Diet Coke Inspired Art and Fashion

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #MyUnique4 #CollectiveBias

Have you seen the fun Diet Coke “It’s Mine” glass bottles? Each one is unique. Isn’t that awesome? Coca-Cola came up with a way to package each of the bottles with its own unique packaging. From a distance, they might look similar… but when you get up close, you’ll see that each one is completely unique! These bottles are available for a limited time only, so make sure you pick yours out the next time you’re at Target… though the outside of each bottle is different, the inside is filled with 12oz of the same Diet Coke we all know and love. That’s right, they’re not changing our favorite Diet Coke, they’ve just found a fun way to personalize these bottles for all of us Diet Coke fans!

I love finding creative inspiration in all kinds of places, and these Diet Coke “It’s Mine” bottles are bursting with inspiration. There are so many different color combinations, patterns, motifs… lots of ways to be inspired! I took my inspiration to a canvas, to make some modern artwork inspired by one of my favorite Diet Coke “It’s Mine” bottles. And I even used the Diet Coke “It’s Mine” bottle to paint it!

Diet Coke Inspired Canvas Art

If you want to make art of your own, here’s what you’ll need:

supplies for Diet Coke artwork

Diet Coke “It’s Mine” bottles (if you buy four bottles, you can get a 10% discount exclusively at Target!)
Bottle Caps
Blank Canvas
Acrylic Paint
Paper Plates

I picked up my Diet Coke at Target. The display was between the jewelry section and the checkout.

Diet Coke Display in Target

Pick your favorite design to get your inspiration.

pick a design from the different Diet Coke bottles

I picked one, and used the colors to draw some inspiration for my art.

create color scheme from bottle wrap

 

Time to get painting! The bottles can be rolled in paint, the ends can be dipped in paint, and even the bottle cap can be used to apply some color to the canvas!

I started by rolling the end of the bottle in some paint.

roll end of bottle through paint

Roll it back-and-forth on the canvas. By holding the neck of the bottle while rolling, I got a great curve.

roll bottle across canvas

Either end dipped in paint makes great circles.

small circles from top of bottle

Running the bottle through thicker areas of paint gets some great blending effects.

roll bottle through paint

And the bottle cap makes great designs as well. Use either side (or the edges)!

impressions with bottle cap

I love how this great beverage inspired great creativity!

canvas inspired by Diet Coke

finished Diet Coke inspired canvas art

Time to pop open another bottle and find some more inspiration!

 

A Birthday gift to me

Friday was my birthday. My 36th birthday. Which meant three things. The first was that I got notifications all day long from Facebook, people wishing me a happy birthday. Lots of people that I love and care about… and some people that I can’t remember why their on my friends list at all! Each Facebook message – and each phone call from family – was a precious reminder that I’m loved.

The second thing that happens is that I make a call to schedule my mammogram. I’m 36, and my two closest female relatives have battled breast cancer. For those of us with a family history, we start making our annual dates with this pretty machine when we turn 35.

The mammogram machine

Yup, that’s the photo I took last year, on my first date with the mammogram machine. It wasn’t so bad. There were no flowers or chocolates… but I also was told not to put on deodorant. Any date where you don’t put on deodorant as part of the getting-gussied-up process is going to have a different bar for success, don’t you think?

It isn’t a coincidence that the Cancer Treatment Centers of America and MomSelect reached out to me to share this important message in February. For me, a mammogram in February makes sense because it coincides with my birthday. For you, it might make sense because of Valentine’s Day. Valentine’s day is a great reminder to get an annual check. While you’re in the changing room trying on something lacy – make a quick phone call to the doctor to make sure that the curves that fill out that lace and trim is healthy – and stays that way! And if you’re not in a situation where you feel compelled to buy some lingerie mid-February, maybe you just need a reminder that your breasts need a little squeeze. A mechanical hug, if you will…

Love yourself - Schedule a Mammogram!

Last year I went for my mammogram, I was a little scared. It was like part of me was admitting that breast cancer could happen to me. And running away is so much easier, y’all. Thinking that everything will be fine. But getting the report back, confirming that everything is fine – that feels so much better! If you’re nervous about getting your first mammogram, check out the CTCA website and type “mammogram” in the search box. You’ll find lots of information on what mammograms are all about. Or, feel free to ask your questions in the comment section below – I’m no expert, but I’m happy to share what I know!

So, what is the third certainty that comes with having a birthday? Blowing out the candles and making a wish. A birthday isn’t a birthday without getting to make an annual wish while blowing out those dancing flames. I can’t tell you what I wished (or it might not come true!), but if you know me you’re probably guessing that I wished for something along the lines of a happy and healthy future for myself and my family. And you’d probably be right.

Yes, I received compensation for this post as part of a promotional program with CTCA and MomSelect. I am thrilled to participate because Mammograms are important.

Cranberry-Orange Scones

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

Happy New Year! Have you made New Year’s Resolutions, decided on a word of the year, or started a new workout routine? The new year is a great excuse to make some changes in your life… like taking some time for you, and getting more organized!

Orange Cranberry Scones - and Printable Daily Schedule at Always Expect Moore

Those are two of my goals for this year – getting more organized, and stopping to take time for me. Starting off the morning right is the best way to get my whole day set up for success – and so does sitting down with a bite to eat, and a hot cup of my favorite Bigelow Tea.

I made these Orange Cranberry Scones, and a daily plan printable – both pair great with my tea as I take a few minutes to fuel myself for the day, and square away my plans. You can grab the daily plan printable here (I like printing them half-sheet size by printing two to a sheet)… and now let me share the recipe for these delicious scones!

Orange Cranberry Scones

4 cups flour
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup butter
1 egg
1 cup dried cranberries
zest from one large orange

ingredients for orange cranberry scones

You can find these ingredients, and the delicious Lemon flavored Bigelow Tea, all at Walmart.

buy Bigelow tea at Walmart

Start by mixing the flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix in cubes of the room-temperature butter.

butter gets mixed in

Mix until the mixture looks like loose sand. You may need to scrape the sides of the bowl, or the mixer blade, several times.

mixed with butter

Add the sugar, milk, sour cream, and egg.

Mix in dried cranberries and orange zest until combined.

mix in cranberries

Roll out dough onto a floured surface, to about 1″ deep

cut into wedges

Cut dough into 8 rectangles, then cut each rectangle in half. Place on a tray lined with parchment paper, and bake for 350 degrees for 20 minutes.bake scones

Now it is time for some tea! Pour hot water into a mug, and allow your tea bag to steep. I like mine with sugar and honey.

I grabbed my printable, and planned out my day… and colored it in while I was at it.

coloring page daily planning sheet

It makes the day so much easier to start it out with a plan! And I love this version, because it allows me to make a list of what I’d like to get done, and then plan it out on the printable. Setting aside blocks of time to get things done in is a realistic way to plan out a schedule. And not scheduling every minute – making sure to leave some “margin” room between and around events helps give a buffer.

color in and plan page

I hope you make it a great day!

getting ready for the day

Go learn more about Bigelow Teas here, and on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Ritz Cracker Snack Bracket – 8 Topping Recipes

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

My husband loves football. He has juggled several fantasy teams over the last few years, and loves the big game every February (it is in February, right?). Yes, I had to check. Because I’m not a big football fan. I do love the new commercials, though. And the food. I love food. And opportunities to try new recipes. Today I’m sharing eight recipes with you, perfect for topping RITZ® Crackers. Yup, eight. Four savory recipes, and four sweet recipes. And we had a little tasting party to decide the winner. Which was hard. Because they are all seriously delicious, y’all. I know a recipe has captured my tastebuds when the leftovers are calling to me from the fridge. And these are. All of them. So let me share… feel free to thank me in the comments!

The Snack Bracket - Eight delicious recipes all perfect for topping Ritz crackers. Try to choose your favorite from these four sweet and four savory toppings. They are all easy to make, and you'll look like a snacking savant when you serve them for the big game.

The toppings are divided into two divisions. The Sweet division and the Savory Division. On the sweet side, we have Cranberry Cream Cheese, Cherry Lemon, Caramel Apple, and Chocolate Nut. Yum-oh! Representing savory, we have Cheddar & Bacon, Tuna, Beef & Garlic, and French Onion. Oh, yeah! And they’re all easy to put together. Here are the recipes – feel free to double (triple… quadruple…) for larger crowds and serious snackers.

Coca-cola and RITZ crackers - great for snacking

Cranberry Cream Cheese Topping

4 oz Cream Cheese
1/4 cup Dried Cranberries
2 tablespoons Honey

With a fork, combine cream cheese, cranberries, and honey until thoroughly mix. Spread 1-2 teaspoons full onto each RITZ® Cracker.

Cherry Lemon Topping

4 oz Lemon Curd
2 oz Marachino Cherries (8-10), chopped

Mix lemon curd and chopped cherries until well mixed. Spread 1 teaspoon full onto each RITZ® Cracker.

Caramel Apple Topping

10 soft caramels
1/2 Granny Smith Apple, chopped

Melt caramels in microwave at 10 second intervals until melted, stirring between each interval. Mix in chopped apples. Put 1 tsp topping on each RITZ® Cracker.

Chocolate Nut Topping

3 tbsps Walnuts
4 tbsps Chocolate-Hazelnut spread

Spread approx 1 tsp chocolate hazelnut spread onto each RITZ® Cracker. Sprinkle with Walnuts.

Ritz cracker toppings - four sweet and four savory go head-to-head to achieve snacktime victory

That’s the sweet lineup. You might think there are some crazy combinations in there, and you would be right – crazy good! You’re going to have such a hard time deciding which RITZ® Cracker topping wins the sweet division. Ready for the savory toppings? Here we go!

Cheddar & Bacon Cracker Topping

2 oz. Medium Cheddar Cheese
3 tbsp Crumbled Bacon

Place 1 square of cheddar cheese onto each RITZ® Cracker. Top with bacon crumbles.

Tuna Cracker Topping

4 oz Tuna (1 can, packed in water), well drained
2 tbsp Mayonaise
1 tsp seasoned salt
2 tsp pickle juice (liquid from pickle jar)

Make sure tuna fish is well drained. Mix with other ingredients until combined. Put 1 tsp on each RITZ® Cracker.

Beef & Garlic Cracker Topping

8 oz sour cream
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 tsp granulated garlic
4 oz lunchmeat (beef), chopped

Mix together ingredients until well combined. Best if made a day ahead, and refrigerated overnight. Put 1 teaspoon of mix onto each RITZ® Cracker.

French Onion Cracker Topping

8 oz Sour Cream
1/2 packet French Onion soup mix

Mix together Sour Cream and French Onion soup mix until well combined. Best if made a day ahead, and refrigerated overnight. Put 1 teaspoon of mix onto each RITZ® Crackers.

While you’re putting together your shopping list, be sure to add Coca-Cola. As you try out all these snacks, you’re going to need a palette cleanser. And what better than some ice cold Coca-Colas, right?

I found my RITZ® Crackers and Coca-Cola at my local Vons.

Shop for ingredients at Vons

I set up a snack bracket on kraft paper so that we could keep track of our winners. The Sweet Division is lined up on one side, and the Savory Division is ready to go on the other.

sweet vs savory snack bracket - awesome idea for halftime snacking. Which Ritz cracker topping will be your favorite?

We started snacking, deciding winners in each match-up.

Coca-Cola as a palette cleanser

When we got to the final showdown of the RITZ® Cracker toppings, it was underdog Cherry Lemon against family favorite Beef & Garlic. How do you choose?

final match in the sweet and savory Ritz cracker topping challenge

I’m not telling you which cracker topping got to bring home the Coca-Cola bottle cap prize, you’ll have to try your own snack bracket challenge this halftime. Let your friends and family decide which snack stands above all the others.

Picking a snack bracket favorite

Each of these RITZ® Cracker toppings can be whipped up in only a few minutes, so you can easily prepare them the day before the game yourself, or you can challenge your friends to bring their recipes (or try one of these) for your own halftime snack challenge.

Top your RITZ crackers with one of these eight delicious topping recipes

eight different delicious Ritz cracker toppings sweet and savory options

Be sure to check out these other amazing RITZ Cracker recipes, and while you’re at it, make sure you check out these awesome recipes too.

Sweet and Savory RITZ cracker toppings - which will be your favorite?

#BowlTimeSnacks #ad @ritzcrackers @cocacola

 

Monster Brownies and Vampire Coke for Movie Night

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

I love making fun memories with my family. Sometimes this includes outings, but often this means doing something fun at home together. A fun and crowd-pleasing way to spend family time is a movie night. Recently, I got to sit down with my family to watch the new Hotel Transylvania II, and these Monster Brownies and Vampire Cokes are the perfect treats for you to whip up for your own movie night! Be sure to take advantage of the $10 VUDU offer on your next movie when you buy the Movie Night package at Walmart… more about this deal in a second!

Monster Brownies and Vampire Coke - delicious treats for watching Hotel Transylvania II

To put together our family movie night, I hit up Walmart…

 

find exactly what you need at Walmart

I grabbed Orville Redenbacker Movie Theater Popcorn bowls, a 6-pack of Coke, and M&M’S® Chocolate Candies. I found the M&M’S® Chocolate Candies over by the checkout – in the cutest 3.5 oz canisters, perfect for snacking and sharing during the movie… and also great for making Monster Brownies!

Hotel Transylvania 2 Movie

You’ll want to grab the Hotel Transylvania 2 Movie, and other ingredients, if you don’t have them at home. After you purchase your movie night supplies (when you buy all 4 participating products listed in one transaction at Walmart between 12/22/15 and 2/2/16), you can take a picture of your receipt and visit the Redemption Page to get a $10 Vudu movie code by e-mail (While supplies last, limit 1 per person). Go ahead and click the link now, bookmarking it for later. Then come back, and we’ll whip up our movie night treats…

Here’s how the monster brownies come together:

ingredients for monster brownies

Ingredients:
1 boxed brownie mix
2 eggs
1/3 c vegetable shortening
2/3 c water
1 c M&M’S® Chocolate Candies
1 c Oatmeal
1 pkg candy eyes

Mix together all ingredients except the eyes. Pour into greased 6×9 baking pan, and bake as directed on the brownie mix box.

After you take your monster brownies out of the oven, gently push on the candy eyes before the brownies have a chance to cool.

I can see Mavis whipping up these brownies for Dennis in the Hotel Transylvania kitchens, and I’m sure that Johnny would stop by to snack on some of the eyeballs. But only because they’re candy eyeballs!

add candy eyes

Allow to cool completely before cutting.

Pair these brownies with some Vampire Cokes. In the movie, Dracula is concerned that his grandson might be more human than Vampire, and he does all that he can to make sure that Dennis gets his Vampire fangs. I’m sure if Drac had this recipe for Vampire Cokes, he could have saved himself a lot of trouble!

For your Vampire Cokes, you’ll need:
Coca-Cola of your choice
Grenadine
Cherries
Ice

vampire cokes

Put ice, cherries, and 1oz grenadine in each glass.

preparing vampire coke

Fill glass with Coca-Cola, and enjoy!

Monster Brownies and Vampire Coca-Cola

And can I just take a second to give a shout-out to these Orville Redenbacher Pop-up bowls? You pop the popcorn in the bag, peel away one side, and you have a bowl filled with delicious popcorn! Less dishes are always a win in this house!

popcorn in the easy pop-up bowl

 

Be sure to check out more awesome movie night ideas here, and don’t forget to submit a photo of your receipt for your $10 Vudu Coupon!

#MakeItAMovieNight
@SonyPictures, @OrvillePopcorn, @CocaCola, @MMsChocolate

 

Holiday Card Checklist

Whether you’ve sent out Holiday Cards every year since you moved out of the house, you’re a lapsed sender, or this is your first time doing a holiday mass mailing, this holiday card checklist will get you from start to finish in sending out your cards!

Christmas-Card-Checklist

If you would like some of my favorite tips – I love picking out a fun return address stamp. I’m addicted to these stamps from Expressionery. They sent me a new one that is especially for the holidays. There were so many options to choose from – but the trees were my favorite!expressionery-stamps-makes-

The return address stamps are a great way for kids to help with cards. Make sure they have a hard surface under each envelope, show them how to line up the stamp, and let them have fun!

kids can help stamp envelopes

When it comes time to address envelopes, give yourself an uninterrupted evening. Put on a holiday movie you love, grab your favorite after-dinner beverage, and relax as you write the names addresses of each of your friends on your Holiday Cards.

addressing envelopes

After you’ve stuffed the envelopes with your holiday card and witty Christmas Letter, it is time to seal those envelopes! My favorite way to seal the envelopes is with a glue stick. No licking envelopes, and they’re sealed shut on the first try!

use a glue stick to seal the envelope

I hope you enjoy sending Christmas Cards to your family and friends. And if you need an idea of what to do with all the cards you get, here is my holiday card book idea.

Simple Money for Kids

This holiday, I thought my oldest son, now 6, needed more help understanding that Christmas is about giving. With so many aunts, uncles, great-aunts, great-uncles, and grandparents, there sure is a lot of getting going on! Getting is easy to enjoy… but so is giving. Giving time, giving thought, and giving donations are all ways that we can help support our communities. I love this article from Yahoo sharing  6 simple ways to give back. A great place to get started when thinking about others.

I came up with a plan for him to help earn some Christmas money that would be spent on holiday gifts. He enjoyed helping, and he loved shopping. It was hard for him to pick gifts for others when there were so many cool things HE wanted. And it was hard for him to spend money he had worked for on others. But he did enjoy finding the right thing for each person, and getting some special shopping time with me.

As he gets older, I want to keep this lesson of giving, as well as an overall responsibility with money. These are great lessons to learn young.

To help teach these concepts all year long, I grabbed three mason jars, some construction paper, scissors, and pens. I made three mason jars – one for money to save, one for money to spend, and one for money to give. I know some people use a similar system, and have certain percentages of their money that should go into each. I don’t want this system to be that rigid. I’d rather my son decide where he’d like his money to go. And because the jars are glass, he can see how much money is in each.

Simple Money for kids

I traced the lids onto the construction paper.

trace lids

Cut them out, then cut a slit in each. Make sure the hole is big enough that a folded dollar can fit in.

cut hole

Each lid gets a word – spend, save, give. You can choose different words if you like.

write on papers

Remove the metal plate portion of each lid, replace with the paper, and screw the lid back in place.

put on lid

Repeat for all the lids, your jars are done!

finished savings jars

If you’re looking for more ideas for giving, check out the Yahoo article on  6 simple ways to give back.

Quilted Christmas Stocking

Looking to make new Christmas Stockings this year? Or just want a fun way to practice your free-motion quilting? These quilted Christmas Stockings are easy to make and fun to quilt!

Fairfield Quilted Holiday Stocking

Start by grabbing your fabric, stocking pattern, chalk pencil, basting spray, backing fabric (one for the back of the quilting, one for the lining of the stocking), ribbon for hanging, and of course your Fairfield Batting.

supplies for quilted stocking

Baste your layers – the batting between a layer of red fabric and a layer of backing fabric (I used muslin).

Trace the stocking on the fabric. Flip the template and trace again, a mirror image.

trace stocking

Quilt both sides of the stocking – but make sure to go beyond the lines.

quilted layers

Cut out the stockings, and cut two lining pieces.

cut lining pieces

Stitch the top of a lining piece to the top of a quilted piece. Repeat with the other set.

stitch tops

Lay the layers on top of each other, right sides together as shown in the above image, then stitch all the way around, leaving a 4″ hole for turning.

Turn right side out through the hole, stitch the hole closed, and tuck the lining into the socking.

tuck in lining

Stitch on a loop of ribbon to hang.

attach ribbon loop

Now make more for the whole family!

tie up holiday stocking

Thanksgiving Leftovers Pot Pie

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #CollectiveBias
We don’t live close to family, so the past few Thanksgivings have been just me, my hubby, and our two picky eaters. We have no idea where they inherited their picky eating genes – we love food. And I love to cook. So we go all-out for Turkey Day. Big turkey in the oven, potatoes, several different veggies, lots of stuffing, rolls, salad, deviled eggs… did I mention we love food? After we’ve cut into the pie, it is time to put all the leftovers away. Because as much as we love to eat, we barely make a dent in the bird. And there are lots of leftover sides. These all become a great base for future fast and easy meals! I love coming up with creative ways to spread out the leftovers over the next few weeks – including making these Thanksgiving leftover pot pies.

Thanksgiving Leftovers Pot Pie

Making these pot pies is super simple. I’ve given exact measurements in the recipe below, but feel free to use a little more or a little less if that is what you have handy – we are using up our leftovers after all!

If your family loves stuffing as much as mine does, you might not have enough to whip up these pot pies… don’t worry! I went to my local Walmart to pick up a box of turkey-flavored Stove Top Stuffing, which is perfect for topping off my pot pies with lots of yummy crunch! My little guy even helped out with the shopping!

Stovetop at Store

Thanksgiving Leftover Pot Pies
Serves 5 – Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
4 cups assorted cooked veggies (cut into 1″ pieces, if needed)
1.5 cups shredded turkey (all the bits from of the bones work great)
1.5 cups gravy
2 cups mashed potatoes
leftover cranberry sauce (optional)
2 cups Stove Top Stuffing

ingredients for turkey pot pie
1. Mix the veggies, turkey and gravy.
2. Divide into individual containers. Fill each no more than half way. Depending on the size, you can fill 4-6 containers.
3. Spread on a layer of mashed potatoes.
4. If you’re a cranberry fan, add a layer of cranberry sauce.
5. Sprinkle with a generous amount of Stove Top Stuffing.
6. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, or until heated through.

 

cover with mashed potatoes

pile stuffing on top

cover pot pie to freeze

You can freeze these individual servings to eat later, or to serve after a busy day of decorating, shopping, and gift wrapping. Always nice to have those “emergency” meals in the freezer for busy days! These emergency meals are not just life savers, but they’re money-savers as well. Tossing a pre-made leftovers pot pie into the oven takes no time at all – and doesn’t cost any more money! Great when I’ve got lots of Christmas shopping to do…
If you need more inspiration, check out the Cooking Up Good website. It has recipes, sweepstakes, loyalty programs, coupons and more! What’s not to love? If you’re looking for a new dinner idea or a chance to win some awesome prizes, be sure to check it out!

Easy to make pot pie from Thanksgiving Leftovers
#TasteTheSeason #CollectiveBias

 

 

Quilt as you Go Basics

Have you tried Quilt as You go yet? I have to admit that it is one of my favorite time-saving techniques. Quilt-as-you-go allows you to piece your quilt and quilt it at the same time!

Quilt as you go basics

I’m using Fairfield’s awesome Fusi-boo Bamboo batting for today’s quilt as you go demonstration – though you could use other batting, this batting is uniquely suited to the quilt as you go technique. Check out all the details in the video!