Chalkboard Kitchen Conversion Chart Printable

If you’re looking for cute kitchen decor, or if you’re new to cooking and need a reference, kitchen conversion chart printables are widely available around the internet.  Given their popularity, it seemed only fitting that I offer one here.

Black Chalkboard Kitchen Conversions

I try to keep my printables clean and uncluttered, so I hope you like this one.  To download the full resolution file, just click here.  Right click on the image once it opens and “save as” to where ever on your computer you like.  With the chalkboard background, I recommend printing on a heavier paper, like cardstock.

Have something you’d like to see as a printable?  Let me know!  I’m always looking for ideas of things I can provide to you guys.  I’m happy to take on special projects.

Good luck in the kitchen!

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Turn A Brown Paper Bag Into A Trick-Or-Treat Bag #EarlyLearnersAcademy

What feels like forever ago, my friends at Elmer’s sent me a tool box full of Elmer’s products and basic crafting supplies for my little ones to free-range with (we’re huge fans of free-range art.)  Instead of telling her what to do with the contents, I simply turned my 7 year old loose.  What did she do?  She turned a brown paper bag and some strips of construction paper into a Trick-Or-Treat Bag.

Trick-Or-Treat Bag #EarlyLearnersAcademyCraft supplies you can never go wrong with?  Paper and glue.  I’ve been making stuff out of paper and glue since before I even remember.  I know there’s a box somewhere of who knows what that I made back in elementary school… likely a whole lot of glue and paper projects.  I have a box of the same for each of the kids.  We run through both paper and glue here like there’s a never ending supply.

Elmers #EarlyLearnersAcademy Trick-Or-Treat BagThe products Elmer’s sent us were from their line for younger children.  Both Cullen and Addison we able to open the glues easier than with the traditional packaging we’re all used to seeing.  The bulkier shape and size makes easier work for little fingers.  When I set the kids loose with a project like this, I want to know that they can do it on their own, with little to no help from me.  That includes having to run to their aid to open things for them.

Elmer's Crafting Trick-Or-Treat BagThe only advice I gave Addy during this project was to lay her work out before she started gluing anything down.  She picked her own design, she picked her own glue, she even asked if I had green paper to use for a stem.

Halloween Trick-Or-Treat BagIt’s a good thing she rarely minds being the subject of my photographic endeavors.  Pumpkin in place, glue drying… time for finishing touches!  Those creatures kind of look like butterflies to me, but I am assured that they are bats.  I offered black construction paper, but apparently she prefers mixed medium art.

In the end, a super cute project for a super cute girl.  One that she is happy with and that I can be happy with knowing she flexed her creative muscles!

If your kids Trick-Or-Treat, what do they carry to collect their candy in?

Posted in Crafts | 10 Comments

Domestic Violence, Financial Abuse and The Purple Purse Challenge

Today’s post is sponsored by The Allstate Foundation’s The Purple Purse Challenge and MomSelect.  Opinions shared are my own.

While two-thirds of Americans believe domestic violence is a serious problem, just over 1 in 3 have ever talked about it.

Let that sink in for a minute.  First, that means that the other third of the population either doesn’t think domestic violence is a serious problem, or they just don’t care either way.  Second, that means that only half of the people who acknowledge the problem will ever talk about it.  Today, we’re going to talk about it.

Here are some domestic violence facts for you:

Financial Abuse The Purple Purse Challenge

Those are scary numbers.

I have personally watched friends struggle through Financial Abuse.  Financial Abuse is just as effective in controlling an abused victim as a lock and key.  Ruined credit?  Can’t get an apartment.  Harassed at work?  Bye-bye job.  When you have no money and no way to leave, what choice do you have other than to stay?

Since 2005, The Allstate Foundation has invested more than $40 million across the country to help Domestic Violence survivors regain control of their finances and break free from abuse.  This is where the Purple Purse Challenge comes into play.  You can help ensure Domestic Violence survivors – likely someone you know, whether you’re aware of it or not – by joining the Purple Purse Challenge and help a non-profit local to you gain much needed funding to help stop the cycle.  Please take a moment to go learn about The Purple Purse Challenge and what you can do to help those in your community who are suffering through Domestic Violence.

If you or someone you know are a victim of Domestic Violence of any kind, don’t wait to call for help.  Reach out to the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).  It can be the difference in life and death.

With the statistics being what they are, how many of you have been or know someone who has been affected by Domestic Violence?

Posted in Health/Wellness, Life in General | Leave a comment

1 Rotisserie Chicken, 2 Meals, Spend Less Than $25

Have I mentioned how I like quick meals?  These may not be ready in 10 minutes, but picking up a store bought rotisserie chicken surely speeds up the process.  Invest $25, about 30 minutes and you’ll have dinner for 4 for 2 nights.

Recipes Using Rotisserie ChickenMost grocery stores have rotisserie chickens ready to go every day at dinner time.  If you want something fresh and “whole” but don’t want to spend a ton of time on prep or cooking, grabbing a rotisserie chicken is a great shortcut.  Even when 4 of us were eating, we never at the whole chicken the first night.  Don’t pitch the left overs though!  That’s tomorrow night’s dinner!

Repurpose Rotisserie ChickenFor meal one, we’re making roasted veggies and serving the chicken as is.  The kids always take the legs and the breast are usually big enough that 1 and a half will feed two adults.

Roasting VegetablesYou can use just about any combo of veggies, but I prefer to stay away from potatoes or anything that you wouldn’t eat raw.  I don’t want to spend 45 minutes roasting veggies.  Mushrooms, baby carrots, broccolini and radishes were what looked good to me.  If you’ve never grilled or roasted a radish, you should give it a try.  The flavor completely changes.  They are amazing!

Oven Roast VeggiesThere is absolutely no measuring in either of these meals!  Use your eyes and you’ll be fine.  For the veggies, they all go in a mixing bowl (after being rinsed) and I add a few tablespoons of olive oil and a good chug of balsamic vinegar.  For seasoning, you can go as simple as salt and pepper or add some Italian herbs. Toss it all together and pour it in a baking dish.  It hits the oven for about 20 minutes at 425 degrees.

Rotisserie Chicken with Over Roast Veggies As you can see, the balsamic caramelizes a bit and gets a nice sweet and tangy flavor going.  It’s a great compliment to the simple flavor of the chicken.

While your veggies are roasting, you have plenty of time to completely prep your second meal.  My chicken salad, which I happen to think is killer, is a family favorite.  (It’s also a great way to use leftover turkey from those upcoming holiday meals!)  You want to pick clean that chicken.  Both thighs, the half breast that’s left plus any breast meat hanging onto the bones from the other side.  Wing meat works great here too.  Leave no meat behind!  It’s faster than you think… you’ll have the chicken picked clean in under 5 minutes.

Chicken Salad IngredientsIn my chicken salad, I use chopped chicken, diced apple, chopped celery, sliced grapes, a few sliced green onions, salt, pepper and mayo.  Mix it all up, adjust your mayo and seasonings until you’re happy with the consistency and flavor, then store it in an air tight container in the fridge for tomorrow.  I like to add pecans to mine just before serving.

Rotisserie Chicken SaladIf you catch the things you need on sale, you can make both of these for WAY under $25.  I paid full price for most of my ingredients and still came out at roughly $23.  If you don’t want chicken two nights back to back, easy enough… hold off on your chicken salad ingredients, but still pick that chicken clean.  Toss the meat into a freezer bag and into the cold it goes.  You can pull it out a day ahead and prep your chicken salad for another day.

Do you have any favorite shortcuts you take when cooking?  The rotisserie chicken is one of my favorite shortcuts, but I know there are other great shortcuts too.  Share your secrets with the rest of us in the comments!

Posted in Food, Recipes | 8 Comments

Making An Apartment Feel More Like Home

Today’s post is sponsored by Acorn Influence and it’s advertiser, SC Johnson.  That just means that I get a little something for writing a unique article that readers can enjoy and that SC Johnson can stand behind.  If you’re living in an apartment or missing an old home, I hope you find it useful.

Make Your Apartment Feel More Like HomeIf you’ve somehow missed that I’ve left behind my home of over 10 years for a small apartment in another city, I’ll wait while you catch up…  Change is hard.  It’s hard leaving behind things that don’t fit in my new place or things that needed to stay behind at the house for one reason or another.  The first night in my apartment, the only time it felt like home was when my kids were bouncing off the walls and my Border Collie was pushing on my arm, begging me to throw a toy.  Once everyone settled down for the night, it was lonely and strange.  I was missing my stuff, I was missing my home.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m also exciting about starting over, starting fresh.  Still, I want my apartment to feel like home – preferably sooner rather than later.  I’ve put together a few tips for making an apartment feel more like home.  They’ve helped me and if you’ve just moved or are moving in the future, they may help you too.

1) Get stuff up on the walls.  It might seem like something that should be an after thought, but you’d be surprised how much the little things, the things that seem irrelevant, play into a place feeling like home.

When I made this piece (from pallet scraps) I had no idea where it would hang, but one of the first things I did the weekend I moved in was find it’s home and get it on the wall.  With all of the adhesive products on the market for hanging things, you don’t have to worry about finding the place things are going to stay forever and ever (that or filling your rented walls with a hundred nail holes), so stop worrying about finding the perfect place for everything and hang some of your favorite pieces, or even new ones.

2) Put out a welcome mat.  Maybe you don’t want guests knocking on your door, but at least your welcome mat will be there to welcome YOU home every day.  It’s also a way you can show a little personality outside of your apartment and mark your place as “yours”.

3) Embrace color where you can.  If you can paint walls, do it.  If you can’t, pull color out in other places… like your furniture, curtains or your floors (rugs!).

Y’all, when I found out my walls would be beige and tans, I knew the whole brown/tan sofa thing I’ve had going on for the last, of, 15 years wasn’t going to work.  I mean, I could’ve bought another boring, blah sofa and it would’ve been “fine” but it would’ve felt sterile and *blah*.  I don’t want home to feel *blah*.  So, when I set out shopping for furniture and found this blue little number at a resale shop, I took it.  It’s actually brand new… I had no idea that some resale shops sell new stuff too.  The greens in the pillows and the chair that matches will give me a perfect jumping off point for curtains and rugs, as well as little decor touches that will add to the color in the room.

Make Your Apartment Feel Like Home with Candles4) Don’t underestimate your sense of smell.  The nose knows!  While my new place smelled absolutely lovely when I moved in, it didn’t smell like home.  Home smells like food, stuff baking (sometimes like the dog – they don’t make a candle for that, do they?)  In the fall, my house always smelled like pumpkin or spices – sometimes both.  Lighting candles or using plug-ins or wax melts in scents that are familiar to you will make your space feel more homey.

5) Don’t spend more than you need to, but get things that will last.  Unless you’re moving into a college dorm, there is no reason that your whole place should be furnished from the “back to school” section at your local big box retailer.  If you buy an apartment full of furniture meant for a dorm room, that’s what your apartment is going to feel like.  Now, that’s not to say that $10 end tables from IKEA don’t have a place (I just picked up 2 last night myself) but they are a small piece of my furniture puzzle, not the whole thing.  If you can’t afford new, “real” furniture pieces, shop used!  There are tons of great resale shops and you can really have fun with yard sales or refinishing furniture too.

It feels more like home already, yes?  If you’ve moved from a house to an apartment or other short-term/rental situation, I’m sure you’ve been there too!  What tips or tricks do you have up your sleeve for making an apartment feel more like home?

Posted in Apartment Living, For the Home | 22 Comments

I Taught My Kids To Throw Clay

Life is messy, y’all.  Literally and metaphorically.  With all the packing and the moving in the last few weeks, I’ve unearthed things I’d forgotten about.  My kids hadn’t forgot about them, but I had.  Case and point, the plastic, battery operated pottery wheel the girl got for Christmas last year (thanks to whoever bought that little gem – it also included spin art.)

IMG_1213At some point in the “clean out the garage” phase of moving, the box that had been shoved behind a wheelbarrow was unearthed.  The requests started nearly immediately.  “When can we make pottery?  Can we make pottery today?  I want to get out the pottery wheel!”  I broke down over the weekend, gave up the fight, and chucked out the cash for some “D” batteries.  I didn’t have high hopes for this little project.

IMG_1219Having taken my fair share of Folk Art in high school, I actually know how to throw pottery on a wheel (electric or kick.)  I also know how hard it is to get a nice, finished piece when your first starting out – and that’s using nice clay and great tools.  This little plastic number?  It’s not my idea of a “great tool”.  You work with what you have though.

IMG_1215Our meager supplies netted us very little in the way of actual pottery.  What we did end up with was one heck of a mess, but two very happy, very proud children.  (Subsequently, we also ended up with a Border Collie sporting some clay in his fur – occupational hazard.)

photo(67)Yes, life is messy.  Sometimes messy is necessary and sometimes messy is fun.  Embrace the mess, don’t worry so much about the clean up that comes after, and enjoy life for what it is – an incredibly wonderful mess.

Posted in Crafts, Life in General | Leave a comment

A New Place, An Impromptu Sleepover and Barbie and the Secret Door

I participated in an In-Home Party Activation on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Mattel.  I received Product samples to facilitate my party and a promotional item to thank me for my time. #BarbieSecretDoor #MC #Sponsored

RetailPage_SecretDoor_MainImage-3b_tcm718-113192Addison has been dying to have friends over to my apartment since I moved two weeks ago.  I surprised her Friday by picking up two of her friends for an impromptu sleepover.  She was just giddy!  I took all three girls and hit up the store for some supplies.  They wanted popcorn (or course!) and chips.  At least they had apples and yogurt with their nuggets for dinner.  We had to have sparkly pink plates to eat snacks on too.  They had no idea I had surprises waiting for them at home.

Barbie and the Secret Door Dolls and FriendsWe haven’t moved most of Addison’s toys of yet, so it was super exciting to not only have Barbie’s to play with, but to have NEW Barbie’s to play with.  I had to commander the dolls long enough to get the girls to finish dinner before I turned them loose with snacks and Barbie and the Secret Door.

My child may or may not really like watching herself on Youtube.  I asked a simple question and now there’s a 2 minute Youtube clip of what she thought of the movie and her Barbie and the Secret Door goodies.

After finishing the movie, the girls took turns with the sticker books, Barbie Magazine and the Barbie and the Secret Door book.  While one messed with activities, the other two were acting our scenes from the movie with their dolls.  It was too cute!  Even our dog, Fenway, got in on the action.  He may have been a forced participant.

Barbie and the Secret Door - Even the Dog is in on itAs a parent, I thought the movie had some good lessons for the girls, mine in particular.  While Addison isn’t skipping her royal duties for more preferential activities like reading, we do struggle with what she wants to do verses what she needs to do.  We chat a lot about responsibilities to  me as her mom, to her friends and to herself.  Back to School is an especially difficult time for us as she’s coming off of the freedom summer allowed her.

Barbie and the Secret Door Travel ToysThe girls would’ve stayed up playing Barbie’s all night if I had let them.  They even had them out playing on the car ride back to their houses Saturday.  Needless to say, Barbie and the Secret Door was a big hit!

You can visit the Barbie and the Secret Door website to learn more about the DVD as well as purchase a copy for yourself (the DVD is also available in store at many retailers too!)

Do you have a Barbie lover?  I know a lot of us collected them as kids.  Maybe you still even have some of your dolls stashed away somewhere.  What are your favorite memories of Barbie?

Posted in Entertainment, Reviews | 4 Comments

Party Fun – Strawberry PopRockTini

Enjoy your Strawberry PopRockTini, but please drink responsibly!

Strawberry Pop Rock MartiniIf you follow me on Twitter, you couldn’t help but notice that I spent last weekend in Atlanta catching up with my blogging buddies and some amazing PR gals at #TypeACon.  We always have at least one amazing theme party, and this year’s theme was Come As You Are (The 90′s).  The amazing parties always have “signature drinks”.  This year, we had The Caucasian (White Russian) and Nerdtinis.

During one of our Meet and Great sessions with some PR reps, I picked up some Pop Rocks off one of the tables.  They were part of a catchy little promo one of the PR companies was utilizing.  I forgot about the Pop Rocks until I got home and started unpacking.  When I found them, I knew exactly what I wanted to do with them.

Pop Rock Martini - PopRockTini - OverheadDespite the fact that they pop and crack as soon as they hit your tongue, you can rim a glass with Pop Rocks.  Of course, you could still make a PopRockTini without rimming the glass, but the extra PopRocks look cool and their just fun too.

Pop Rock Martini - PoprocktiniAn immersion blender (or stick blender, as some people call it) is the bees knees for making drinks like this.  It’s way less messy that dragging out the traditional blender, and you can quickly rinse and move on to making a different kind of drink without having to really wash anything.  Check out how easy this is…

4.7 from 3 reviews
Party Fun - Strawberry PopRockTini
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Drinks
Serves: 2 servings
Ingredients
  • PopRocks Candy
  • Strawberrys
  • Pinnacle Strawberry Shortcake Vodka
  • Milk
Instructions
  1. Combine 3 or 4 fresh strawberries, 4 ounces of vodka and 2 oz of milk.
  2. Blend well.
  3. Slice a strawberry for garnish.
  4. Run the strawberry around the rim of the glass to wet it.
  5. Dip the moist rim into the PopRocks to rim the glass.
  6. Add a small scoop of PopRocks to the bottom of the glass.
  7. Pour the strawberry/vodka mixture into the glass.
  8. Garnish with additional PopRocks.

Clearly, you could make this with any flavor of PopRocks, just change up your fruit and vodka accordingly!  If you like this recipe, be sure to Pin it for later, and follow me on Pinterest for more awesome recipes, crafts and more!

What flavor of PopRocks would you make into your own special PopRockTini?

Posted in Recipes | 16 Comments

Looking Back To January – My How Things Have Changed

As a participant in ZonePerfect’s Blog Forward Challenge, I have received complimentary product and/or promotional items from ZonePerfect.  This in no way affects my ability to share our honest thoughts and opinions on the product.  I am free to express all thoughts about ZonePerfect in a positive, neutral or negative fashion.

Life QuoteWarning:  Things are about to get heavy.  If you just want the goodies Zone Perfect gave me to giveaway, feel free to skip to the last paragraph.  If you’re a regular reader, you might want to hang through the whole story though, as I’m dishing on some details of my life that will effect the site, at least in some ways.  Either way, here we go…

Back at the end of January, I talked about my goals for 2014 and how one of them was to find more time for myself.  Boy, I had no idea that this would be how I would do it… Two weeks ago I moved out of my house of 10 years, left behind my husband of 15 years and started a schedule which has my children with me half of the week and with their dad (do I still call him my husband?) the other half.  It’s been the hardest decision of my life, only second to something that happened a few years ago (and that’s a story for another day), and is not a decision I made lightly or without weighing and reweighing the consequences and collateral damage.

I felt it only fair to tell you all that this was going on, mainly because I am big on transparency and the reality of everyone’s life not being perfect, but also because for the entire life of this site, I’ve talked about my husband, our family and our home.  Now my home is a 2 bedroom townhome apartment in another city.  I’ll be adding more to the For The Home section of the site as I work my way through decorating my new space.  You can be guaranteed that it will all be budget friendly, because let’s be honest… separation isn’t cheap.

So, back to my goals and where I am…

1) Maintain – I’ve mostly maintained my weight.  I’ve added a few pounds, but only a few and I am working on getting those back off now.

2) Eat – This has been harder for me in the 3rd quarter than it has all year.  Zone Perfect bars have made it more convenient to eat on the go, especially for breakfast, but I’m still a little scattered and sometimes forget to even grab them before I run out.

3) Endurance – Yeah, so we’re just going to skip this one…  With the upheaval in my life, running has taken a back seat.  Once we get in a groove with our new routine, I hope to get back on track with this.

4) Me – Clearly, I’ve worked on me.  I’ve spent a lot of time looking at not only what I need, but what’s best for all of us.  I will have some much needed me time in the coming weeks, though not the way I would’ve imagined it back in January.

For those worried about my kids, believe it or not, they are taking this better than the adults are.  As long as they get to see both of us, don’t have to change schools and still get to see their friends, they are fine with whatever we do.  They just want us to be happy too.  Plus, they think it’s pretty cool to live in two places.  We’re all surviving

Giveaway – ZonePerfect wants to help you survive those last few hectic months of the year with a Well Being Essentials Kit (pedometer, tumbler, lip balm, hair ties, hand sanitizer and box of ZonePerfect bars).  To enter, just click below.  No need to comment or any of that, just a click.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Posted in Current Giveaways, Giveaways, Life in General | 1 Comment

8 Free COFFEE Printables

I make no bones about it, I’m a coffee-oholic.  I’m decorating a new apartment, and of course there will be a coffee bar.  What’s a coffee bar without some cute signage?  I whipped up a few coffee printables and decided to share them with you.

8 Free Coffee PrintablesThere are two different sets of coffee printables.  They could be used as a group, mixed together or just a single printable on it’s own.  To download, just click the link to the printable you’d like, right click on the image that opens up and “save as”.  The coffee printables are sized for 8 x 10 frames.  I suggest printing on card stock or photo paper for the best results.

Free Coffee Printables Collage 1A yawn is a silent scream for coffee {in brown}

But first… coffee {in brown}

There is always time for coffee {in brown}

Coffee <br> {in brown}

Free Coffee Printables Collage 2A yawn is a silent scream for coffee {in pink}

But first… coffee {in pink}

There is always time for coffee {in pink}

Coffee <br> {in pink}

For the non-geeky readers out there, the <br> is code-speak for “break”.  You can amaze your friends with your knowledge of techie humor with the coffee <br> printable, but the others are pretty fun too.

And because all good coffee comes with conversation, let’s chat.  How do you take your coffee?  I take mine black sometimes and with creamer others, but never with sugar.

Posted in Crafts, For the Home, Life in General | 10 Comments