Posted 06-14-2017 at 10:00 PM by Jessica
Summer is officially HERE! Well, in terms of school being out it is. The first official day of summer according to the calendar is the June 20th, so we’ve got just a bit longer to go. As soon as the weather gets warm enough I transition from my boots, flats and sneakers to nothing but flip-flops. I’m honestly a very lazy person. So much so that even the thought of taking a few extra seconds to strap on sandals is enough to keep me wholeheartedly addicted to flip-flops.
Even if you aren’t a huge flip-flop wearer like I am, I doubt you’ll be able to resist how cute these flip-flop wreaths I’ve found are! They are the perfect symbol of summer, and you can usually score them for super cheap at Walmart or during a sale at Old Navy! Take a second to look through the following tutorials – then get crafting!
A few of my favorite flip-flop wreaths…
You can make this fun flip-flop “wreath” welcome sign in under 30 minutes! Now that’s my kind of craft! Head here for detailed instructions.
Head here for a tutorial on this style of flip-flop wreath. There are 6 different flip-flop wreath themes that A Day in the Life with TJ has crafted, from Patriotic to Wild Colors!
This last wreath is also super inexpensive to make, and has a cute flower in the middle! Check it out here.
Posted 06-4-2017 at 03:23 PM by Jessica
As much as I love berries, they can also be a big pain. I find that unless they’re all eaten within a few days they go bad and I’m forced to throw them out. It’s particularly sad when I know I spent nearly $5 on a tiny carton of raspberries, and they’re all going to waste! In order to prevent that from happening again, I did a bit of research and have come up with 3 tips that can help make sure that you never have to toss out moldy berries again!
Buy when on sale: It’s rare to find a coupon for berries, but if you do, run to the store and use it! Also, check the weekly ads from your favorite grocery stores to see if anyone is offering up a sale. When the prices have been cut on the berries you like, stock up! Don’t worry, even if you grab 5 packages of blueberries, I promise none of them will go to waste if you follow the other 2 steps…
Vinegar wash: I’ll admit, when I first came across this “vinegar wash” tip for extending the life of berries, I was skeptical. But now that I’ve tried it and have seen raspberries last in my fridge without any mold for nearly two weeks… I’m sold.
Simply mix 1 cup white vinegar with 3 cups water in a large bowl. Place the berries inside the mixture and let soak for at least 2 minutes. Afterwards, rinse off the vinegar and pat dry. The pH of the vinegar is what kills off any mold spores and bacteria – greatly extending the life of your berries.
Freeze: Place the amount of berries you expect to be able to eat in the fridge and then store the rest in an airtight freezer-bag. Berries stay good in the freezer for around a year! I love to add a cup of frozen blueberries to my warm oatmeal for breakfast, or I use the frozen fruit to make smoothies or berry pie!
Alrighty, that’s it! Let me know if you like these tips, and what YOU do to get your money’s worth when it comes to produce.
Posted 05-26-2017 at 07:37 PM by Jessica
Does the long list of ingredients in your dogs’ treats scare you a bit? Do you ever get sick of giving your dogs the same boring dog treats? (Okay, maybe they’re not really that boring, lots of them are actually really cool! I’m just trying to be persuasive here…) Do you want to give your dog an extra-special and good for them treat every once and a while? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then I highly suggest you try your hand at making some homemade dog treats! I promise they’re simple.
Here are two of my dogs’ all-time favorite treat recipes…
Pumpkin Apple Dog Treats
Have you heard about how good pumpkin is for dogs? It’s so great for promoting healthy digestion. These fiber-packed treats will probably become your dogs’ favorites in no time. Want the recipe? Click HERE.
Frozen Strawberry and Banana Smoothie Dog Treats
With each one of these recipes I’m always so tempted to try a bite… I mean, they’re all human-safe ingredients! They just don’t always happen to taste so great to us thanks to the lack of sugar. These Smoothie Treats though… they’re pretty close to yummy. Packed with nutrition from the fresh fruit, these are perfect for helping your pup to cool off on hot Summer days! Find the recipe here.
Let me know how your fur babies liked these! And if you have any favorite recipes, share them in the comments below!
Posted 05-22-2017 at 07:36 PM by Jessica
In the past month in Utah we’ve had our share of both 70 degree sunny days and a couple of snowstorms. Lovely Utah. Because of the roller-coaster ride Mother Nature puts us Utahns through during the Spring, it’s important to know what flowers are hardy enough to endure the cold weather we’re still experiencing in May if you’re interested in getting started on beautifying your yard. Because I’m the kind of person that runs to Home Depot as soon as they start selling flowers, I’ve had to do my research on cold-tolerant flowers that can be planted in the early Spring. Here is a list of a few of my favorites…
Pansies are my favorite early spring flower. These annuals come in so many different colors, and even different sizes, too! With all the variations, you could easily get away with simply planting pansies all over your yard, and still have it look incredible!
Ahh daffodils… If I had unlimited room I’m sure my yard would be overflowing with daffodils. These beauties prefer full sun, and lucky for us, they’re perennials so they will come back each year!
I grew up in a home with a massive lilac bush in our backyard. I remember the sweet fragrance it filled our yard with, and how gorgeous the flowers were! Because of that, I’ve always loved lilacs. Especially since they are okay with the chilly weather as long as they’re planted with full sun exposure.
4) Harmony and Acoma Iris
Like lilac, iris love full sun, and do well when planted in the early spring. These unique flowers would make a beautiful addition to your yard.
5) Grape Hyacinth
These I remember from my grandmothers’ garden. Her front yard was filled with these flowers. I love their unique blooms and deep blue-purple color! If you’ve never planted these, you need to give them a try!
Have you gotten started on planting in your yard? What flowers have you chosen?
Posted 05-20-2017 at 07:30 PM by Jessica
Did you know that strawberries are not actually berries? But pumpkins, bananas and watermelons are? It all has to do with where they fruit is grown on the plant! CRAZY.
Okay, on to the point of this post… I’m a huge salad fan, but not because I like lettuce or spinach all that much. I’m more obsessed with the dressings I lather the vegetables in. I’ve always been so used to buying my salad dressings at the store that it never really occurred to me that I could make my own. Salad dressing just didn’t seem like something that could be made by any average Joe like myself. Boy, was I wrong! Making salad dressing is SO easy. My favorite dressing is Strawberry Balsamic Vinaigrette, and I have the perfect recipe to share with you for making this heavenly stuff. I only put it on spinach for show (so that I don’t look nuts) though I’d be perfectly happy drinking this stuff straight!
Strawberry Balsamic Vinaigrette
Add the following ingredients to a blender:
- 1 cup strawberries
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 3 tsp honey (add more if you’d like it sweeter)
Blend on low for about 30 seconds – until everything is well combined.
Done. Seriously, it’s that easy! I’m sure you have all of the ingredients right now, so go ahead and try it. OR, if you don’t have strawberries, or would rather use a different fruit, go ahead! I’ve only ever made this dressing with strawberries, though I’m sure blending up some raspberries or a different berry would be amazing. Let me know what you end up trying, and how you like it!
Posted 05-17-2017 at 07:29 PM by Jessica
Propogate… Now that’s a word I don’t use frequently enough…
Okay, onto the subject at hand. If you want an inexpensive way to fill your home with air-purifying and beautiful green plants, this is the way to do it! Simply find someone with a spider plant (I’m sure you know someone, they’re very common) or buy one for yourself and wait for it to grow little “spiderettes.” (The “spiderettes” are individual plants with roots, growing off from the main plant). Then take those spider plant “babies” and replant them! I have heard of multiple different ways of doing this, some involving letting the plants soak in water for a day or so, but I’ve never had any issue getting these plants to grow after simply planting them in a separate pot filled with potting soil.
Even though I’m sure the brief explanation is enough for you to manage this on your own, here are a few photos from when I did this last week:
Here is the holy mother of all Spider Plants. When I asked my mom if she minded me stealing a few of the spider “babies” she quickly said I could just take the whole plant. I’m not sure I have enough room anywhere in my house to manage this beast of a plant, so I politely declined her generous offer and stuck with grabbing a few of the “spiderettes.”
See the roots forming at the bottom even as these are literally hanging off of the main plant? As long as you plant them in some moist soil, they’ll grow immediately and become completely self-sufficient.
Viola! I simply added potting soil to my pots of choice, planted 2-3 “spiderettes” in each pot, and watered them! Hows that for an easy project?
Posted 05-15-2017 at 07:28 PM by Jessica
I posted this baby shower “Oh Crap” bag a year ago, and because it’s such a fun idea I decided to post it again for anyone interested in making this! I’ve got two pregnant friends right now, so I’m already gearing up to make another couple of these for their baby showers. So, with that said, keep reading to see how to create your own!
If you’re anything like me, you love giving gifts. Birthdays, Christmas, weddings, just because… and most definitely baby showers. Baby stuff is just so dang cute it’s hard to not want to buy absolutely everything for the new baby. My biggest stress when picking out a gift for the last baby shower I attended was that I would end up getting something that the new parents already had. After scouring aisle after aisle of fun baby stuff I was inspired to create an “Oh Crap” bag. I had heard of something similar before, and decided to try my hand at creating one of these nifty things myself.
The “Oh Crap” bag is a bag meant to be stored in mom or dads car with a few necessities that baby may need when out-and-about. You know, when mom or dad suddenly realize they forgot to bring extra diapers, or baby has a blow-out and there are no spare onesies in sight? This kit perfectly covers nearly every “oh crap” moment that involves the little one, and would be so handy for any parent, whether it’s their first child or they already have a few kiddos.
A bag. (I got mine at Walmart, and it’s technically a travel toiletries bag. I loved the three separate sections, and the size worked great for the items I included.)
3 or 4 diapers, at least two different sizes. (Too big is better than too small. I did two size 1 and two size 2 diapers. The parents will have to change these out periodically.)
Travel size baby wipes.
Travel size antibacterial wipes.
Small package of Diaper Sacks.
Spare outfits. (I did three different sized outfits consisting of a onesie and leggings. These will also need to be changed out as baby grows.)
A small toy.
(I also hooked a couple of safety pins onto the bag, just because safety pins are truly the greatest things ever and you never know when you could use one.)
This is also super fantastic because it’s so easily modified. A bigger bag could hold a spare t-shirt for mom and/or dad, the disposable diapers can be traded out for cloth, a burping cloth could be added along with a spare blanket… The possibilities are endless.
This gift is sure to be the hit of the next baby shower you attend and really mean a lot to the new parents. Taking the time to assemble the items really shows how much you care, and you have so much room to personalize this present! You’ll give the new parents a bit more piece of mind as they head out with baby, knowing that when they inevitably forget something, they’re covered.
Posted 04-26-2017 at 12:16 AM by Jessica
We’ve all been there… It’s the day of someone’s birthday and you totally forgot to grab a gift for them. OR you’ve searched high and low for the perfect gift and you’ve come up empty-handed. You end up grabbing some cash out of your wallet and decide to stuff it in a card and call it good. But you don’t want it to look quite as last minute as it is… Here are a few ways that you can spruce up that cash and make it look like you put a bit more time into it.
Fold it into a fun origami shape: This is my go-to. I simply hand the bill to my husband and ask him to fold it into something creative. He loves origami, so it always ends up looking cute. My favorite is the origami frog design, but even something much simpler will work perfectly. Because of the rectangular shape some designs may be more complicated, but there are lots of tutorials out there to help you.
Skip the card: Well, don’t skip the card entirely. It’s still nice to write out your birthday wishes for that person, but instead of using the card to hold the money, look for something else instead! Perhaps a mason jar can be filled with colorful shredded paper and the bills can be hidden inside? Or maybe use a ribbon to roll up the bills and then tie them together? You can really do anything as long as it’s slightly out-of-the-box it will be so much more fun!
Use all ones: This is sure to make kids go nuts with excitement at seeing so many bills, and will be the perfect amount of annoying for adult recipients. (Just remind them that you could’ve gone with quarters instead!) Roll them all up and put them in a small box, or fan them all out and tape them to a piece of paper. Whatever you choose to do, it will be so much more unique when it’s done with 20 ones instead of 1 twenty.
Money is a favorite gift for lots of people. It gives the recipient a chance to treat themselves, and makes kids feel like they’ve just won a game of Jeopardy. However you choose to gift the money, the birthday person is sure to appreciate it very much!
Posted 04-22-2017 at 12:15 AM by Jessica
Sidewalk chalk is super fun, but want to know what’s even better? Sidewalk chalk paint! I bet you’ve seen the containers of it sold at the store, but did you know it’s actually really easy to make? This is a great activity for you and the kids to do together now that it’s getting warmer and we’re moving into Summer. Simply mix up a batch of this paint and your kids will be entertained for hours!
All you need for each color…
- 1/3 cup cornstarch
- 1/3 cup water (or whatever amounts you want; as long as they are equal parts)
- 1 – 2 tablespoons washable paint (or a couple drops of food coloring works great, too)
- small plastic containers with lids
- lots of fun brushes and sponges!
In each plastic container or bowl mix the cornstarch and water together. Add in the paint or food coloring until you reach the color you want and viola! You have paint perfect for the driveway and sidewalk. When painted on the sidewalk it will start out light, but don’t worry! The colors will darken as the paint dries – your kids will be amazed!
This paint is great because it will wash right off of the driveway as soon as you spray it with the hose (or it rains). Messy but washable is exactly what you want for maximum kid and parent happiness.
Posted 04-18-2017 at 12:12 AM by Jessica
Do you have any family traditions for birthdays that you grew up with and hope to pass on to your kids? Birthday Pancakes are one of my favorite traditions. Each one of us would wake up on our birthday to a stack of pancakes shaped like Mickey Mouse and adorned with candles. Mom, dad and siblings would all join in singing Happy Birthday to the birthday kid, and occasionally a present was opened early. The tradition was such a fun part of growing up, and made birthdays that much more special!
It doesn’t take much to make the birthday kid feel extra special on their big day. Just a stack of pancakes with some sprinkles and candles (and as much syrup as they want – that’s the real kicker) can be all you need to really start the day off right!
We always did standard pancakes, but thanks to the era of Pinterest, I have recently discovered Cake Batter Pancakes. It doesn’t get more “birthday” than that! Though you can find detailed recipes out there, I’ve learned that simply subbing out a bit of your regular pancake mix and replacing that bit with some yellow cake mix is really all there is to it! Add some sprinkles and viola! You’ve got yourself the best darned birthday pancakes anyone could ask for!
Let us know in the comments what some of your favorite birthday traditions are!