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Monday, September 30, 2013

Halloween Piano

We actually don't have a mantel in our house, but that was the theme for this month's Point of View.  So I decided to use our piano for my "canvas."  But, then our piano isn't a regular upright either,it's a digital piano (which I love--it isn't heavy and it never goes out of tune!) so that means there's not even a top "ledge" to use as decorating space. 

Point of View-- Mantels


We've reached the end of another month, so we've got some creative mantel ideas for you, including Halloween and fall theme mantels. Check them out on each of out blogs.

Amy Ameroonie Designs
Ashlee I'm Topsy Turvy
Jonie Just Between Friends
Leanne Organize and Decorate Everything
and this month's guest:Amy from The Happy Scraps

You'll see my piano decorated for Halloween a little later today.

Then link up yours here, and follow our Pinterest board. Happy decorating!  I can't wait to come see what your mantel looks like!

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Friday, September 27, 2013

Have We Been Lied to About Bloglovin?

Is Bloglovin really helping bloggers, or just themselves?  I'm asking this honestly...as I don't really know.  Do you?  

Remember back in July when Google Reader quit and we were all forced to find another way to follow the blogs we love to read?  I made the jump to Bloglovin, like so many others, but I don't believe it's the best fit.  

One thing I liked was that everyone kept saying "When you read through Bloglovin, the page views still count for the actual blog."  Did you guys all read this too?  Why is it then that as I click through to older posts in my list, the url at the top of my page still says "bloglovin.com....."?  Does the blog I'm actually reading get a view or not?

Also, there's that handy Pin feature, right from the Bloglovin toolbar.  Did you know that when you Pin from Bloglovin, the source is attributed to Bloglovin, and not the original blog??

Check it out:

If I have misspoken, or if you know something that changes any of what I've said here, please let me know!  But I think I want to find a different way to follow blogs.

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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Draw and Swap

Back in July I wrote about a week-long craft camp with my girls and some of their friends. This was one of the activities we did, and in case you missed it on Brassy Apple, here it is again.
 And all you need is some blank paper, some crayons, a few players and a timer.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Delicious Blender Recipes

A couple of months ago we bought a Vitamix blender so we've been loving trying out all kinds of yummy blender recipes.  And it goes way beyond your basic milkshake (though those are good too!)   

I've gotten some of my friends together to share of some their favorite foods to make in a blender.  Be sure to pin this first picture so you can come back to the list often.  

Find each recipe by clicking on the individual links below. We'd love to try out some of your blender recipes too, so please share in the link party at the end of this post.

52 Mantels

The Happy Card Encouragement Factory

52 Mantels

A Kristen Runs Through It

Young and Crafty

Crafting in the Rain

52 Mantels

A Kristen Runs Through It

Crafting in the Rain

Crafting in the Rain

A Kristen Runs Through It

Crafting in the Rain

Crafting in the Rain

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Saturday, September 21, 2013

Chocolate Almond Butter with Cinnamon

If you've never had cinnamon in your chocolate before, you're in for a treat.  Back in August, my husband gave me some chocolate for our anniversary.  One of the bars was a Moonstruck bar with chopped almonds and a bit of cinnamon.  I've combined those same flavors in this delicious almond butter.

Almond Butter with Chocolate and Cinnamon by Crafting in the Rain

2 cups roasted almonds (mine were also salted, so I sifted out the loose salt)
4 squares of chocolate (I used a large Symphony bar)
1/4-1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon (you can try the smaller amount and add more if you don't want it to be quite so subtle)

*Make sure you have a blender or food processor that is built to make nut butters. They can be really hard on blender motors.

Almonds in a Blender

Blend almonds.  At first they will just look powdery, then they'll start to come together.  At this point add the chocolate and cinnamon and blend until creamy, following your machine's instructions.  

Homemade Almond Butter by Crafting in the Rain

Store in the fridge.  It's great spread on bread, crackers, apples, and I'm sure more :)  It will stiffen up in the fridge, but left on the counter for a few minutes becomes much more spreadable.

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Purple Veggie Smoothie

Tasty fruit smoothie with veggies by Crafting in the Rain

As promised, more blender recipes!  This is a fun way to sneak veggies into a smoothie because the fruit covers up the color and taste of the vegetables.

1/2 cup apple juice
1/2 cucumber
1/2 carrot
1/2 cup blueberries
4 frozen strawberries
1 cup ice
handful spinach

Toss all these ingredients into the blender and blend until smooth.  For a slightly thicker smoothie, add 1/2 cup more ice and blend another 30-45 seconds.

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Friday, September 20, 2013

Peanut Butter Banana Protein Shake

I posted a blueberry protein shake early this morning, and this is another tasty version that I make often. 

1 heaping scoop chocolate protein powder
3/4 cup skim milk
2 Tablespoons peanut butter
1/2 frozen banana
1 cup ice cubes 
(optional) splash of vanilla

Blend all ingredients and enjoy!
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Chocolate Blueberry Protein Shake

A couple of months ago I joined a gym and started lifting weights.  Yes, little ol' (wimpy) me.  I alternate days of cardio and weight lifting, and have gotten to where I can use the bar with some weight plates on it for a few of my lifts (did you know the empty bar weighs 45 pounds all by itself!) 

I've also learned that getting a bunch of protein into your body after working out, especially lifting weights, really helps repair your muscles.  So on my weight lifting mornings I have a protein shake as soon as I get home.  I have a couple of different recipes that I usually switch between, and this one was particularly yummy.

Place in blender:
1 heaping scoop chocolate protein powder 
My husband and I have been using  Gold Standard Whey in Double Chocolate.  It had a lot of good taste reviews online, and we really like it.  We get it at 24 Hour Fitness, and when it's on sale it's $50 for the 5 pound container.  
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup frozen blueberries
1/2 cup ice

Blend all ingredients for at least a minute (the longer you blend, the better broken up the blueberries will get so so don't get little pieces stuck in your teeth :)

Do you include weights in your workout schedule?  What's your favorite protein shake?  Watch for more blender recipes in the next couple of days too.

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Thursday, September 19, 2013

Halloween Pillows

It's just about time to start thinking about Halloween decor, and in case you need some new Halloween pillows in your life, here are a bunch of great ones!  

Here is the Witch Hat Pillow I showed you yesterday, and there are 20 more to add to your list.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Witch Hat Halloween Pillow

Looking for a fun Halloween pillow idea?  This one turned out just like I was imagining, and it's easy too!

Witch Hat Pillow by Crafting in the Rain

You'll need:
Pillow or pillow form to cover
Matching thread
Purple felt
Black and silver glitter paint (can be fabric paint, but doesn't have to be)
Freezer paper with hat and band cutout (click here to download svg)
Glue gun

Sew a Halloween Pillow by Crafting in the Rain

I made the pillow cover using instructions from Madigan Made (just like when I made my Poinsettia Pillow)

Easy pillow cover at Crafting in the Rain

Lay the empty pillow cover down and center the freezer paper stencil on it, shiny side down, and iron it on.  

Paint two layers of black paint to make sure the fabric pattern doesn't show through.

Freezer paper stencil by Crafting in the Rain

When the black paint dries, iron down the band stencil and paint with glitter paint.  

Witch Hat Craft by Crafting in the Rain

To make the felt flower, cut 4 circles of 1.75 inches and 1 circle at 1 inch.  Fold larger circle in half, then half again.  Secure with hot glue, and glue to the small circle.  Repeat with other large circle and glue a sparkle gem in the middle if desired. 

Make a Felt Flower by Crafting in the Rain

Glue to the witch hat and put the pillow back in.  All done!  

Witch Hat with Flower by Crafting in the Rain

Be sure to come back tomorrow for a list of more great Halloween pillow ideas!

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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Make a Quick Family Meal for Dinner Tonight

I am a member of the Collective Bias® Social Fabric® Community. This post is sponsored by Collective Bias and their client to bring you easy family meal ideas.

One of my biggest confessions is that I've never been really great at cooking family meals.  It takes a lot of effort and planning for me.  It has never come easily, like I thought it might after being married 11 years. I'm doing better though and have been making a real effort.  Even ask my husband! And I'm also trying really hard to get my kids involved in what to cook.  Even if they still don't like what we're eating, I've noticed they've become more appreciative of my making dinner.  That helps my attitude as well.

Now that school has started up again, I still want to have my kids working with me in the kitchen, but their time is limited now.  When I had the opportunity to try out a Kraft Recipe Maker meal kit I knew it would be a great way to have a quick family dinner and still have one of my kids help me.

There are several flavors available, including oven and crock pot recipes.  Right on the back of the box you'll find the easy recipe and just a few ingredients to buy.  I went with the Three Cheese Chicken Florentine, and picked up everything I needed from Walmart (except the chicken I had in the freezer at home already).  You can see pictures from my shopping trip here.

I cut and cooked the chicken, and had Emily help pour pasta in the water to cook, and then stir in spinach and sauces. Finally she sprinkled cheese on top of everything and after 15 minutes in the oven we were ready to eat.  

It was a colorful and tasty dish, and Meagan, who is the biggest pasta fan of the kids, gobbled it right up.  We'll be coming back to this as a fast and easy dinner and I can't wait to try some of the other options.  Which one would you like to try for dinner tonight?  For more family meal ideas, visit the Kraft Facebook page too.

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