Happy Monday!!!!

 

SO…It’s Monday. And it’s feels like a Monday. And I could use some HAPPY so I am going to share some of my favorite things right now, the things that are helping to make my Monday just a tad bit more happy! Even if it is still a Monday!

The Olympics started on Friday!  Don’t know if you have heard about that or not?! We get a little Olympics obsessed over here in our family. What are your favorite events? I kind of LOVE them ALL but am super excited about Swimming, Diving, Gymnastics, Martial Arts, Volleyball, and Soccer. And then there are always those events that I don’t think I’ll like, like who wants to watch some cycling event for 5 hours but then I get sucked in and there goes half my Saturday! Or Rowing, I always get sucked into that! And I seriously had to laugh at myself last night when I tried to stay up until 1:30 a.m. to cheer on Female Judo Olympian, Marti Malloy, just because we graduated from the same High School! (like seriously, 10 years apart, NEVER met the girl, but there is a connection RIGHT?!). But that is the joy of the Olympics!! And I LOVE it!!! I was YELLING at my TV last night at the Men’s 4×100 Relay Team. SO close to that gold medal!  SO CLOSE!

I can only IMAGINE the type of hard work those Olympic athletes are putting into training for their events so I love to see their back stories and I especially LOVE when you get to see them have a little bit of FUN! Like this… this is another Olympic favorite of mine! (Swimming has a special place in my heart, since I was on swim team in High School while I lived in Hawaii).

Call Me Maybe- USA Olympic Swimming Team

 

And since we are talking Olympics, I found this gem on Pinterest!

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Okay, so I’ll move on from the Olympics for now since I know not everyone loves it as much as me! Shocking but true!

I recently discovered the wonder of the Facebaby Blog. Has anyone else had the pleasure?! Oh. MY. WORD! This little guy that I am about to introduce you to makes me laugh EVERY stinkin’ time I check this blog! I found out about the Face baby through the fabulous blog, How Sweet It is, if you love food and a great blog, check it out, she is hilarious. You gotta check under “Crumbs” too, that is where she writes more about her life and that is where I found out about this guy…

 

Look at that FACE! He seriously has the MOST expressive face EVER! I only shared ONE photo, you seriously have to go to this blog and scroll through them ALL because they are adorable and so fun!

Hope you guys are all having a GREAT Monday and are enjoying the Olympics too!

 

~JESS

Smores Bars (no fire needed)

Believe it or not, I am not a big fan of eating Smores the traditional way. Don’t get me wrong, I love the process of roasting marshmallows by the fire, but that’s about where it stops. I usually have more fun watching the marshmallow turn black, pulling the top part off and doing it again.

It’s silly because I love the combination of chocolate, graham crackers and marshmallows together. What I don’t like is when you make Smores by the fire the chocolate doesn’t ever seem to melt when the marshmallows are put on the hard chocolate bar. It doesn’t seem right to me. It’s just too big of a ‘chunk’ to bite into with the gooey marshmallow.

Last summer I made ‘Smores’ similar to these ones and they were a huge hit. I actually made them on a whole square of a graham cracker (instead of the 1/4 ones I made below). I also put a sucker stick in them for the kids to make it a bit more festive. The adults loved them so much too they told the kids the rest were for the adults! This summer I decided to make them smaller and I think they are the perfect size, especially for kids.

Smores (11 of 16)

What you need:

Graham Crackers

Marshmallows

Chocolate Chips (I used semi-sweet)

Smores (1 of 1)

Cut your marshmallows in half. I used a pizza cutter.

Smores (2 of 16)

Break apart square graham crackers into 1/4 pieces. Put them on a microwave safe plate. Place the two halves of the marshmallows onto the 1/4 piece of graham crackers.

Smores (3 of 16)

Put the whole plate into the microwave for 10 to 30 seconds. Enough so that they start to puff up. You really need to watch them so that they don’t melt over.

Smores (4 of 16)

Take them out of the microwave and immediately put on the top half of the graham cracker.

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Some of them might be a little ‘overflowing’ with marshmallow. You can cut some of sides off if you want to. Let the marshmallow cool a bit so that they stick together.

Smores (7 of 16)

Next, melt your chocolate chips in the microwave at 30 second intervals, stirring in between until the chocolate is melted all the way through. Then take a spoon and drizzle and spread the chocolate with a spoon all over most of the graham cracker.

Smores (8 of 16)

No need to be perfect. They will be eaten up before you know it! Put them on foil until the chocolate is hardened. You can put them in the fridge to speed up the hardening time if you have little ones chomping at the bit to eat them right away.

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These are really yummy and will most likely not last very long when you make them.

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But don’t let that stop you. They are so worth it.

Smores (15 of 16)

~Jenny

Double Chocolate Chip Cookies

 

These are a family favorite for sure! The recipe that I have actually says “Low Fat” Chocolate Cookies but I don’t really know how they can be categorized as such, they still include two types of sugar, butter and chocolate chips. I think the only “low fat” concession that is made is that I use egg whites. So there you go, totally guilt free cookies!!  (Or not!) BUT totally delicious!

I am pretty sure (but not 100%) that the recipe came from here but it was years ago that I found it and I didn’t print it from the site. This is pretty much the same recipe that I use, only I have already doubled it for you below since the recipe given on the site only makes like 2 dozen cookies. 

But trust me, Low Fat or not, these are SO GOOD!!! They don’t last long in our house!

Here are the ingredients you’ll need:

 

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Ingredients:

1/2 Cup Butter (softened)

1 Cup Sugar

1/2 Cup Brown Sugar

2 egg whites

2 tsp Vanilla

2 Cups Flour

1 tsp Baking Soda

1/2 tsp  Salt

1/2 Cup Cocoa Powder

2/3 Cup Chocolate Chips

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375

In a large bowl, (LOVE MY KITCHENAIDE!) beat butter and sugars until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla, mix well.

Combine dry ingredients in a medium bowl and slowly add to sugar mixture. Mix well.

Fold in chocolate chips. Batter will be dry and stiff. If batter is TOO dry or hard to mix, add a splash or two of milk.

Drop cookies onto parchment paper or silicone mat.

Bake for 8-10 minutes, cool 1 minute before moving to wire rack to cool.

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ENJOY!!

~JESS

DIY Bird feeders

The kids had so much fun making these cute DIY bird feeders.

DIY Birdfeeders

I had pinned this idea from Mom Endeavors awhile back. I LOVED her idea and thought they turned out so cute. But, instead of using paint cans like she did, we used tin cans I had saved from soup, canned fruit etc.
We used both small and large cans. 

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We spray painted three of the cans.

DIY Birdfeeders (2 of 15)

And used acrylic paint with a paint brush on one of them.

DIY Birdfeeders (3 of 15)

Once they dried we wanted to add some more color to them. Turns out we were having fun with polka dots and ended up putting them on all four cans!

We bought one long skinny dowel and cut it in smaller pieces. Then we attached it with hot glue for the birds to sit on. We attached some ribbon and added some birdseed to the can. Now we are waiting for our little birds to come. My four year old kept going out and checking to see if they had eaten the seed yet!

My ten year old made this one all by herself. Isn’t it cute?

DIY Birdfeeders (12 of 15)

DIY Birdfeeders (9 of 15)

DIY Birdfeeders (5 of 15)

DIY Birdfeeders (7 of 15)

DIY Birdfeeders (10 of 15)

My grandparents are in an assisted living home and they have birds right outside of their window. So, we made one of these feeders to give to them. I think they will love it!

In the meantime, we will be looking for birds to come to our feeder. Once they do I will make sure to take some pictures and add them to this post!

~Jenny

DIY Beach Candle Holder

This is my birthday gift from Jess.

Of course she made it herself. Don’t you love it?

She used the same technique as her spring candle holders from here.

Teacher Gifts (12 of 19)

I believe she found the bottom part from Value Village and then everything else was from the Dollar Store.

Teacher Gifts (14 of 19)

I love how perfectly the rose matches with the shells. I also love how you can glue a few things together to make something super cute!

What will she make next?

~Jenny

Ice Cream Sandwiches with Sprinkles

We made these for the 4th of July and the kids loved them.

It’s funny how you can take something so simple, spruce it up a bit and your kids will think it’s the coolest thing in the world!

Wonder how long that will last?

Ice Cream Sandwhiches With Sprinkles

I’m sure some of you have seen these on Pinterest. I had originally planned to buy the original size ice cream sandwiches, but then I found these ‘100 calorie’ ice cream sandwiches at Albertsons. I got 18 of them for under $4. They were perfect. Especially considering we had so many other desserts.

There really isn’t a lot of directions for this one. Pour some sprinkles on a plate and cover the sides with the sprinkles. I made them all and kept them in the freezer until it was time to eat them.

Ice Cream Sandwhiches With Sprinkles (1 of 5)

I think these would be a fun dessert for a birthday party.

Use colored sprinkles to match your theme.

The kids would love them!

Ice Cream Sandwhiches With Sprinkles (2 of 5)

~Jenny

Boneless BBQ Pork Ribs

This is a great recipe if you are cooking for a large party or a potluck.

It is really easy to make and everyone loves it!

Boneless BBQ Ribs

 

1. Fry the Ribs in a skillet until they are a bit browned-basically to seal in the juices.

*Side Note: These ribs had a bit more fat than normal. I usually cut off most fat, but I didn’t have time this day. These were also not from Costco, which is where I normally like to get them. Costco’s ribs don’t seem to have as much fat on them. I can’t be the only one weird about fat can I?

Potato Salad & BBQ spare ribs (2 of 17)

 

2. Next put them in a 9×13 inch glass dish. I usually put nonstick foil in first. It helps with the clean up! Pour barbecue sauce on just the tops of the ribs. Try not to get too much on the bottom of the pan at this point so that it doesn’t burn.

Potato Salad & BBQ spare ribs (4 of 17)

Potato Salad & BBQ spare ribs (6 of 17)

3. Cover tightly with foil and bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour.

At this point I didn’t take pictures of the rest of the steps. I was getting ready for Jess and her family to come over for dinner and I totally forgot!  So here are the rest of the steps.

4. Take ribs out of the oven after an hour and smother with lots of sauce. There should be lots of moisture/juice at the bottom of the pan which makes it ok to dump in as much sauce as you want!

5. Cover again and continue baking for another 2 hours. Your house will start to smell delicious.

6. You might want to check them after awhile to spoon out extra grease and add more sauce. Otherwise the grease may dilute the sauce too much.

The meat just falls apart. They are so delicious!

Potato Salad & BBQ spare ribs (15 of 17)

 

Boneless BBQ Pork Ribs

What you need:

Boneless Pork Ribs (we get the big package from Costco)

BBQ Sauce (as much as you’d like)

What to do:

1. Fry the ribs in a skillet until they are a bit browned-basically to seal in the juice.

2. Put them in a 9×13 glass dish. I usually put nonstick foil in first. It helps with the clean up! Pour barbecue sauce on just the tops of the ribs. Try not to get much on the bottom of the pan at this point so that it doesn’t burn.

3. Cover tightly with foil and bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour.

4. Take out of oven after an hour and smother with lots of sauce. There should be lots of moisture/juice at the bottom of the pan which makes it ok to dump in as much sauce as you want!

5. Cover again and continue baking for another 2 hours.

6. You might want to check them after awhile to spoon out extra grease and add more sauce. Otherwise the grease may dilute the sauce too much.

Enjoy!

Boneless BBQ Ribs

~Jenny

A Trip To The Berry Farm

 

Now that Summer has FINALLY arrived here in Western Washington, (it has consistently been over 70 degrees for at LEAST 5 days now) we are ready to get this Summertime show on the road!

First stop, the local Berry Farm for some fresh Strawberry and Raspberry picking! On Friday, the kids and I were very excited to spend a couple hours with some very good friends at a local farm. And OF COURSE, the VERY first people we see when we get out of our car are Jenny (my fellow bloggy partner) and her BBF Amy and all their awesome kiddos. And, NO we didn’t plan on meeting there. That just happens to us A LOT! And it’s even funnier that they show up THAT berry farm, the one that is 25 minutes away from their houses.

We did happen to come upon a pretty hefty berry picking competition going on between Jenny and her kiddos and Amy and her kids (not that they are competitive AT ALL or anything!).

Here is a picture of them right before they started their final, 2 minute strawberry picking challenge.

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And Jenny (so NOT competitive, emailed me the results of their challenge) and it was VERY clear who the winner was!

Strawberry Picking

 

Jenny and her kiddos made 15 jars of jam from all those berries! Check out how cute they are!

Strawberry Jam

 

My kiddos and I (and our awesome friends that we actually had PLANNED on meeting there) spent almost 2 hours picking raspberries and only about 15 minutes on the strawberries. The kids just didn’t have much left by the time we made it to the strawberry fields.

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Did you know Batman likes Raspberries?

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Aren’t they sweet? Berry picking is hard work! They needed a rest!

Our family ended up with just under 5 pounds of Raspberries and a handful of Strawberries. By the time we got home, munched on some with lunch and dinner, this is what was left. I was planning on making a Raspberry Chocolate Crumble recipe I found online.

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But somehow, by the end of Saturday, I had NO berries left! The last of the berries ended up HERE!

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So, we will be making ANOTHER trip to the berry farm NEXT week and THEN I can share with you my Raspberry Chocolate Crumble! But for now, Jenny did ask me to share the link for her jam recipe, Strawberry Freezer Jam from Allrecipes.com.

Do you guys have a favorite Berry Recipe? I’d LOVE if you’d share it! I am definitely headed back for more berries and hopefully we’ll make it to the recipe stage next time!!

~JESS

July 4th Mantle and FREE Printable

 

I LOVE decorating for ALL the different holidays and you would think that I would have gotten a head start with the 4th back in May with Memorial Day or perhaps in June with Flag Day, but no, I majorly procrastinated.  I am going to blame it on  how busy we have been  but seriously up until yesterday, MONDAY, my mantle STILL looked like this:

 

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Definitely time to ditch the spring mantle!!

Time to bring on the ALL AMERICAN 4th!!

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As you can see, the kids were enjoying some “BO on the GO”  this morning!

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I planned on having A LOT more time to spend on my décor this year but it simply did NOT happen, I originally REALLY wanted to make this ADORABLE arrangement with my flags (as found on Pinterest!).  (Click on picture to go to Pin on Pinterest)

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And I would have loved to make these for my mantle too! (Makes me think of the Olympics coming up too! Can’t WAIT!)

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This wreath was also on my To Do List… maybe next year… (Ummm, probably SHOULDN’T mention I said the same thing LAST year!)

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And check out Jenny’s patriotic rosette flag!

4th Of July Rosette Flag 2

I DID find this printable on Pinterest and used it LAST year and THIS year because I LOVE it so MUCH!

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And the FABULOUS Jenny, has mad you an ADORABLE FREE 5×7 Printable too!!

Just click on the picture below to download!

America 5x7

We hope you guys have a HAPPY and SAFE 4th of July!!!! 

~JESS