Thursday, August 29, 2013

Waffle Bar with Strawberry Mommycakes

Planning on having a breakfast or brunch party sometime soon? Want to have darling decor and super delicious food for your event? Look no further than our Waffle Bar ideas with adorable printables from the talented Erin of Strawberry Mommycakes! This Summer Harvest Brunch was simply gorgeous and the waffle bar was SOOOO yummy!

The Decor

The great thing about this party is that we were able to incorporate a lot of decor we already had, thus making it budget friendly. Devin's DIY Pallet Box made the perfect centerpiece for our brunch. We used dishes that Erin got from Joss & Main (they were so pretty!), her grandmother's silver for the place settings, and gorgeous glasses from The World Market. Erin wrapped the glasses in burlap and ribbon and placed a round tag in the center. On the buffet, we also used some sweet little crates that Devin's mother had given her to display the food.

Erin decided to create printables that had a Farmer's Market feel... very vintage and pretty. She used strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries as the inspiration for the color palette and the green from the leaves to make everything pop. She created a distressed look for all of the printables to keep the vintage feel.

We loved how Erin used what would normally be a "cupcake topper" as labels for the drinks, batter cups (which helped keep our waffles fresh), and toppings. She also made pretty tags for all of the syrups. Everything turned out beautifully! You can purchase these printables and more from the Strawberry Mommycakes Etsy Shop.

The Food

Planning the food for this waffle bar had us drooling the whole way. To make our waffles, we simply used Bisquick and the waffle recipe on the side of the box, adding a little more milk than they suggest. You can't go wrong with Bisquick, delicious every time. As we said before, we poured the batter into individual cups so guests could make their own warm and fresh waffles to load with our delicious toppings. And here are the toppings we included in our bar:

First and foremost, the syrups. Ooh-la-la, these are so sooooo good.

Buttermilk Syrup - Recipe courtesy of Tara's sister-in-law Breezy. Every time she visits, she makes this to go with Tara's pancakes and Tara was always afraid to try it due to her aversion to buttermilk. But she recently gave it a try and couldn't believe how good it is! Devin calls it "candy syrup." Seriously, you must try this. Click here for our printable Buttermilk Syrup Recipe.

Blueberry Syrup - This is one we found and adapted from It is particularly delicious with a dollop of our homemade whipped cream. Click here for our printable Blueberry Syrup Recipe.

Apple Cider Syrup - Found in one of our very favorite cook books, Our Best Bites: Mormon Moms in the Kitchen. Tara loves this recipe, but when she makes it she uses less cloves than the recipe calls for.

Homemade Whipped Cream - So delicious and so easy. 1 c. heavy whipping cream, 1/3 cup powdered sugar, 1/2 tsp vanilla (we always let a little extra dribble in), whipped with a hand mixer to perfection!

Fresh Fruit - Sliced strawberries, sliced bananas, blueberries, and raspberries. We love fresh fruit on our waffles! Especially when you pair it with...

Nutella - Have you ever had Nutella on a waffle? If not, you have been missing out. You won't want to exclude this delicious topping from your waffle bar.

Butter & Powdered Sugar - Two staples for topping waffles. We could eat them with nothing but butter and powdered sugar!

This was such a great party. We could not stop making yummy noises as we sampled all of the delicious ways to make our waffles. Enjoy!


Printables - Summer Harvest Printables from Strawberry Mommycakes

Striped Straws - Shop Sweet Lulu

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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

White After Labor Day?

Posted by Devin

I have been wearing a lot of white lately. This was what I wore on Friday, on Sunday I wore an all white skirt to church, and on Saturday I bought a new pair of white skinnies on clearance but... Am I supposed to wear it much longer??? Labor Day weekend is THIS weekend. What is up with the "don't wear white after Labor Day" thing? I have always assumed it was an archaic fashion tradition that I could ignore but with all of this white in my wardrobe I thought I would do a little investigating... I don't want to make a fashion faux pas!
When I googled the question I found quite a few articles from magazines such as Time and Glamour and came to one conclusion: the no-white-after-Labor-Day rule IS archaic. Made up by a bunch of the super rich elite in the 1800's, the rule is now... well.. out of fashion! And silly, if you ask me. I live in the desert and white is a cool color to wear. Unfortunately, the 100+ degree weather does not immediately disappear after Labor Day and if I want to wear white to beat the heat (or just because I like it), I will! And let us not forget that Miss Coco Chanel herself famously wore white year round. If it's good enough for Coco, it's good enough for me.

FYI: Besides google, I also asked my 3 grandmothers (beautiful dressers, each and every one) about this rule of fashion. I thought I'd include what they had to say about it here. :)
Grandma Liz: "That's an old expression. People that used to dress to the nines probably still observe it, but I never did. It's too hot!"
Grandma Diane: "That's out-dated. Once in a while you do wear it, it really depends on the temperature. It's hot here until October so we can keep wearing white." 
Grandma Bettie: "I don't like that rule. That is old-old-time, I don't think anyone goes by that anymore. And I think it's silly. I wear my white jeans any time I want!"
There you have it! It's unanimous.
What I Wore:
Blouse - H&M
Capris - Target
Shoes - Target
Belt - H&M
Necklace - Charming Charlie's

Linking Up With:
The Pleated Poppy
Because Shanna Said So
Style Elixir
Transatlantic Blonde



Monday, August 26, 2013

Travel Tip of the Day: Personalized Duffle Bags

Posted by Devin: 

By the time I had my 1st baby, my brother and sister-in-law (the fabulous Nathan & Olga) were just a few months shy of 3 kids. So they are a little ahead of Jake and I on the parenting game and I've gathered a few priceless gems of wisdom from them along the way. And this is a big one: make sure each kid has their own labeled bag to pack their things in when travelling. Lol! Sounds a little silly, but oh man! I don't know how many times I have thanked my lucky stars for this piece of advice!
When Olga's 3 girls were little, she bought them all pink Nike duffle bags from Ross and wrote their names on them with a sharpie. Olga told me how great it was for them each to have their own labeled bag, but I didn't really catch on until my 4th boy. I was still struggling to pack their things all in one large bag and then I realized: I need to do as Olga does! I'm buying duffle bags!
So I went on-line and ordered 4 camo duffle bags from that were on sale for $8 each. I then decided to take them down to a local embroidery shop, Estrella Embroidery & Gifts, and have each of their names embroidered on their bags in a bright orange thread. It only cost me $5 to have the names put on so I ended up with these fabulous bags at the bargain price of $13 a piece! Aren't they the cutest?
Here is why I recommend personalized duffle bags:
1. Packing their things is easier as I do it one bag and one boy at a time. I rarely miss packing important items since this way is so much more organized.
2. It is so much easier for me to find each boys' clothes when they are in their own bags. The clothes don't get jumbled together and mixed up, which is a common problem with so many boys 9 and under.
3. It is easier for each of THE BOYS to find their clothes when they have them in their own bags. If I asked them to go get dressed and their clothes were all in one bag, they would come back complaining that they couldn't find a thing and I wouldn't blame them! This way, they actually DO get dressed!
4. The boys love it. They get to pack the things they want to take, like a favorite stuffed animal or the book they are currently reading, and they know just where to find it!
5. I find that it is easier to pack 4 separate bags into the car than one ginormous bag. You can squeeze them in wherever you can find the room and the boys even like to keep them under their feet occasionally so they have easy access to their things.
6. Having them personalized makes it easy for all of us to spot the bag we are looking for quickly.
7. It is so darn cute when they are all lined-up. It just is.
If you are local and would like the contact information for my awesome embroiderer, here it is!
Estrella Embroidery & Gifts
Vicki Kinion


Friday, August 23, 2013

DIY Wall Files w/Printable Labels

Posted by Devin

School has started again and that means one thing: lots of random papers. If you have been reading this blog much, you already know that I really love clean surfaces and clutter makes me... what's the right word... "itchy?" That's what my 8 year-old calls it, anyways. To battle the paper problem in my home, I decided last year that I needed a wall file in my kitchen. Just a place to collect all of the papers I wanted to keep around but didn't want getting in the way.

I went to check out local office supply stores to see how much a good magnetic wall file costs. Holy moly! They were kinda expensive! So my inner-DIY-diva got to thinking about how I could make my own file folder. What could I use that was inexpensive, sturdy, and pretty much the right shape? What did I come up with? A cereal box!

I cut it to the shape I wanted, covered it with colorful scrapbook paper, made a little label for the front, and I had myself a super cute (and very affordable) wall file! This thing is SO handy. I've been using it for a year and a half now and I don't know what I did before I had it. By the way, it doesn't look super full of papers in the pic, but I just snapped this today and school only started a few days ago. Just wait...

Tara asked me if I would help her make a few of these for her house so we got together and started crafting! Here is the how-to on these DIY Wall Files:

What You Need:
-cereal box
-scrapbook paper
-spray adhesive (I used glue sticks when I made mine but this is what we used for Tara's and it worked great!)
-8 1/2" x 11" shipping label sheets, I used Avery #48165 (This is optional, for the printable labels. You can also use plain white printer paper or cardstock and the spray adhesive.) 

Step 1: Cut the cereal box to size. I drew a 5" line on each side of the box from the top back corner to the front edge and then a line straight across the front, connecting the lines. Then I cut out that section and the remaining flap on the back. See below.

Step 2: Line the inside of the box with scrapbook paper. Take your paper and put it inside the box so that it covers the back and sides. If it doesn't fit, trim the edges so that it does. Press the corners so the paper shapes to the box.

Trim excess paper around the edges of the box. (I forgot to do it with Tara's, but with my file box I trimmed the paper 1/2" above the edge of the box. I then snipped the corners and used this overhanging paper to fold over the edges of the cereal box so they would be covered. Tara's boxes still look great, but you may decide to do this if you don't want to see any cardboard when you're done.)

Remove the paper from the box and crease and press the two corners so they are crisp.

Lightly spray the back of the paper with the spray adhesive and slip it back into the box, being careful not to let it stick until it's in place. Once it is, press and smooth the paper.  

Step 3: Cover the front and outer sides. Take another piece of scrapbook paper and fold it around the box. (Note: A 15.5 oz. cereal box is completely covered by a 12 x 12" piece of scrapbook paper. If you use a larger cereal box you will probably have to add extra pieces of scrapbook paper to make sure it all gets covered.) See below pictures on how I covered the box.

Take the paper off of the box and crisp and press the edges.

Trim off the excess paper by first cutting 1/2" or so above the box edge on both of the two sides.

Remove the paper from the box and draw a straight line between the two sides.

Cut along the line, removing the excess paper.

Snip each of the corners so that you will be able to fold the paper over the edges of the box.

At this point, take the paper off of the box, lightly spray it with the spray adhesive, and put it back on the box, pressing smooth. Then trim off the small pieces on each side shown below.

Now just cut a small square to cover the bottom of the box, attach it using the spray adhesive, and you are done!

Step 4 (Optional): Decorate the box. Tara and I added a strip of polka dot scrapbook paper to her boxes to add some interest and then put on the labels. To make the labels, put your 8 1/2 x 11" shipping label (or cardstock) into your printer and print one of the following (click on the title to open and print):
Our Labels (what we used):

Blank Labels (you can simply write whatever you would like on them, maybe a file for each of your kids?):

Once they are printed, cut them out and stick them on. All done! (FYI: you could also simply print these on white paper and use the spray adhesive to attach them. It's the cheaper option, I simply already had the shipping labels on hand.)

Here are Tara's hanging in her office area! All ready to be filled up! We simply used push pins to mount her's to the wall (push pins have been working for mine on my corkboard, no troubles). If you like, you could always get self-adhesive magnetic strips to put on the back of these as well. You'd probably need a few if you plan on stuffing it with papers like I do. Happy organizing! 

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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Blazer and Stripes

Posted by Tara

As fall approaches, I always look forward to wearing my blazers. I know here in Arizona we won't get to wear blazers till the end of October/beginning of November, but everywhere else starts cooling down in the next month. You can dress up pants and a t-shirt real quick with a blazer. They come in all different colors and styles. As soon as fall hits, you will see them in most clothing stores. 

What I'm wearing:
Blazer: Gift
Striped Top: Downeast Basics
Coral Pants: Aeropostal
Necklace: Gift
Wedges: Target

Linking up with: Transatlantic Blonde, Pleated Poppy, Style Elixir, Real Girl Style, Moonlight and Mason Jars, Suburbs Mama


Monday, August 19, 2013

Cucumber Limeade

Posted By Tara

When some people hear the word cucumber with limeade they probably think, "Weird!" I remember when I attended a party almost 7 years ago and a friend had made cucumber limeade. I was really intimidated to try it because I was unsure of how it was going to taste. When I finally grabbed a glass and took a sip it was the most refreshing drink I had ever tasted! I loved the hint of cucumber with the lime taste!  

I recently decided to try to make my own cucumber limeade. I bought 7 up, white grape juice, ginger ale, frozen limeade concentrate, and one cucumber. This was my first time making this so I experimented with the measurements until I thought it tasted best. Since summer is almost over this is a drink to make before Autumn hits.

I started with slicing up about 3/4 of the cucumber. I like my slices thin but you can cut it however you prefer.

Then I poured ginger ale into the limeade can. I used 2 1/3 cans of ginger ale.

Next I poured grape juice into the same can. I used 2 1/2 cans and added them into the punch bowl (or you can use a large pitcher). 

After the juice, ginger ale, and limeade are in the punch bowl, add your cucumbers and any ice needed. Then pour about 1 liter of 7up in the bowl. I like my drink a little stronger, but if you want the limeade to taste milder pour in more 7up. This makes enough to fill a large punch bowl, so it's great for parties or gatherings. 

I poured mine into this little pitcher for photos and still had lots left over in my fridge. You could probably cut the recipe down by only using 1/4-1/2 of the can of limeade and adjusting all of the other ingredients accordingly. 

I'm sure that this recipe will become a summer favorite! Don't forget to follow us on BlogLovin!

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Friday, August 16, 2013

Master Bedroom Design on a Dime

Posted by Devin

I love interior decorating and design. And I REALLY love the challenge of doing it all by repurposing and using things I already have, creating and building things I want, and searching for great pieces at marked down prices. I'm not sure why, but I get such a thrill out of it! I love making my dollars stretch and knowing that I built and created a lot of the things around me in my home. Am I the only one? Surely not! Which is why I decided to give a little tour of my master bedroom and how I turned it into the retreat I wanted on a budget.
My Bed
When Jake and I were married, a very lovely and generous couple gave us their old 70's waterbed frame with a matching mirrored dresser and one side table. Even though I didn't make any changes to the bed the first 6 years we had it, the picture below is the ONLY "before" picture I have of it. Can you believe that?!! That kid laying on the bed is my then 21 year-old husband.

As grateful as I was for a bed, I could not say that it was my dream bed. The dark heavy wood, brass handles, and gargantuan mirrored headboard didn't quite fit the look I was going for. But instead of buying something new, I decided to try my hand at painting furniture. So after 6 years I finally sanded, primed, and painted the bed, dresser, and side table in a nice cream color. I also changed out all of the brass hardware with brushed chrome knobs. This required using wood filler to fill in the old holes the hardware had made and drilling new holes for the knobs. All in all, it was a big job. But it was also a BIG improvement. However, I was not totally happy with the look of the bed and dresser as the bed still had the giant mirrored headboard and the dresser had a matching mirrored thing on top of it. I will get to the dresser next, but here is what I did for...

My Headboard

I removed the over-sized headboard and made myself a new one. I looked in to purchasing a headboard but decided it would be a fun challenge and a money saver to make my own instead. I knew I wanted a tufted, fabric headboard so I bought some plywood, foam, batting, fabric, and buttons and got to work! I simply drilled (ok, Jake simply drilled) 10 holes into the plywood where I wanted the buttons to go, then placed the foam on the plywood, wrapped it all in the batting and then the fabric, and stapled everything into place on the back with a staple gun. Then I put an upholstery needle through the pre-drilled holes and used my buttons to create the tufts, stapling the thread onto the back of the plywood to hold them in place.
When I was done, I decided the headboard was missing a little something to make it pop. So I went down to the hardware store, purchased a cheap interior door, and painted it all in my cream color. I then liquid-nailed my upholstered board to the door and boom! Just what I wanted. I hung it on the wall behind my bed and I finally had a bed I loved!
Other Bed Elements
My bedding was a bargain deal purchased from Amazon, the rusty red pillow is from Walmart, and my reading lights on each side of the bed are from Ikea. I can not say enough good things about my reading lights. If you are a reader and don't have one next to your bed, I highly recommend. And these are not the kind that you need an electrician to install. As long as there is a nearby outlet, you are good to go! Also, not exactly a bed element, but the shaggy cream rug at the foot of the bed came from JC Penney.
My Dresser

As I said before, I sanded, primed, painted, and put new hardware on the dresser as well. I also removed the top mirror-hutch-thing (what in the world do you call that?!). I really love this dresser now.

Dresser Decor
The plant was a clearance score from Walmart, the crystal frames were both wedding gifts, and my mirrored jewelry box is from Target.

The Mirror
When I removed the whatever-you-call it from the top of the dresser, I decided to replace it with a wall-mounted mirror. Here's the mirror I really wanted from Pottery Barn.
It only costs $699. No big deal, right? (Choke, cough, sputter...) Ok, so obviously (atleast for me) this mirror was not in my future. Unless... I made my own version of it! I found some square, beveled mirror tiles at Target and knew I could come up with something I'd like. And here it is!

To make the mirror I purchased the mirror tiles, a piece of MDF, molding, liquid nails, and hanging hardware for the back. I cut and measured the MDF and moldings to size, painted the moldings, and then simply liquid-nailed everything on to the MDF! No, it doesn't look just like the PB mirror of my dreams, but I actually think this one fits my room even better!
Jake's Side Table
I almost forgot the little side table that came with the bed! It was also much improved from the paint job and hardware make-over. This is Jake's side table where he keeps his books he's currently reading, his alarm clock, and a little frame of flowers he collected from Chile that I put together for him 13 years ago. Aren't we sweet? ;)
My Side/Vanity Table
Ladies. If you do not have a vanity table it is TIME to get a vanity table. Up until a few years ago I always did my make-up standing and craning my head at my bathroom mirror. This is not the correct way to apply make-up and get ready. Trust me. This little table may just be my favorite thing in my room now because it has transformed getting ready into an enjoyable experience. I sit and listen to tunes and am so much more comfortable than I used to be.  

This table was a hand-me-down from my grandparents. My grandfather used it as a desk and when we got it, it had a power strip nailed to the underside with cords hanging off of it everywhere. We took off the power strip, removed the cords, and were pleased to find that it fit this space perfectly! It used to bother me that our bedroom set only came with one side table, but now I really love that we have mix-matched side tables instead of the same ones. Sometimes you gotta mix things up to keep it interesting. And sometimes you don't have a choice but you find that you love it anyways! ;)
I love the broad surface space which serves to hold my books, scriptures, and alarm clock, as well as my make-up box and mirrors. It's nice to have the space when I am getting ready. I purchased the make-up box and alarm clock from Target and the lighted vanity mirror from Costco. The other mirror was a Christmas present that used to be a brassy color and which I painted black. The chair is one of 4 that I still have from our first table set we bought at Goodwill when we were married. The table is long gone (it fell off of the back of a truck and shattered while I was in the hospital having Connor, but that is a whole other story), but I still use the chairs. The chairs used to be a forest green but I have since painted them all. This one, of course, I painted in the same cream as the rest of the furniture.
You can tell by how much I've talked about this, I really love this area. But I will move on...
My Chair & Ottoman

I would call this chair my biggest splurge in my bedroom. I knew I wanted a banana bark chair with a cream colored cushion for this corner of my bedroom for a really long time. When I found this one at Pier One, I decided I had to have it. Sometimes you just gotta pay the price for certain pieces, but I usually only do if I have pined-away for it for a significant amount of time and am totally sure it is what I want. Bought this 5 years ago and I have never looked back. Love that chair.
The reading lamp (can you tell we like to read?) and ottoman are both from Ikea. Ikea is just a budget-conscience girl's best friend, am I right?!
A Few Tips
Keep It Simple 
One thing I decided to do when designing my room was to keep it simple. The colors are simple, the decor is simple, there is no clutter (other than our stacked up books), and I love it that way. In order for a bedroom to feel like a retreat, I think keeping it simple and tidy can really help. There are not very many things on my walls (just the mirror I made and these 4 frames shown below) and I try to keep surfaces and floors relatively cleared.
Think Before You Spend
The last thing I want to show you all are my built-ins. We completely renovated our house from top to bottom just before we moved in 7 years ago. At the time, there was some talk about getting rid of the built-ins and expanding the bedroom. I am so glad we decided to keep them. We had them sanded and painted and added new hardware and I adore them. The point of showing these is that you should always think about keeping original elements and things you already have before you decide to rip them out and pay more for something else. You may end up loving those very same things later on down the road, especially if you give them a little freshening up!

In the case of my built-ins, I actually got to have my cake and eat it too. We added a walk-in closet to the other side of the room and now I get the best of both worlds! I'm spoiled, I know.
And that completes the tour! My room is certainly not the fanciest or most beautiful master bedroom out there, but it is mine, it suits me, and I love it. I hope I have given you some inspiration for your master bedroom design!
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