Am I a Funny Girl?

The right product for the right use

This post is brought to you in partnership with Acorn Influence; compensation was received, all opinions are my own. It’s time for some frank talk, ladies. You’re excused, Dad.

There’s something I do that drives Jamie absolutely bonkers. Let’s see if you can guess what it is.

Three clues:

collage

What do these three things have in common that drive my husband insane? In case you can’t tell, it’s a chair, shoes, and a butter knife.

Or, if you’re a certain part of my brain, it’s a stepstool, a hammer, and a screwdriver.

You know you do it, too. Hanging a one-off picture? A heel works just as well as a hammer, and you don’t have to go all the way out into the cold garage to get it. The butter knife screwdriver is a personal favorite of mine; it’s perfect for tightening my camera’s tripod.

Why are we so opposed to using the wrong tool for the job, ladies?

Because this resistance to making use of products and things that are available to us? It extends to all parts of our lives. Conditioner that doubles as shaving cream for your legs, your phone acting as an alarm clock/timer/child entertainment device.poise liners

But really we need to draw the line somewhere, and I propose that somewhere is in the bathroom.

Why are you still using sanitary pads for light bladder leakage? Next time you’re at Walmart, pick up Poise Liners, which are *made* for this kind of thing. It doesn’t need to be a big deal, I promise.

Poise Liners are there for you, when you’re dealing with those MomBod issues, and that’s just what they’re made for.

To celebrate #PoiseLinerLove, I’ve got this awesome giveaway, worth over $300! There’s a $200 Walmart gift card AND $100 worth of products in a Poise gift basket… I would love for one of my readers to win, so you should totally enter!

#PoiseLinerLove Sweepstakes

Banana! Banana! Cookies inspired by the Minions movie

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #MinionsMovieNight #CollectiveBias

Banana Banana Cookies inspired by the Minions movie

I think that Max is convinced that he single-handedly has made the minions popular. Why do I think this? Because they’re yellow, of course. Yellow has been Max’s favorite color for as long as he’s *had* a favorite color, so he believes that his talking about them in all their yellowness has made them a huge hit. (I’m not going to be the one to tell him otherwise!)

So needless to say, he was super excited to see the Illumination Entertainment’s Minions movie when it was in theaters, and even more excited to get our very own copy at Target, especially when it comes in such a cool Metalpak box AND includes 40 minutes of exclusive bonus content.

Metalpak box with cookies and toys #MinionsMovieNight AD

It seems like I’m at Target practically every day this time of year anyway, so it was easy to pick up Minions © 2015 Universal Studios. All rights reserved. Target is my one-stop shop for all things movie night; while I was there getting the Target exclusive Blu-Ray/DVD combo pack, I also picked up everything I needed to make these awesome Banana! Banana! Cookies – we all know how much those minions love banana, right??

Banana! Banana! Cookies
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 3 dozen
 
Ingredients
  • 2½ c. AP Flour
  • 1 T. Baking Powder
  • ¼ t. Salt
  • ¾ c. Melted Butter
  • 1⅓ c. Sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 T. Molasses
  • 2 Bananas (the riper the better!)
  • 1 t. Vanilla Extract
  • ½ t. Banana Extract
  • ⅓ c. Market Pantry Banana Chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  3. Chop banana chips into smaller pieces, set aside
  4. Mash bananas in bowl using a metal whisk.
  5. Mix flour, baking powder, and salt in bowl.
  6. In mixer bowl, combine butter, egg, sugar, and molasses.
  7. Add in bananas, vanilla and banana extract.
  8. Mix in flour mixture a bit at a time until combined, then add chopped banana chips.
  9. Drop 1" balls onto cookie sheets, leaving room for them to spread.
  10. Flatten the balls a bit with your fingers or the back of a spoon.
  11. Bake at 350 for 10-14 minutes, until edges are golden brown and center is firm.
  12. Move to cooling rack.

Once the cookies are baked, you can eat them straight out of the oven, or you can top them with this delicious banana glaze! I did the two colors for the minions, but you could leave it plain, which would be a VERY pale yellow from the banana extract.

Finished cookies on sheet #MinionsMovieNight AD

Banana Cookie Glaze
Author: 
 
Make one batch per color needed.
Ingredients
  • 1 c. Powdered Sugar
  • 2 t. Milk
  • 2 t. Corn Syrup
  • ¼ t. Banana Extract
  • Food Coloring of Choice
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in mixer.
  2. Mix until combined, add milk if needed to thin.
  3. Use a frosting bag with a fine tip to create thin lines of glaze.
  4. (When layering colors, allow 7-10 minutes between colors for glaze to set.)
  5. Allow finished glaze to set for about an hour before stacking.
  6. Transfer to airtight container for storage.

Now you’re all set to settle in for a family movie night with Minions and Banana! Banana! Cookies.

Looking for more ideas for a your movie night?

Check out more ideas here!
In-Store Minions

Star Wars™ Jedi Training Breakfast Party

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #AwakenYourTastebuds #CollectiveBias

Star Wars Breakfast Party Table #AwakenYourTastebuds AD

Have you heard? There’s a movie coming out this week, maybe it sounds familiar. Star Wars™: the Force Awakens, opens this week! Geeks the world over are celebrating and anticipating, and our family is no exception. Max says that he feels like he’s been waiting “his entire life” for this movie to come out, so we’ve been doing lots of fun little things to help with our countdown.

Today, I’ve got a fun party idea for a Star Wars™ themed “Jedi Training Breakfast” party, featuring an awesome Cinnamon Toast Crunch®-crusted french toast. (Say that five times fast!)

This would be a great way to kick off the day you’re going to see the movie, especially if you’re going opening weekend. You’ll need a good breakfast to power through the crowds!

We just can’t resist the lure of a good Star Wars™ themed food product, so these cereals from General Mills are definite must-haves for us.

Star Wars Cereals #AwakenYourTastebuds AD

I was able to to pick them up at Walmart, along with nearly everything else I needed for our party plan. As an awesome bonus, I love that these specially-marked cereals include an actual toy inside! I noticed years ago that cereals don’t seem to come with real toys any more, mostly stickers and things. But these come with really cool little image viewers, in a variety of shapes and with different scenes. Needless to say, Max is obsessed.

Star Wars Cereal Toys #AwakenYourTastebuds AD

We used these great cereals as the inspiration for our Jedi Training Breakfast party, starting with Aunt Beru’s special cereal-crusted french toast, for which the recipe is included below.

Decorations

I kept it simple, with star-print tablecloths and the “Good Morning Young Padawans” wording backdrop. I cut the letters out with my Silhouette, and used double-stick tape to put them on the wall. If you have a Silhouette, I’ve got the cut file available as an SVG file. Go here to download it.

Good Morning backdrop #AwakenYourTastebuds AD

I also made themed signage for the food and activities, and you can download all a PDF for all of those pieces right here.

Activities

For the training part of the party, we have a couple of activities. First up, every Jedi needs a lightsaber, so we created a “Design Your Own Lightsaber” station. To put this together, you’ll need a variety of decorative tapes (we have duct, electrical, and washi) and half a pool noodle per person.

Just wrap the tape around one end to make a handle, and you’re set! Custom lightsabers for everyone!

Pool Noodle Lightsaber Project #AwakenYourTastebuds AD

There are also skills a Padawan must work on, such as agility and memory. We printed this Star Wars™ Memory game and coloring pages, and printed them out to make fun activities for all ages.

Star Wars Memory game #AwakenYourTastebuds AD

Star Wars Coloring Page #AwakenYourTastebuds AD

Party Food

Star Wars Breakfast Party #AwakenYourTastebuds AD

Themed food is one of my favorite parts about party planning; it’s such a simple way to bring your theme into the celebration, and this time is no exception. We’ve simply renamed things here, and created labels for some things as well. You can download the Jedi Juice and Wookie/e Rations labels as part of the PDF package.

Patty breakfast sausage become “Bantha Burgers”

Bantha Burgers #AwakenYourTastebuds AD

and grapes on a bamboo skewer become “Grape Sabers”

Grape Sabers #AwakenYourTastebuds AD

Bear-shaped grahams are Ewok Cookies, and cinnamon rolls are Leia Buns.

Leia Cinnamon Rolls #AwakenYourTastebuds

My personal favorite, little boxes of grapes are now Wookie Rations. The box label, which is included in the PDF download, includes both spellings (with one or two e’s) for purists. :) The download also includes the Jedi Juice labels, which I just taped onto single-serve bottles of apple juice.

Wookiee Rations Star Wars Party Food #AwakenYourTastebuds ADJedi Juice Star Wars Party Food #AwakenYourTastebuds AD

The Energy Tubes are GoGurts® in a few different flavors; Max always loves his GoGurt, but when the packaging looks like a lightsaber? He’s ready to have one with every meal and one for every snack time.

GoGurt Energy Tubes #AwakenYourTastebuds AD

And last, but certainly not least, we have Aunt Beru’s special Cinnamon Toast Crunch-crusted french toast. (Scroll down for the recipe.)

Crusted French Toast #AwakenYourTastebuds ADCinnamon Toast Crunch Cereal Crusted French Toast #AwakenYourTastebuds AD

Cereal-Crusted French Toast
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6 pieces
 
Ingredients
  • 6 slices "Texas Toast" style bread
  • 5 eggs
  • ½ c. milk
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 2 c. Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal
Instructions
  1. Measure 2 cups of Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal
  2. Put cereal into zip-top bag, crush into fine crumbs, transfer to shallow dish
  3. Mix together 5 eggs, milk and vanilla, pour into separate shallow dish.
  4. Heat griddle to medium-high heat.
  5. Dip bread into egg mixture, then press into bread crumbs, then back in egg mixture then place on griddle.
  6. Cook on each side for approximately 2-3 minutes, flipping as needed.
  7. You may find it necessary to press down on the bread with your spatula to help get even browning on the cooking side.
  8. When golden-brown, serve hot with butter and maple syrup, garnish with additional cereal.

Looking for more Star Wars™-inspired ideas? Check out AwakenYourTastebuds.com for inspiration!

How are you celebrating the release of the new Star Wars™ movie?

Pin this party!

Instore #AwakenYourTastebuds AD

Thursday #400

IMG_4605

We’ve done a pretty good job of doing whole photo shoots for round numbers, like Thursday #300 and Thursday #100, but Thursday #400 didn’t get that special treatment, because it happened to fall on our 9th wedding anniversary and we had reservations at Fogo de Chao to get to!

Max was determined to get our money’s worth and I think he succeeded.

Our Family’s “Economic Recovery” with help from Capital One

It’s officially referred to now as “The Great Recession,” and for our family, like so many others, we were hit hard from about 2008-2011. Between work cutbacks and health drama for me, our financial situation was not anything you’d call stable.

In our efforts to make it through, we found that our credit ended up taking quite a hit (a number of them, actually) and we have spent the last few years getting our financial life back in order and under control. Both our day-to-day spending and saving, as well as looking at how to accomplish our long-term financial goals.

Two things that have been hugely helpful for us are Capital One products, the Capital One Venture Card and their 360 Savings accounts.

Capital One Venture Card

My Capital One card was the first tradtional credit card I got, that wasn’t a store charge; I’ve had it since 2004. The online financial tools make it easy to keep an eye on our spending by category, and the fact that the card is cute, because it has one of my favorite family photos on it, doesn’t hurt at all!

capital one card

Recently, Capital One started offering a Credit Tracker service, which allows you to keep an eye on your credit score, using their own software to estimate your credit score and let you know what kind of activity is being reported.

capital one credit tracker

360 Savings from Capital One

When it comes to our online savings accounts, I have kind of a confession to make. We have two Capital One savings, and this is what we call them:

savings account names

Yes, they’re called “At home dinners” and “Top Secret Savings.” The Top Secret account was actually our wedding savings account, first opened all those years ago. (Coincidentally, it’s our 9th anniversary today! <3) I changed the name about a year and a half ago, when I started stashing money so I could surprise Jamie with our Alaska cruise for his birthday this past August. I could probably change it again, but we haven’t set a new goal for it yet.

The “At Home Dinners” account is pretty self-explanatory, I think. In an effort to cook more at home, we set this one up to reward ourselves for not going out to eat. Every time we cook at home instead of go out, I transfer $25 from our checking account. We’re trying to outsmart ourselves. But as I watch the balances grow, I think it isn’t such a terrible system, and it works well for us.

Because there are no fees or minimums with 360 Savings, you can easily create as many accounts as you need to help you reach your goals. It only takes a few minutes to set up a new account and you’re on your way! You can also set up automatic savings so it transfers money from your checking account into your 360 Savings; we add some money every week, so it grows over time.

Capital One has an amazing mobile app that lets you stay on top of your finances no matter where you are; make payments, check your credit report, transfer money… everything is possible with the app.

I’m so thankful for the suite of tools that Capital One offers; it’s really helped us as we’ve embarked on this financial journey.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Holiday Shopping Expertise at Best Buy in Dublin

This post is sponsored by Best Buy.

I love shopping, I really do. I love giving gifts to those I love, and seeing the delight and joy on their faces when I find just the right thing. As as much as I love shopping though, there are some things that are challenging for me, when I have to try and gift from a category that I don’t know a lot about.

If someone wants a LEGO set, or shoes, or even music, I’m good. I can look and find the perfect thing and end up with a gift I’m happy to give. Other categories aren’t so much my forte; car parts, power tools, and stereo equipment.

Jamie is kind of an A/V geek, so it always makes me nervous to try and gift him anything in that category. He knows all the things about receivers and televisions, the latest tech, the must-have gadgets. So it can be really intimidating to walk into a big box store and try to find the perfect thing for him.

Magnolia Sign

Fortunately for me, there’s a Magnolia Design Center at Best Buy in Dublin. I can go in there and find smart people who can help me make the best decision for what to get for my guy.

Whether it’s a whole new surround sound system, or just some killer new headphones, the staff at Magnolia is there to help.

Cool Headphones

They even have demo rooms where a Magnolia staffer can configure your dream system for you, allowing you to get the full effect of all the components, so that you can be sure you’re getting a really great system that sounds just how you want it.

Demo Computer

Cool Speakers

Along with the Magnolia Design Center, the Dublin Best Buy is also home to Pacific Sales, where you can talk to experts in all things kitchen appliance, and they carry a variety of high-end brands, like Viking and Jenn-Air.

Pacific Sales

Sample Kitchen

Like I said above, it can be really overwhelming and intimidating to walk into one of these giant stores, especially if you aren’t totally fluent in the products you’re shopping for. Let the experts at Best Buy help you find the perfect gift this holiday!

Washi Tape Christmas Tree Decoration

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #CraftAmazing #CollectiveBias

Washi Tape Tree Decoration #CraftAmazing AD

We have boxes and boxes of Christmas decorations, but I always like to do a couple of new projects to freshen up our decor every year. This year, I’ve jumped onto the washi tape bandwagon and made this super cute tree that takes advantage of Scotch® Expressions Tapes to make it extra-special.

I’ve done variations on this tree before, but thought the washi would be a fun update compared to past years. Because you’re working with tape, it removes a step to create your custom embellishments, and the whole project comes together so easily.

Not as pretty but just as important, the Scotch® Create line provides all the basic tools and adhesives that you need to bring your project together. I always keep double-stick tape on hand, for those projects that needs things to “magically” stick together.

Washi Tape Christmas Tree Decor

Supplies

  • Styrofoam cone form – I used a 9″ one here
  • A variety of green cardstocks, 4-6 sheets
  • Scotch® Expressions Tapes
    Washi and Glitter tape #CraftAmazing AD
  • Scotch® Create double-sided tape
  • Rhinestones for ornaments
  • 1″ flat-head straight pins
  • 2″ flat-head straight pins
  • Paper trimmer
  • Scissors

Instructions

  • First things first, I put a loop of Scotch® Expressions Glitter Tape around the base of the styrofoam to help cover it for the bottom row. I used a few pins to help hold it in place, since it’s hard to get tape to stick to styrofoam on its own. Set it aside.
    Tape around bottom #CraftAmazing AD
  • Use the Scotch® Expressions Tapes to create a design on your cardstock. You can mix and match the tapes, and the amounts, just be sure to cover all over the page.
    Tape on cardstock #CraftAmazing AD
  • Cut the paper into strips; I used 1/2″ wide x 5″ strips for my tree, but you can tweak the dimensions depending on your styrofoam size. (I also cut FAR more pieces than I needed. I recommend cutting them ahead of time though, so you can randomize between the different colors and don’t end up with patches that all look really similar)
    Cut strips #CraftAmazing AD
  • Once all of the strips are cut, you’re going to start applying them to the form. Loop the two ends of a strip together, being careful not to crush the looped part, then use a 1″ pin to hold it to the form, making sure that the bottom of the loop rests on the surface you’re working on, for a complete tree look.
    First few loops #CraftAmazing AD
  • Continue all the way around the base of the cone, overlapping the tops just a bit, and using a second pin if needed to help hold the loops in place. (I found that the ones with heavier tape coverage needed the extra hold)
    Bottom row overhead #CraftAmazing AD
  • For the next row up, try to stagger the starting loop so it overlaps the seam of the row below it. You can adjust the space between rows to your liking.
    Bottom 2 rows #CraftAmazing AD
  • Continue all the way around and up. I find that it’s easier to switch to longer pins for the topmost rows; I didn’t use flat head pins, so the photos are easier to see, but you might want to use the flat ones.
    Long pins at top #CraftAmazing AD
  • The final row at the top should be level with the top of the cone. To finish it off, make a loop to cover the pins. Scotch® Create double-sided tape is perfect to close the loop and hold is tight.
    Double-stick tape topper #CraftAmazing AD
  • Use a pin or two to help hold the loop in place at the top.
  • For the topper itself, you’ll need three of your leftover strips from the tree. Stack them together, and put a pin through one end, with the head of the pin on the backside of the strips.
    Topper 1 #CraftAmazing AD
  • Carefully loop the inside strip and put the end on the pin. (Use the strip that’s closest to the pinhead first)
    Topper 2 #CraftAmazing AD
  • Repeat for all three strips, then arrange the loops to make a ball. Stick the pin into the top of the cone.
    Topper 3 #CraftAmazing AD
  • Add rhinestone embellishments randomly on the tree as a finishing touch.
    Washi Tape Tree Rhinestone #CraftAmazing AD
  • And you’re done! These also work really well as a little “forest,” if you pick up a few different sizes of cones to use as your base.

Washi Tape Tree Done #CraftAmazing AD

I love how versatile the Scotch® Expressions Tapes are, so you can easily customize your tree to match your existing decor. Your local Walmart carries a wide variety of prints, colors, and glitters, so you can make the perfect tree for your home.

Want to see more great uses for Scotch® Expressions Tapes? You can find lots of ideas here!

Have you caught the washi tape bug yet? What’s your favorite style?

Whole Washi Tape tree #CraftAmazing AD