Sunday, November 29, 2015

Reindeer Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting | $10 Giveaway


We are getting ready for the holidays over here with our little reindeer creations. There has always been something about this time of year that makes me want to bake (and bake and bake). It's better than ever this year because I have the cutest little helper in the kitchen! My daughter might actually like baking more than I do (which is saying a lot) so she keeps me motivated to try new things. I made some reindeer cookies last year, but when I saw the cinnamon cream cheese frosting recipe on Pinterest I knew I needed to try it. Klair wasn't sad about the idea. We had a lot of fun making our Rudolph's and licking the frosting from the bowl (because yes, it's that good).


  • 1 Box of Betty Crocker Cake Mix (We picked yellow, but chocolate would also work well)
  • 1 Package of vanilla pudding mix
  • Butter milk
  • Candy
  • Chocolate covered pretzels 
Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting (adapted from Creme de la Crumb)
  • 4 cups powdered sugar 
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened 
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla 
  • 2-4 tablespoons heavy cream 

Follow the instructions on the Betty Crocker box. Add the package of vanilla pudding mix and replace half of the water with buttermilk (this creates extremely soft and amazing cupcakes). 

When the cupcakes are cooled prepare the frosting. Beat the cream cheese until it's fluffy (about 2 minutes). Add the vanilla, cinnamon, and 2 tablespoons of heavy cream and mix until smooth. Gradually mix in the powdered sugar. Add 1 to 2 more tablespoons of heavy cream as needed to thin the frosting to a desired consistency. (Note: If you are wanting to pipe the frosting on you'll need a thicker consistency so use less heavy cream. Depending on how thick you want the frosting you may have to double the recipe as well). Spread (or pipe) the frosting on the cooled cupcakes and store cupcakes and any leftover frosting in an airtight container.  

Next comes the fun part. I had my daughter and her cousins help me put the chocolate dipped pretzels and candies on the cupcakes to create our Rudolphs. They loved helping me decorate the reindeer while eating the candies. It's a fun Christmas tradition I definitely want to continue! And now I want to find more recipes to use this frosting on... 

cream cheese frosting


And don't forget I've partnered with WinCoBetty Crocker, and Chex and I'm giving one lucky follower an opportunity to win $10 in Paypal cash. This giveaway will go for one week and the winner will be notified via email. Good luck!

Click Here for Easy Entry $10 Giveaway! 

Click here for Betty Crocker and Chex coupons!

This post is sponsored by WinCo & Betty Crocker but the content and opinions expressed are entirely my own.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Easy Holiday Desert | Pumpkin Harvest Chex Mix Recipe | $10 Giveaway

Looking for a last minute sweet treat for your holiday entertaining that is sure to WOW your loved ones? This pumpkin harvest Chex mix (complete with pumpkin seeds, dried cranberries, and pecans) is the perfect pre-dinner snack to get the party started tomorrow night! I don't know about you, but I absolutely love snacking before the main event. In fact... I think I might even like it more than the dinner itself. With plenty of savory options already covered at my family get together, I was tasked with finding a sweet treat to please. I found this recipe and I knew it would be perfect.

All it took was one quick trip to WinCo and I had all I needed! My love for that store is no secret to anyone who knows me. They have the best prices and their bulk foods section rivals that of any so-called "health food or natural store" (think Whole Foods) but at a fraction of the cost! They're even cheaper than Costco. I'm not sure how they do it, but I'm certainly not complaining. Click this link for Winco Chex & Betty Crocker Coupons and a chance to win a $100 gift card!

I made this last night in the slow cooker and it has already been a huge hit with my family. I might actually have to make it again because we have already eaten almost the entire batch. We just can't keep out of it. It's a good "problem" to have.

Recipe adapted from Betty Crocker.

Slow Cooker Pumpkin Harvest Chex Mix

What You Need:

2 cups Cinnamon Chex
2 cups Corn Chex
3 cups Vanilla Chex
1 cup Pecans (chopped or whole)
2 cups mini graham crackers (I couldn't find minis so I broke regular sized ones into small pieces)
1 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
3/4 cup butter, melted
1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
1 1/4 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla


1. In your slow cooker stir together the cereals, pecans, graham crackers, dried cranberries and pumpkin seeds.

2. In a small bowl mix together melted butter, brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice and vanilla. Stir until well combined. Pour over the cereal mixture; stir (gently so you don't break the cereal pieces) until evenly coated.

3. Cook uncovered on high heat setting for 2 hours, stirring every 15 to 20 minutes

4. Spread cereal mixture on ungreased cookie sheet or waxed paper. Cool 3 to 5 minutes before serving. 

chex pic


And lastly I've partnered with WinCo, Betty Crocker, and Chex and I'm giving one lucky follower an opportunity to win $10 in Paypal cash. This giveaway will go for one week and the winner will be notified via email. Good luck! And Happy Thanksgiving!

This post is sponsored by Chex & Betty Crocker but the content and opinions expressed are entirely my own.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Baby Girl's Room Details | USA Rugs Review

9 5 7 10
Klair's room has always been a little sanctuary for me. When we found out we were having a girl, I knew immediately that I wanted neutral walls and furniture with a variety of bright colors in the decor. I didn't want anything too busy or overbearing. I feel like the result was pretty and fun, yet altogether soothing--as a nursery should be.

Okay and technically this is Klair's room at our old house. We've lived in our new home for seveal months now and we're still working on the decorating part. Well... a lot of the house is waiting to be decorated for that matter. My husband is the designated hanger of pictures and all things wall related, so it's his fault. Ha! Just kidding honey! I love you. But seriously, we moved in, got the place liveable, hung a few pictures and... that brings us to today. Why does it seem so hard to do? The kids rooms in particular translate so easily. Sure the configurations are a little different, but ultimately it's a matter of just redoing what we had in the last place. I think a large part of it for us is that we are desperately trying to soak up these last of this amazing weather we've been having this fall. There is so much to do outdoors where we live now, and we have been living outside and returning to our beds exhausted but happy every evening. So, at least it's a good excuse. Although seeing these photos of how her room looked before is pretty inspiring. Maybe we'll have to get around to finishing decorating the new one soon.


Rug: Rugs USA provided this beautiful Grace Soft Shag Rug for me to review (although they sent me the rug, all opinions expressed are entirely my own). When I was looking through the rugs on their site to choose from I knew I wanted something plush because the floor has always been a center piece of Klair's room. We love to rough house, play pretend, and even lay around reading books on the floor--all of which are aided by a soft carpet. Thus, I picked this one out from their site and it didn't disappoint. Can I just say that I have never felt a softer rug? It is beyond plush and luxurious! Everyone who sees it comments on how great it is. If you've never been to USA Rugs website do yourself a favor and check it out. They have thousands of types and designs to choose from. They feature high end rugs at fantastic prices--they are constantly running amazing deals.

White Furniture: Wayfair (beware: you can get great deals on sites like this, but you will have to assemble it yourself... fair warning)

Pillows: Good old Target :)

Prints in Frames: Ok so this is a ridiculously easy little DIY. I saw an idea on Pinterest to frame pieces of fabric. I thought it was brilliant--until I tried it. Have any of you ever tried to frame fabric? It's really hard to get it straight and just right. And then I had a brilliant idea! (I'm sure I'm not the first to think of this, but I thought of it on my own so I'm pretty proud of it...) Instead of fabric, I realized I could frame scrapbook paper! It's much easier to pop into a frame and requires no smoothing out. I headed over to a cute little scrapbooking store and picked out a bunch of my favorite prints and--voila! I had the look I wanted without all the hassle of fabric. Oh and I bought the frames at Ikea. If you aren't looking for anything too fancy they have the best and most reasonably priced frames!

Large print over Klair's Bed: This one took a little more effort. Sam and I bought the design I liked on iStock, and then we sent it to Kinko's to be printed off in the exact dimensions of the frame that I bought (at Ikea). Then (because I'm paranoid about hanging something over her crib/bed--especially in an earthquake prone area) Sam used industrial strength velcro to stick it to the wall so that it wouldn't come down on baby girl. It's pretty amazing stuff. Sam used to use it at trade shows to hang big screen TVs and attach them to his booth. Using it made me feel better about putting something above her bed--a lot more confident than I would have been if we had just hung the large picture on a nail.

Curtains: Ikea (we like that place, can you tell? Any excuse to go in there for one of those cinnamon rolls!)

Quilt: I'm pretty proud of this one--are you ready? I made it! Yep, that's right. Me! It was my first quilting project... in fact it was one of my first ever sewing projects on a machine. It only took me over a year and a half to finish it, but I did it. And I'm pretty proud of the result. I told Klair that I put all of my love and hugs and kisses into it and she happily snuggles it every night.

The "K" on her armoire: I found the wooden block "K" at a local shop. Then I simply traced it onto some scrap book paper that I liked, cut it out, and glued it onto the "K." (Once again I found a DIY that used fabric but paper is just sooo much easier to work with in my opinion.)

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Baby Product Review #4 | Soothe Shirt

7 21 8 For my 4th installment of my baby product review series I have a fantastic piece of clothing that elicits a "That makes so much sense!" and "Why hasn't anyone thought of this before?" reaction out of anyone who sees it. It's simple, but brilliant. Most importantly it's ridiculously convenient.

The product is called the Soothe Shirt. It is made by Lalabu and it produces what it's name promises--it really does sooth (or soothe for the Canadian/English lot) your baby and makes life so easy with a newborn. This cute tank allows you to easily slide your baby into a discreet pouch for increased closeness and carrying ease.

The concept is simple--even natural. It mimics the womb, and allows you to effortlessly keep your baby close and happy. Unlike carriers however you don't have to tote anything extra around.  Simply get dressed, grab your baby, and go.

This product is ideal for the newborn stage. Obviously I'm a bit late in posting these pictures (thanks moving and life craziness) but Grayson absolutely loved it and it served us well for his first few months of life. Looking at these pictures of him is making me all nostalgic and kind of sad, but I take comfort knowing that I was able to savor every precious newborn moment possible by keeping him close with products like this.

If you're interested in the Soothe Shirt for yourself or a mama in your life here's the info you need. Click away! :)

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Back to Blogging

Oh, hello there blog. Remember me? Yeah, it's been too long. I realize I haven't written in awhile... in fact, this recent break has been the longest separation we've gone through since I decided to embark on this crazy adventure with you. It wasn't you, it was me. Honestly. I didn't even intend for it to happen... things just got pretty crazy around here and time slipped away in the sneaky manner that summers (and the beginning of fall) seem to produce.

It also didn't help that we moved... with a newborn in tow. That was pretty crazy. Certainly a good move--we're extremely happy in our new home! But crazy all the same. Particularly because it was so unexpected.

On a whim we decided to list our house. Well, I guess that's not a very accurate description. It was actually more of a hard to ignore prompting that my husband had. He told me awhile back he felt like we would be moving in the not-so-distant future. Pregnant at the time, I think I probably laughed at him. We were happy in our house--we had just finished decorating baby boy's nursery and, you know, we were about to have a baby!

We didn't talk much more about it until summer rolled around. Sam brought up it up with me again--he told me of his undeniable feeling that we needed to look into moving. He gave me a list of reasons why we should and I gave him my list of reasons as to why we shouldn't (the main one being the sleeping newborn in the other room). He pulled up some adorable new homes online and asked me to at least entertain the idea. A sucker for new homes and white kitchens, I couldn't resist at least looking with him. We started looking around and even toured a few homes. Moving started to look like a real possibility. Sam contacted our realtor just to get a feel for what we could sell our house for. Our realtor gave us a number, and we decided to pray about it.

We both felt so ridiculously torn. It seemed like our pros and cons list was equally weighted, and we just couldn't figure out how we felt about it. We prayed some more, even fasted--and came to the conclusion that the confusion we felt wasn't a good sign. We decided together to put the idea on ice for awhile.

The next day I made plans to meet up with my in-laws for a play date at a park just down the road from one of the houses we had really been considering. When I drove into the neighborhood I had the strongest impression that it was where we needed to be. It just made sense! I called Sam at work and told him how I felt, that he needed to talk some sense into me, and that I must be crazy because we had come to such a peaceful decision about it the day before.

Instead of talking me down, he told me he was having second thoughts about our decision as well. He had been on the phone with our realtor earlier. After Sam told him that we didn't want to move forward with listing our house, our realtor called back and told Sam he thought we could list it for a significantly higher price than his initial estimate. After doing some research on comps and seeing how quickly things were selling in our neighborhood he encouraged us to at least try listing it. He promised he would work really hard to get it sold for the higher price.

The timing of this conversation coincided with my sudden change of heart--and looking back I'm convinced we were guided all along. We got our offer after just one day of having it on the market, and for a much higher price than our realtor had initially told us to list it at. If we had moved forward sooner we wouldn't have gotten nearly as much equity. I'm so glad that we felt inspired to hesitate. All that confusion with our prayers--the "no" followed by a sudden "yes"--makes sense now.

Sooo our house sold in a day, and we moved into our new house just three and a half weeks later. Talk about a whirlwind.

It was crazy, crazy I tell you! If I ever move again it will be too soon.

But, on a much more positive note, we are absolutely in love with our new home! I am incredibly grateful for a husband who receives and listens to promptings. God definitely led us to this new destination. And, for the first time in our marriage, I finally feel at home in our house--the kind of place I know that we can stay in. This house is significantly bigger than our last, so we have plenty of room to grow. The neighborhood is extremely family-friendly with amenities all around, and we are surrounded by some of the nicest people I've ever come in contact with. Plus there are little kids everywhere... a feature our last house didn't have. We both feel certain that we can happily raise our kids in this home and live here for the rest of our lives.

I do apologize for my absence though. I've missed blogging. After moving into our new place we went through a period without internet, and my fast from all things social media was hard... but also refreshing. While I'm obviously excited to have internet access again, I have to admit that I also enjoyed being unplugged. I think my kids and my husband benefited as well. We've had internet again for a little while now, but it was really hard for me to jump back in to the blogging/social media game. Now I feel like my priorities are realigned, I've gained new perspective, and I've had some time to really reflect on this whole blogging thing and decide where I want to go with it.

First, I really just miss writing. I love to write out my thoughts about, well, whatever I want--mom life, religion, the pursuit of happiness-- anything is fair game.

Second, I've been extremely blessed with this fantastic new kitchen equipped with double ovens (dream come true) and I feel all sorts of inspired to cook and post more recipes!

I've also been focusing a lot on fitness lately, and I'm excited to share what I've learned in my journey to become strong and healthy again postpartum.

And of course I'm still really interested in fashion. I've never considered myself a guru, but as a Mormon SAHM I have a definite interest in modest, mom-friendly fashion and I love sharing my find with other like-minded individuals.

...And then there's the hard decision. This blog started as more of a journal for me, and I've wanted to maintain that "lifestyle" aspect of it even as it evolved into more. I love having a place where I can keep a collection of memories, pictures, and reflections on my life while pursuing some of my other interests as well. Unfortunately I'm feeling an ever-increasing sense of paranoia about the creeps and weirdos that exist in the world--particularly the internet. I've always tried to be careful about the information I post on here--I don't mention my last name, the city I live in, or tell people where I'll be. But I don't think this is enough anymore. Even though I love the idea of sharing cute photos of my family in this community of moms that I'm a part of, there is the potential of exposing my kids to very real threats that lurk on the internet.

After months of going back and forth, trying to figure out how to proceed--I've decided to really scale back the photos and information that I share. I recently read this article by fellow blogger Hailey Devine. In it she tells of her own scary experiences sharing her information on social media. It really struck a chord with me, and I simply can't continue blogging without making some changes.

Thanks to everyone who has followed me over the past couple of years and for all of your love and support. I love blogging. It has been such a blessing in my life, and I'm glad that I can continue it--even if my focus is forced to shift a little.