Let’s Get Real #35

Posted on Apr 17, 2014 in Blogging, Link Party | 2 comments

Welcome to our Let’s Get Real Blog Hop!

Woot! Woot! Let’s get this Friday started. Let’s Get Real is all about Healthy Living. That’s right! It’s all about Real Food, fitness, health and wellness, and home life tips and tricks from Real people. That’s you! Grab a cup of coffee (or other preferred beverage ). Relax into a comfy spot and take some time to get to know the great folks that link up here.

**This week you can enter to win next week’s special co-host spot. If you are interested in co-hosting next week, please enter the rafflecopter give-away. We would love to have you join us for the week.**

 

Let's Get Real Friday Party
A Big Welcome to our Special Co-Host Chrystal from    YUM eating! Make sure you give her a big Let’s Get Real welcome.
Chrystal YUM eating
I’m not big on rules (since this is what I do for fun), but I do have a couple of guidelines.

1) Follow all your co-hosts. We follow back! Leave a comment for us on the post and we will know you are a new follower.

Christina: Blog/Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest/Google +

Nicole: Blog/Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest/Google +/Instagram

Nicky:Blog/Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest/Google+

Gaye:Blog/Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest/Google+

Chrystal:Blog/Twitter/Facebook/Google +

 

2) Please don’t link and run! Follow and comment on at least 3 other blogs. The more effort you put into getting to know everyone, the more you will get in return. Everyone is here to get more readers and traffic to their blogs so let’s show them some love!
If you would, please add our button to your buttons and badges page or your post that you link up today! 
Stop by every Thursday evening for our weekend link party!
365(ish) Days of Pinterest

We will be pinning our favorites!!

My Let’s Get Real Featured blogger this week is:

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Read More

Frosted Sugar Cookies

Posted on Apr 16, 2014 in Desserts | 4 comments

frosted sugar cookies

 

Every week when I go grocery shopping, my self-control is tested. Many times. But the biggest temptation to walk past is the bakery display of those soft frosted sugar cookies. You know the ones I mean? I just love the chewy cookie with all that decadent frosting on top. Of course, they are $4 for a dozen. My wallet usually wins the argument and I move along. But thanks to A Dash of Sanity (an amazing food blog you must check out AFTER reading this post) ;) I have found a wonderful homemade version of those tempting frosted sugar cookies!

Frosted Sugar Cookies

Frosted Sugar Cookies

Ingredients

  • Sugar Cookies
  • 1 1/4 cups white sugar
  • 1 cup butter
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
  • Frosting
  • 4 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, room temp
  • 5 tablespoons milk
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla

Instructions

    Sugar Cookies
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cream together sugar and butter. Beat in egg yolks, almond and vanilla extract.
  3. Add flour, baking soda, and cream of tartar. Stir. The dough will be more firm than typical cookie dough.
  4. Roll dough into walnut-sized balls and place 2 inches apart on cookie sheet. Don't flatten! Bake 10 to 11 minutes, until tops are cracked and just turning color.
  5. Frosting
  6. In a large bowl, cream together the confectioners' sugar and butter until smooth. Gradually mix in the milk, almond and vanilla with an electric mixer until smooth and stiff, about 5 minutes. Color with food coloring if desired.
http://www.365ishpins.com/frosted-sugar-cookies/

The only thing I changed from the original recipe was to use half almond extract and half vanilla. I like almond extract, but it’s very strong and I didn’t want it to be the primary flavor. I had to play around with the size of the dough balls. I made the first batch too small, so I had little silver dollar sized cookies. :) Then I made a few large ones, like I would usually do for chocolate chip cookies. But if you do that, the edges run while the middle stays up and they cook unevenly. Halfway through rolling the second batch, I got the perfect size down and they turned out just right, with pretty crackled tops and soft, chewy insides. I had fun frosting these and dipping them in pretty sugar crystals. I’ll be making these again, that’s for sure!

frosted sugar cookies

 

For more great cookie recipes, check out my Pinterest board featuring my personal dessert obsession.

Follow 365(ish) Days of Pinterest’s board Food-Cookies on Pinterest.

Read More

Easy Easter Crafts for Kids

Posted on Apr 14, 2014 in Crafts, Holiday, Kids | 22 comments

I am a member of the Collective Bias® Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for Collective Bias and its advertiser. #CollectiveBias #EasterValue

Grandma Engwall

I don’t usually mail anyone an Easter card or do Easter crafts, but this year we are making an exception for a very special lady. This is Elinora Engwall: Chris to her friends, Grandma Engwall to many and Mimi to the little ones. Over a year ago, she walked into the hospital for surgery on her spine to repair badly twisted vertebrae, and due to a host of complications, she’s now mostly confined to a wheelchair. She can walk with some assistance, and is determined to get back on her feet for good, but for now she’s sporting a pair of wheels. See that lovely smile? It’s always there. My grandma is the toughest lady I know. She met my Grandpa while traveling around to Swedish Baptist churches with something called God’s Invasion Army. Just months after they were married she was left alone with a new baby, far away from family and friends and her home country, while he shipped out to Alaska after being drafted during the Korean War.

Grandma HatterWhen Grandpa returned, they raised a son, daughter (my mom) and twins-a boy and a girl. Grandpa was the pastor of a small church in a small town in Oregon, and she was by his side. She helped to raise her grandkids and spent seven long years nursing Grandpa as he struggled with congestive heart failure. Through it all she has been kind, loving, silly, witty and a faithful prayer warrior. She keeps notes and lists of people to pray for when she’s awake in the middle of the night because of pain. She always said she didn’t want to grow old and become one of those crotchety old ladies who complains about everything. Anyone who has met her can tell you, she’s definitely NOT a  grouchy old woman!

I could go on and on about Grandma (Mimi), but I’ll get to the point. Sadly, my boys have never even met her. Well, Bryce has, but he is too young to remember. So, to encourage that sense of connection with family and our family history, we often talk about Grandma Engwall. The boys pray for her to get better every night before bed. I send new photos in the mail and little cards whenever I can. My mom goes up to visit every couple of months and always comes home with little gifts for the boys from Grandma. We even used FaceTime a few times to chat with her.

This Easter, Hallmark is making it easy for us to connect with Mimi. I took the boys with me to Walmart and let them pick out cards to send to Grandma for Easter. Thanks to the value section, I could afford to let them each pick a card. How fun for Grandma to get a full mailbox of Hallmark cards and Easter crafts from her great-grandsons way down in California!

Easter collage

Henry really wanted to get her this Darth Vader card, but I’m pretty sure Mimi has never even seen Star Wars. Bryce, on the other hand, carefully inspected and read several cards out loud before choosing one to purchase. The prices were so good, I stocked up on cards to send Grandma in the coming months, just to say hello. We even got Easter cards for Gramps and Mem, who live up in Northern California. With value cards for only $.97 you can’t really go wrong! :) And now you can take advantage of the Hallmark Card Reward Program and get rewarded for every five cards your purchase at Walmart.

cards

I didn’t want to send an empty card to Mimi, so I wandered the halls of Pinterest in search of inspiration. I needed easy paper crafts that the kids would do. I also needed something that would fit inside a card. I ended up with three different Easter crafts that will brighten Grandma’s day and hopefully make her feel extra special!

 

1. Paper Chains and “Snowflake” Eggs

I’d like to start this off with a “keeping it real” kind of photo. Did you ever make paper doll chains as a kid? These are supposed to be easy. Apparently the pioneer children were much more intelligent that I am, because this is what my table looked liked after many, many, many practice runs on scrap paper. I’m glad I waited to use my good Easter paper!

failed attempts

So, in case the logic in this doesn’t come naturally to you, here’s what I did. Cut a strip of paper about 4″ tall and as long you’d like the chain to be. (I was using scraps of 12×12 coordinating Easter scrapbook paper left over from my Easter Egg Paper Art project.) Then fold over about 2″ in an accordion-style fold so it looks like this:

folded paper

Next, fold paper back up and draw half of your design against the folded edge (not the open one.) The key to this, and coincidentally, the cause of my huge mess, is to draw your design all the way from edge to edge. You don’t want to completely cut around it, or you’ll lose the connection between folds. I chose a simple carrot design because I’m not an artist and a paper bunny was NOT happening. :)

paper carrot

So you see, you’re going to cut from the bottom, up the diagonal line and OFF the paper. NOT around the corner there. Then you’ll make a second cut for the top of the carrot and the sprout top. And hopefully, when it’s done, it will look like this.

carrot paper chain

After feeling a little bit like a dummy for not figuring that out sooner, I had the kids help make paper “snowflakes” using egg-shaped pieces of paper. Just cut an egg out of a piece of paper and fold over on itself several times. Then make cuts on the folded edges to create a pretty design.

Henry cutting

2. Easter Chicks with Hand Print Wings

hand print chick

 

charlie's chick

These are easy, I promise. I just traced Henry and Charlie’s hands and then glued them on as the chick’s wings. A couple googly eyes and a felt triangle for the beak and it’s done! I was going to do something different with Charlie’s, but he insisted on having one just like Henry. I like hand print crafts anyway, since they save a moment in time in a tangible way.

 3. Mail a Hug

I think Grandma will like this one the best, because it shows how big Bryce has grown over the years. First, trace an adorable child’s hands on paper. Then, have them stretch out their arms and measure a piece of ribbon or twine from one hand to the other. Last, attach the ribbon to the back of the hands. Ta da! A hug that will fit in a card! When Mimi opens her card, she can take Bryce’s hands and wrap them around her.

bryce hands

Mail a hug

 

easter crafts for kids

 

Make sure you check out connectionsfromhallmark.com to sign up for Hallmark Rewards, and to see great content from other bloggers. Join in the #EasterValue conversation on Twitter!

 

Read More

All Natural Foot Soak

Posted on Apr 11, 2014 in Health and Beauty | 5 comments

foot soak

 

There are so many things on Pinterest that go viral but they make you wonder if they really work or not. The “Listerine” foot soak is one of those. After reading many reviews and talking with friends that have done it, I still don’t have a definitive answer. But I did discover that it will turn your feet blue! :) So I decided to create an all-natural version of the popular foot soak as an alternative. You won’t get the tingly, cooling feeling that comes with using Listerine, but you will get clean feet and soft, fresh skin!

Read More

Let’s Get Real #34

Posted on Apr 10, 2014 in Blogging, Link Party | 2 comments

Welcome to our Let’s Get Real Blog Hop!

Woot! Woot! Let’s get this Friday started. Let’s Get Real is all about Healthy Living. That’s right! It’s all about Real Food, fitness, health and wellness, and home life tips and tricks from Real people. That’s you! Grab a cup of coffee (or other preferred beverage ). Relax into a comfy spot and take some time to get to know the great folks that link up here.

**This week you can enter to win next week’s special co-host spot. If you are interested in co-hosting next week, please enter the rafflecopter give-away. We would love to have you join us for the week.**

 

Linky Party
A Big Welcome to our Special Co-Host Michelle from A Dish of Daily Life! Make sure you give her a big Let’s Get Real welcome.
I’m not big on rules (since this is what I do for fun), but I do have a couple of guidelines.

1) Follow all your co-hosts. We follow back! Leave a comment for us on the post and we will know you are a new follower.

Christina: Blog/Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest/Google +

Nicole: Blog/Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest/Google +/Instagram

Nicky:Blog/Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest/Google+

Gaye:Blog/Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest/Google+

Michelle:Blog/Twitter/Facebook/Google +

 

2) Please don’t link and run! Follow and comment on at least 3 other blogs. The more effort you put into getting to know everyone, the more you will get in return. Everyone is here to get more readers and traffic to their blogs so let’s show them some love!

I’d love you have you put our party badge on your site somewhere or in your post! :)

365(ish) Days of Pinterest

We will be pinning our favorites!!
My Let’s Get Real Featured blogger this week is:
Thumbs Up 3 Clip Art
It’s All Good by A Mother’s Shadow. Thanks for the reminder: there’s always good to be thankful for!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Read More

Grilled Shrimp Scampi: Vol. 2, Day 60

Posted on Apr 7, 2014 in Main Dishes | 10 comments

grilled shrimp scampi

 

I LOVE shrimp. When Red Lobster has Endless Shrimp going, I try very hard to make sure we have a date night available. One of my favorite ways to eat shrimp is scampi. It’s covered in garlic and dripping with butter and oh so good. The other day I saw a recipe for grilled shrimp scampi and I HAD to try it-even though shrimp is a gazillion dollars a pound. It’s still way cheaper than going to a restaurant. And now YOU need to try it. :) 

Read More

Copycat Cheddar Bay Biscuits

Posted on Apr 4, 2014 in Side Dishes | 6 comments

copycat cheddar bay biscuits

 

Do you love Red Lobster? It’s our “date night” place and we really like the biscuits that come with the meals. Well, these Copycat Cheddar Bay Biscuits adapted from The Slow Roasted Italian are BETTER than the ones at Red Lobster. I’m not kidding. My husband raved over these! They were crispy-crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. They weren’t dry and crumbly, either, which is how most drop biscuits turn out for me.  I made them with grilled shrimp scampi (keep an eye open for that recipe soon) and we had our own feast for 1/4 price of a dinner out. 

Read More