for that long lost recipe.

I doubled the recipe, which I should not have done. It makes plenty in an 8×8 pan.

That dough looks good…

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I tried one pan with a tin foil liner as the recipe calls and one without, to see if it was really necessary. Foil liner wins, although it wasn’t difficult to get the non-lined square out.

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Mmmmmm…. pink frosting.

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Cheerfully pink and Valentine… They just didn’t have the taste I was expecting. Too sweet.

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Time: 17 min of prep plus 20 min of baking plus 60 min for cooling

Price: > $5 vs. $24 to buy the equivalent in cookies at the store

ick factor: low – not too hard or stressful

Worth it: NO. Look better than they taste. Wish I could say differently. However, I will qualify this by saying that everyone who tried them really liked them.

Ingredients:

Snickerdoodle Cookie Bars

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

1 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon cinnamon

2 cups all-purpose flour

Pink Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting

1/4 cup butter, softened

1/4 cup cream cheese, softened

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 to 4 1/2+ cups powdered sugar

splash of milk or water, if needed

(pink) food coloring, optional

Directions:

Bars – Preheat oven to 375F and prepare a 8×8 or 9×9-inch pan by lining it with foil and then spraying it with cooking spray. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugars. Add the eggs, vanilla, cinnamon and mix until combined. Add the flour and mix until just combined. Pour batter into prepared pan. The batter will be very thick and sticky, like cookie dough. Use your hands if necessary to spread it evenly. Bake at 375F for 19 to 22 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in the middle of the pan comes out clean. While the bars are baking, prepare the frosting.

Pink Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting – In a large mixing bowl, mix the butter and cream cheese until combined and it begins to fluff. Add the vanilla and powdered sugar (one-half cup at a time after 3 cups) and mix until desired frosting consistency is reached. I like very thick frosting and used 4 1/2 cups powdered sugar with a splash of half and half. Carefully add the food coloring, one drop at a time, until desired color is reached. After the bars have cooled, frost them. Optionally, garnish with sprinkles, candy bits, sanding sugar, or any optional garnish of your choice. Consider storing the bars in the refrigerator because of the cream cheese and butter in the frosting; the bars freeze well and will keep in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Posted by Lindsay M.

Heart Hanger Wreath

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Time: 1 hour

Money: Free- all supplies on hand

Ick Factor: Medium

WORTH IT!: The finished product is adorable, and to think I made it out of a hanger! Tying all the fabric strips on can get a little tedious, but overall this project was totally worth it. Love the results!!

Found on Pinterest via:

http://www.the36thavenue.com/2013/01/valentine-heart-wreath.html

Posted by Sara J.

14 Days of Love

I looked on Pinterest for a cute and easy idea of something that I could make for my Husband. I found many ideas for “14 Days of Valentines”. This idea seemed to be easy, low maintenance and worked in my budget.  I chose 14 of my favorite ideas and created my own labels for each item. Feel free to download and use them! The first 9 days are here and the last 5 days are here.

 Time: 2 hours

Money: $20

Ick Factor: Low

WORTH IT!: This project is so easy, and makes a great gift for a loved one. Instead of getting my husband a gift, he gets to enjoy a fun surprise everyday leading up to Valentines Day.

Posted by Sara J.

Kissy Face Banner

This whimsy banner is not only cute but super easy to make. Simply print off some black and white pictures of your children or family members (I chose two photos and printed three of one and four of the other), and either draw or print off some bright and bold images of lips. The rest is easy. Cut out your images, glue, and tape to a ribbon or string.

Time: 1 hour

Money: Free- all supplies on hand

Ick Factor: LOW

WORTH IT!: This banner is fun to put together and very simple to make. It’s a great way to add Valentines flair to your home.

Found on Pinterest via: http://www.smallfryblog.com/

Posted by Sara J.

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