Monday, March 31, 2014

Closet Renovations

Got Closets? 5 Closet Conversions for Small Homes

closet convsersion
Space is a premium in small homes and it may seem counter-intuitive to convert a closet to anything but, well… a closet! However, with some careful culling of closet needs, you can clear space for a home office, entry organization station, or even a guest room! First, let’s talk about how to give up one of your precious closets…
Evaluate the Need
Most of us are wishing we had more closet space, not less. But often we don’t realize how much wasted closet space we use. Do you have a front coat closet in your entry that holds just shoes and jackets? Perhaps you have a guest room closet filled with last years holiday decorations. Is there a better use for these closet spaces? What kind of space are you more in need of at your house?
Redistribute the Contents
Now that you have decided to turn that wasted closet space into a mini room in your home, all you have to do is find new, more creative homes for all that stuff. Ideas?
  • Under bed storage
  • Storing shoes and jackets in the owners closet
  • In the rafters in the garage
  • Outside shed
Convert Your Closet!
Now that you have the closet cleaned out, use these steps (and the theme of the room you are creating) to make it happen!
  • Clean the area well, remove any shelving.
  • PAINT!
  • Add lighting. Even if the area is meant to be utilitarian, add a least a few stick up lights for task lighting. You can purchase LED battery powered puck style lighting that attaches anywhere.
  • Add necessary furnishing. This can be shelving, a desk, or a sleeper sofa. Whatever you need to make your room.

Check out these great ideas for converting a closet in your small home!
Turn a hallway closet into a mudroom:
closet conversions

An amazing closet-turned office:
closet conversions

Closet converted into an organized space for crafts, wrapping paper, etc:
closet conversions

Closet converted into a bed and storage:
closet conversions

Converted closet nursery:
closet conversions

Friday, March 28, 2014

Crowd Pleaser Breakfast Casserole with Hash Browns, Ham, Eggs, and Cheese

Breakfast Casserole with Potatoes, Ham, Eggs and Cheese

This fabulous recipe is very hearty and filling.
Love that.
It’s tasty….oh so tasty and delicious.
A most important requirement.
Hope you make it..
Hope you love it….

Breakfast Casserole with Potatoes, Ham, Eggs and Cheese
Time: 10 minutes prep + 90 minutes to bake
Yield: 12 servings
Recipe from the lovely Heather Peterson
24 oz frozen shredded potatoes
salt and pepper
12 eggs
2 C half and half
1 t season salt
1 1/2 C cheddar cheese, grated
1 1/2 C pepper jack cheese, grated
2 C chopped ham (you can substitute cooked sausage)

1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/3 C sour cream
4-6 T milk
salt and pepper

1. Spray a 9×13 pan with cooking spray. Pour the frozen potatoes into the pan. Shake a little salt and pepper over the top.
2. In a large bowl whisk the eggs up. Add the half and half, season salt, cheeses and ham. Stir to mix it all together.
3. Pour it over the top of the potatoes. Cover with foil and let it hang out in the fridge while you finish wrapping gifts…
4. Bake at 350 for 90 minutes. Remove from the oven and let it sit for about 10 minutes before serving. This will help the pieces hold shape.
5. Mix all gravy ingredients in a medium sized sauce pan. Heat over medium heat until smooth and warmed through. Pour over the top of the casserole. 

Friday, March 21, 2014

Frozen Chocolate Zebra Cake

Frozen Chocolate Zebra Cake


Frozen Zebra Stack
Watch Video
What a wild week we had during our "Taste of Disney" series and this eye-catching no-bake dessert salutes the incredible animals we saw at Animal Kingdom Lodge. Our whimsical Frozen Zebra Stack has layer after layer of tasty textures, and is sure to be the talk of your table.
Serves: 12
What You'll Need:
  • (4-serving-size) package instant vanilla pudding and pie filling
  • 1/2 cups milk
  • (12-ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed
  • (14.4-ounce) package chocolate-flavored graham crackers
  • (16-ounce) container ready-to-spread white frosting
  • 1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 teaspoon vegetable shortening

Make Simple Turkey Pot Pie
What To Do:

  1. In a large bowl, whisk vanilla pudding mix and milk 1 to 2 minutes, or until thickened. Stir in whipped topping.
  2. Place a single layer of graham crackers in the bottom of a 9- x 13-inch baking dish. Evenly spread one-third of pudding over graham crackers. Repeat layers of graham crackers and pudding 2 more times, ending with a layer of graham crackers. Cover and freeze 6 hours.
  3. Spread frosting evenly over top.
  4. In a small microwaveable bowl, melt chocolate chips and vegetable shortening 45 to 60 seconds, stirring until smooth. Place mixture in a small resealable bag, and cut off a small piece of the corner. Pipe lines of chocolate from top to bottom about 1 inch apart. Run a butter knife through the lines in the opposite direction, creating a zebra pattern. Serve immediately or cover and freeze until ready to serve.

Why not try all our delicious Disney-inspired recipes!


Thursday, March 20, 2014

101 Kids Easter Basket Ideas

101 Kids Easter Basket Ideas

101 Kids Easter Basket Gift Ideas
I love putting together Easter baskets! My mom always did an incredible job with our Easter baskets when I was kid.  I love being a mommy now and getting to do the same. If you have read this blog for any length of time, you know I am a huge proponent in shopping sales and year-round. That ensures that: a) we don’t spend a ton of extra money in one month on gifts b) I always have a decent stockpile of gifts c) I can get REALLY great bargains. You can find lots of wonderful deals for Easter baskets even if you aren’t a year-round deal shopper like me. I highly recommend checking out The Dollar Store or the dollar section at Target and/or Michaels. These stores offers dozens of little gifts that kids love! I was amazed when I went to The Dollar Store this weekend at all the fun little toys and gadgets they had to offer (particularly in the realm of superheroes – Elias’s current obsession). Another way to find excellent bargains are by shopping on sites like GrouponZulily and Totsy. Each of these sites offer toys, clothes and gifts at significantly discounted prices. I love putting something personalized in my kids’ baskets. This year Elias is getting a superhero t-shirt with his name on it (I can’t remember where I ordered it from!) and Adeline is getting a personalized book from Paper Hat Press (we love their books!). For the photo I also tucked in her Baby Be Blessed doll because I think it would make a perfect Easter basket gift. (The dolls are handmade and include your child’s name and a special scripture verse). I also think it is important to include something faith oriented in your child’s Easter basket since Jesus is why we celebrate Easter. As much as I love the fun of Easter baskets and egg hunts, they do not replace the true meaning of this important holiday. Below is a list of 101 Easter basket gift ideas. I hope it inspires you to put something you hadn’t thought of in your child’s Easter basket this year.
  1. Books (A few ideas: That’s Not My Bunny or Pat the Bunny for a baby; The Runaway BunnyA Beatrix Potter TreasuryThe Parable Of The Lily and The Easter Story for toddlers and young children. I just ordered these last two books for Elias’s basket – which is why they aren’t in the picture!)
  2. The Jesus Storybook Bible (Every child needs a copy of this Bible. If your child is older, you might get their own bible with their name on the cover.)
  3. Candy (I’m not big on candy, but a big lollipop or a chocolate bunny – definitely a fun treat. PEZ dispensers are also awesome.)
  4. crayons
  5. Markers
  6. coloring books (We always buy our coloring books at The Dollar Store. They have so many to choose from.)
  7. Silly putty (I used to love getting silly putty in my Easter basket!)
  8. toothbrush (The Dollar Store has REALLY fun kids toothbrushes. Elias is obsessed with his Spiderman brush that we got there.)
  9. Kids watch (Again, The Dollar Store!)
  10. Small doll (I love Adeline’s Baby Be Blessed doll)
  11. stuffed animal (Kohls has $5 stuffed animals and the proceeds support local children’s hospitals)
  12. t-shirt (maybe one that is personalized)
  13. puzzles (Melissa and Doug Puzzles are awesome)
  14. Barbie
  15. Superheros (Elias would love this Marvel Super Hero Mini Figure Set)
  16. stickers
  17. Toy animals
  18. Small game
  19. Card games (Love this set of four Children’s Card Games)
  20. Gift card (iTunes, Target, Borders, etc.)
  21. Play-doh
  22. Paint or Do-A-Dot paints (we love to dot paint!)
  23. Plain wood, canvases or ceramics to paint
  24. Foam stickers and shapes (You can usually find these really cheap at craft stores)
  25. Bath soap
  26. Bubble bath (We love The Honest Company’s bath products)
  27. shaving cream
  28. Bath crayons
  29. Crayola Color Bath Dropz
  30. Hair accessories
  31. DVDs (Veggie aTales ‘Twas the Night Before Easter)
  32. CDs (The Tuneables and You Are My Little Bird are huge favorites around here. I think I like them as much as the kids. I have also heard great things about the Seeds Family Worship albums)
  33. Pool toys
  34. Sandbox toys
  35. Cars
  36. Sidewalk Chalk
  37. Swimsuits (I bought Adeline’s swimsuits this year from Zulily)
  38. Rain gear
  39. Bouncy balls
  40. Big ball (soccer, basketball, football)
  41. Army men
  42. Lip gloss
  43. Nail polish
  44. Bubbles
  45. Jump Rope
  46. Fun band aids
  47. Kite
  48. Fun summer shoes (ie: sandals or crocs)
  49. Sunglasses
  50. Hat
  51. Stationery
  52. Fun socks
  53. Lotion
  54. Wind-up toy
  55. Slinky
  56. Action figures
  57. Angry Birds stuffed animals
  58. Flower seeds
  59. Gardening tools
  60. Bug House
  61. Flashlight
  62. YoYo
  63. Baseball cards
  64. Legos
  65. Fairy wings
  66. Magic wand
  67. Necklace
  68. Earrings
  69. Lisa Leonard decor (sign up for her newsletter on  the website and you’ll get a coupon! Easter orders must be placed by 3/27)
  70. Painting smock
  71. Pajamas
  72. Photo canvas for their room
  73. stencils
  74. Small purse or wallet
  75. Wind-up toy
  76. Planes
  77. Small instrument  (recorder, tambourine, cymbals, etc.)
  78. Temporary tattoos
  79. Puppets
  80. Word searches
  81. Construction paper
  82. Stamps and  ink pads
  83. Pool floats
  84. Bath toys
  85. Water bottles
  86. Disposable camera
  87. Personalized notebook
  88. Blocks
  89. Apron
  90. Mini-Piggy Bank
  91. chia pet
  92. Comic books
  93. Keychains
  94. Diary/journal
  95. Picture frame
  96. Bike accessories (horn, streamers, etc.)
  97. Posters
  98. Wall decals
  99. Movie tickets (like to see The Lorax!)
  100. Silly Bandz
  101. Magazine subscription (Highlights, Ranger Rick)
- See more at:

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

How to Clean Your Keyboard


The weather's turning warmer in our neck of the woods, which means it's time to start thinking about spring cleaning. While you're emptying your closets, decluttering, and getting rid of the bloat in your life, why not do the same for your Mac? Here are some simple, easy to follow tips to give your trusted Mac a little spring cleaning of its own. P
How to Speed Up, Clean Up, and Revive Your Mac

Clean It OutP

Let's start with the outside of your system. Turn it off, unplug everything, and move it out from where you normally have it set up. Give the area around your Mac, whether it's an iMac on your desk, or a Mac Pro under your desk, a good cleaning—there's probably dust and grime built up around it. Apple hasspecific guidelines to cleaning your gear, and while each system is a little different, it's always a safe bet to take a microfiber clothto the surface of your device to wipe away the dust and any smudges or oils that may be lingering on your screen or case. Apple suggests a damp, lint-free cloth to do the job, but even a dry microfiber cloth will get he job done—especially on displays and screens where you absolutely don't want to use harsh chemicals of any kind. Photo by Cheon Fong Liew.P
Even though it's not officially recommended by Apple, a little compressed air will go a long way towards getting the dust out of the cracks, crevices, and exhaust vents. If you have a Mac Pro, you can crack the case open and attack the inside with the same cloth and compressed air.P
If your case or keyboard are seriously gunky, we highly recommend attacking the filth with a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, but keep in mind that they—and other melamine sponges—are slightly abrasive, so you may be rubbing away grease and dirt, but if you keep scrubbing you can wear away the top layer of the finish as well.P


Friday, March 14, 2014

Crock Pot Stuffed Peppers by Paula Deen

Crock Pot Stuffed Peppers
from Paula


Slow Cooker Stuffed Green Peppers

Servings: 6
Prep Time: 20 min
Cook Time: 8 hrs
Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients Add to grocery list

6 large green bell peppers
2 cups cooked wild rice
1 1/2 pounds ground chuck
2 cups chicken stock
1 (16 oz.) can diced tomatoes
1 medium onion, chopped
1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
¼ cup chopped walnuts
1 large egg
Salt and pepper to taste
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
¼ teaspoon nutmeg


In a large mixing bowl combine ground beef, cooked wild rice, ½ of the can of chopped tomatoes, onion, cheese, egg, walnuts, red pepper flakes, nutmeg, salt and pepper.  Mix well.  Cut just the tops off of the green peppers and remove seeds and ribs from inside.  Stuff with ground beef mixture. Place stuffed peppers stuffed side up in a slow cooker and pour stock and remaining tomatoes over. Cover and cook on HIGH for 5-6 hours or on LOW for 8-9 hours.