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!

 

World’s Best Turkey Cheeseburger

I am a member of the Collective Bias Social Fabric Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for Collective Bias and its advertiser.

World's best turkey cheeseburger recipe

Summer is in full swing! For me, this means lots of time in the sun, and of course, grilling! We love grilling meats around here, and one of our favorite things to throw on the grill is a great burger. I’m a fan of turkey burgers, which are easy to add tons of flavor to! I set out to make the World’s Best Turkey Cheeseburger, so I headed to Walmart to pick up my ingredients.

While I was shopping, I used the Blippar App. It is a fun, free app that gives you bonus information on participating products. When I scanned my Kraft cheese, I had access to some great cheeseburger recipes, and I could take a photo with Brad Paisley! Hey look! Brad Paisley is shopping with me! You can also register to get Paisely Points and win some sweet Brad Paisley Swag.

Brad paisley in cart

Then I headed home to make some cheeseburgers. Yum!

make a turkey cheeseburger

You can find the full recipe at the bottom of this post. My burger patties included the basics – ground turkey, salt and pepper, egg and breadcrumbs (as binding agents), and then lots of flavor – I added Kraft Barbeque sauce, Kraft Cheese shreds, and minced garlic – yum!

Everything was tossed into a bowl, and thoroughly mixed. I pulled off my rings, washed my hands, and mixed it all in with my hands.

mix ingredients

Once my meat was mixed, I divided it into 4 sections for my patties. You could also make 6 smaller patties.

split up meat

Each section was first rolled into a ball, then pressed flat. To keep your patties from puffing up into meatballs on the grill, make a crater in the center of the burger. This way, the burger will be an even thickness when cooked. I put the patties onto squares of parchment paper, making them easy to transfer to the grill. This also makes them easy to stack in a container if you’re taking them to the park or to the beach to grill.

make burger patties

While the burgers were grilling, I prepared my fixings. First I chopped up some onions to caramelize.

onions to caramelize

Then I chopped up my avocado and tomato. Tear the lettuce to prevent the edges from browning. I like a little salt on my avocado and pepper on my tomatoes.

burger fixings

The it is time to toast the buns…

toasted buns

And then build the burger!

delicious turkey cheeseburger

Some people like to put the cheese on their cheeseburger while it is still on the grill. I like to put the cheese on RIGHT after it comes off the grill. It still gets melty, and none of it gets lost to the flames.

To make it a little easier to eat, I cut my cheeseburger in half.

cheeseburger with a side of cheeseburger

Hey, look who is hanging out in my cheeseburger!

brad paisley burger

Why yes, I’ll have my cheeseburger with a side of Brad Paisely, thankyouverymuch.

World’s Best Turkey Cheeseburger Recipe

Burger:
1/5 lb ground turkey
3/4 c Kraft Barbeque Sauce
1/2 c cheese shreds
1 c breadcrumbs
1 egg
1 tbsp minced garlic
salt & pepper to taste

Fixings:
Hamburger bun
Kraft Naturals cheese slices
Kraft Miracle Whip
Lettuce
Tomato
Avocado
Caramelized Onions

Mix all ingredients in a bowl until thoroughly combined. Divide into 4 large patties or 6 small patties. Grill until done. Add Kraft naturals cheese slices, and your choice of fixings on a toasted bun, and enjoy!

#SayCheeseburger #CollectiveBias

Spring Staircase Decor

Spring Banister

I don’t have a mantel. I don’t mind not having a fireplace, but not having a mantel does bug me. Especially when I see so many adorable mantels done up. My next house will need a fireplace, just so I can have a mantel. In the meantime, I’ve come up with some mantel substitutes. I used to use my banister to hang stockings. After we bought our china hutch, it made the perfect place to hang stockings. Though I still love banister decor.

This year, I’m having fun bringing spring into the house, so I thought that a Springy staircase would be fun! It was super simple to put together, and it adds just a little bit of color. If you pick brighter birdhouses or flowers, you could add a whole lot of color!

supplies for banister

To decorate your banister like this, you need:

Wide Burlap Ribbon
Large Gerber Daises
Mini Clothespins
Krazy Glue
Mini Birdhouses – WITH LOOPS (I had mine already painted)
Ribbon

 

 

Start by prepping the daisies. I pulled them off the stems, pulled up the green bit, added a little Krazy glue, and stuck my clothespin between the petals and green.

glue clothespins

They were done in no time.

attach clothespins

While they dried, I wrapped the bannister in burlap.

wrap burlap around banister

Twice. Just big loops around the railing. Nothing fancy.

wrap banister

To add a little color, and tie it all together a bit, I criss-crossed ribbon down and back up the bannister.

wrap ribbon around

Then I tied on the birdhouses. I used about 8″ of ribbon, and just tied them on the railing, threading the ribbon through the loop at the top of the birdhouse. If your birdhouses don’t have loops, glue the ribbon on.

add birdhouses

By now, my daises were dry, so I clipped them on the burlap.

simple spring banister

They make a great backdrop to my Easter Tree – that I haven’t shared here yet!

spring decor

Are you having fun decorating your house for Spring?

Sight Word Board Game

Erasable Sight Word Board Game

My Kindergartener loves playing board games. There is something about rolling the dice, and moving his playing piece that he just loves. Since we are working on sight words, I thought I’d make a sight word board game. The problem is – depending on which list you pick, there are hundreds of sight words! This game is great for working on just 6 sight words at a time. Once your child has mastered those six, you can erase the words and write in new ones. You don’t have to re-make the game for each set of words, just use a wet-erase marker and in a few minutes, the game has been re-made with new words! Let me show you how…

Supplies:
supplies for sight word board gameFoam Core
Duck Tape Deco Dry Erase Laminate
Solid Color Duck Tape (I chose red)
Wooden Block
Scissors
Craft Knife
Pencil
Permanent Marker
Wet-Erase Markers (Vis-a-vis)
Favorite candy (to use as playing pieces – my son’s favorite are red Mentos)

Start by cutting the foam-core into a board-game-ish size. You don’t have to be super perfect, just two pieces that are the same size will do.

Stack the two pieces, and tape together with a piece of Duck Tape along one long edge. Trim the excess.

tape pieces together

Cut a piece of the Duck Tape Deco Dry Erase Laminate that is roughly the size of the entire board when open. Open up the taped together foam core, carefully peel off the backing paper, and cover the inside of the board with the Dry Erase Laminate. Then cover all the edges with the duck tape. Before folding over the edges, clip the tape at the fold.

tape edges of board

The board is all put together!

board ready for game

Using your permanent marker, draw a big squiggle on the board, then a second line about 1.5″ from the first. Segment off the lines into boxes. I drew a star at the end to represent the finish.

draw board game

I counted the number of squares, then divided by 6. I wrote the numbers 1-6 randomly this number of times in the boxes. This helps when changing out the sight words.

Now to make the dice! Wooden blocks are inexpensive, so you can buy several, and write a sight word on each face of all the die, using different die when you want to practice different sight words. Or you can make erasable die to go with your erasable board. Start by cutting 6 squares slightly larger than the face of the block.

cut six squares

Peel back the paper and put a square on each face, trimming away the excess.

trim off excess

Cut twelve 1/4″ strips of Duck Tape.

quarter inch strips of Duck Tape

Put the strips along each of the edges of the dice. This will make sure all the edges stay in place through lots and lots of sight word practice!

finished erasable dice

To play, select 6 sight words. Write one on each side of the dice. Pick one side, write that word in all the boxes labeled with 1. Pick a second side, write that word in all the boxes labeled with 2. Repeat with all 6 sides.

write in words

Grab your favorite candy.

Use favorite candies to play a sight word game

Assign each player a piece, and start playing!

Sight Word Board Game played with Candy

Help your young learner out. Make sure all the words are facing their direction to make them easy to read. After the die is rolled, turn it to make it easy for them to read each time.

Each player takes turns rolling, then advances their candy to the next matching word on the board. When they get to the end and roll a word that there are no more of, they put their candy on the star, and win! When each player reaches the end, they get to eat their candy – everyone is a winner!

If you’re playing with a child who has sticky or sweaty fingers, you might need to keep your marker handy so you can re-write in the words as you play.

sight word dice after playing

Organizing 2014: Simple Expense Sheet

Happy New Year! I’m ringing in the New Year with something super thrilling – expenses. Okay, maybe not super thrilling, but very much needed. Last year, I had little slips of paper spilling out of my wallet, my purse, glovebox… all over the place! I decided to fix this problem for 2014, and while I’m at it I thought I’d share my solution with you. Because all this week Angie from The Country Chic Cottage, Gina from The Shabby Creek Cottage and I are sharing cleaning and organizing tips!

Simple Expense Sheet

The expense sheet is super simple to use. Just tape it to the front of a 9×12 envelope. Tuck the Envelope in your purse. Each receipt gets recorded on the front, then tucked in the envelope. I can quickly enter all the receipts for a month, trip, or other time period into my bookkeeping software, and all my little slips of paper stay put!

If you want to print off your own simple expense sheet, you can find it here.

Come back tomorrow for another great tip to make 2014 your most organized year yet… I promise it’ll be a whole lot more fun than this one!

Organizing 2014: A Thoughtful Kit

About 4 years before I had my first kiddo, a co-worker told me that I was going to be a great mom. She had three little boys, and judged my mom-ness on my ability to focus on the details – baking Halloween cookies from scratch (and frosting them with scratch-made frosting), sending out cards and notes for special occasions big and small, and always wearing a clean shirt. As she said it I remember thinking that I had time for all of these things because I wasn’t a mom. And I was right. Although I get the clean-shirt thing down most days, I don’t have the time to do all the little things I used to. And I want to fix that. This Thoughtful Kit is one step towards a more organized 2014. And since I’m getting together with Angie from The Country Chic Cottage and Gina from The Shabby Creek Cottage this week to share cleaning and organizing tips, I thought I’d share this with you today.

Make a Thoughtful Kit

Before Facebook and Twitter, I actually sent out notes to people. Fun cards with a little note inside – nothing fancy, but always appreciated. Just because we have the electronic means to greet our friends doesn’t mean we have to forget the personal touches, right? This little bag has everything in it to whip out a quick note to a friend, celebrating a success, sharing a fun thought, or just because.

Here’s what goes into a Thoughtful Kit:

1. Some kind of folder or pouch to hold everything. Once filled, this will get tucked in the car so I can easily write a note while waiting at school to pick up the kiddo, or if the baby has fallen asleep on the way to the grocery store. Being organized will help me take advantage of these formerly lost moments.
2. Cards. I have a wide variety here, but the basics are Thank You notes, Birthday Cards, and cards that are blank inside.
3. Pens. Because you never have one handy when you need one.
4. Extra envelopes. Each of my cards has a corresponding envelope, but sometimes you find a magazine article that you want to tear out and mail, or find something at the store you want to send, or you want to mail off some photos (there is something awesome about printing off and mailing a photo versus texting it, don’t you think?).
5. Stamps. Because you can’t mail without them, and having them handy is key.
6. Address Book. If you have all your addresses saved in your phone, you can skip this part. I’m not that fancy. I keep an old-school address book. Actually, I have more than one. This mini one fits perfectly in my Thoughtful Kit.

TIP: Grab all the envelopes from the Christmas Cards you were sent, and double-check the return addresses for any updates so you can have an updated Address Book. If any of the cards you sent out come back returned, update the address in your address book right away so you never have to second-guess yourself when sending out a card!

7. Optional Stuff. I like to have fancy seals or stickers for sealing envelopes. If you use return address labels, tuck those in. Maybe you like sparkly pens or tucking a little confetti inside your cards… tuck that stuff all inside your Thoughtful Kit so you’ll have it ready to go!

What to put in a thoughtfulness kit

Now I’m organized and ready for a super-thoughtful 2014!

Oh, and in case you’re stuck for how to write a thank you note, I wrote a little post on how to write a thank you note that should help you out!

“Gone to the Beach” Seashell Door Hanger

Gone to the Beach door hanger

As winter settles in, forcing me to trade in my flip-flops for socks and sneakers, I long for the beach. Warm days with toes in the sand, watching the waves chase the kiddos. Although I can’t transport myself beach-side… I can pretend. With the help of my “Gone to the Beach” Seashell Door Hanger.

This door hanger is simple to make, I use a few supplies that make it even easier. Here’s what you need to make your own:
Wooden Door Hanger
White Paint
Paintbrush
Seashells
Shell Glue
Paint Pen
Beach Sand
Mod Podge

Start by painting the wooden door hanger. I added a single coat of white paint to give it a white-washed look.

doorhanger

Once the paint has dried, I wrote my saying on the door hanger. You can write whatever saying you like… I went with the classic “Gone to the Beach”.

write on phrase

Start gluing on your shells. I placed my shells on the door hanger without gluing first to get the placement, then glued them down using shell glue. Just put the glue on the parts of the shell that will be touching something – either the wood or another shell.

use shell glue

You want to keep in mind the balance of the door hanger – if you put too much weight on one side, your door hanger won’t hang straight when it is finished.

 

glue shells in place

I wanted to add some more to my door hanger, so I wrapped one side of the hole with baker’s twine, then tied a shell to each end of the twine. This is optional, but I thought it added some more beachy color.

add baker's twine

I was going to leave it, but it seemed… incomplete. I knew exactly what it needed. I mixed beach sand with Mod Podge to create a thick paste. Do this in a container that you are fine tossing when you’re done – you don’t want to rinse beach sand down the drain of your sink if you can help it.

make sand paste

Apply the paste with a paintbrush around, over, and between the shells. I put thick globs in some areas, and brushed the sand lightly over shells in other areas.

put sand paste in place

Once the Mod Podge dries, your door hanger is complete!

close up of shell doorhanger

 

Whimsical Holiday Entertaining Recipes

I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias and their client.Holiday Entertaining with Smart & Final #shop

This Holiday season, we’re staying at home. I have let my family and in-laws know that they are all welcome at our house… but we don’t plan to do any holiday traveling. We traveled last December, and we’ve done a lot of traveling this year for family parties and events. Now, we get to enjoy some time at home. Which is perfect for me, because I love Holiday entertaining. I love dressing up our home, and welcoming guests. I love cooking and preparing delicious treats. This holiday, with the help of Smart & Final, I thought I’d come up with a sweet twist on drinks and appetizers.

Instead of traditional drinks and savory appetizers, I came up with some sweet candy sushi and drinks that use Country Time Lemonade and Kool Aid as the base. But don’t let the Kool Aid and Lemonade fool you… these drinks have kick!

I started by making the Candy Bar Rolls and Starburst Nigiri.

candy bar sushi platter #choosesmart #shop

For my “sushi”, instead of rice I used Cheerio treats.

To make your own Candy Bar Sushi Rolls you need:
2 tbsp butter
2 c  mini marshmallows
3 c Cheerios
2 Snickers bars
2 3Musketeers bars

Melt the butter in a nonstick saucepan on med heat. Add marshmallows. Stir until melted together. Add Cheerios, and stir until fully combined.

Tip: to keep everything from sticking to your spoon, spray your spoon with non-stick spray.

To turn the Cheerio treats into candy sushi, pour half of the still hot Cheerio treat mixture on a piece of aluminum foil, sprayed with non-stick spray. Use your spoon to spread it out into a large rectangle. Place two candy bars (with wrappers removed, of course) down on the middle of the rectangle of cheerio treats. Fold in the sides of the foil so that the Cheerio treats encircle the candy bars. Roll the treats in the foil to even them out around the candy bars. You’ll feel them melting into the chocolate coating on the candy bars a little. That’s fine.

Remove from the foil and set aside to cool. Repeat with the second half of Cheerio treats and two more candy bars. You can use the same piece of foil, and no need to re-spray with no-stick spray. There will be enough left on the foil.candy sushi roll #choosesmat #shop

Once the Cheerio treats cool, cut into pieces about 1″ wide with a SHARP knife.

Make Candy Bar Sushi #choosesmart #shop

To make the Starburst Nigiri, you need:
2 tbsp butter
2 c mini marshmallows
3 c Cheerios
Starburst Candies (unwrapped)
Sprinkles (optional)

Make a batch of Cheerio treats, just like before. Make tablespoon-sized balls of treats on foil. Make sure to spray both your spoons and foil with non-stick spray.

Put 3 starburst in the microwave. Times will vary based on your microwave, but mine took about 10 seconds. You want them slightly softened, NOT melted.

Pull the warm Starburst into the shape of a slice of raw fish, and set on top of your cereal treat “rice ball”. Dip in sprinkles if you like.

As long as I was giving Cheerios and candy bars a more “mature” look in the form of candy sushi, I thought I’d give CountryTime lemonade and Kool Aid a makeover. Because what is more welcoming after a long drive than a refreshing drink?

Pitcher of Kool Aid #choosesmart #shop

I made a Kool-Aid a-rita. Which is the delicious love-child of a Margarita and Kool-Aid. You can make it on the rocks or blended, the recipe changes a little based on how you want to serve it.

kool aid a-rita #choosesmart #shop

Kool-Aid a-rita on the Rocks:

3 parts Kool-Aid
2 parts Tequila
1 part Grand Marnier
Shake and serve over ice. Garnish with a slice of lime.

Blended Kool-Aid a-rita

3/4 c Kool-Aid
1 c Tequila
1/2 c Grand Marnier
Add a scoop of Kool-Aid powder
Fill blender with ice, blend until smooth. Garnish with a slice of lime.

 

I like giving my guests two different drink options when entertaining. That way, if they’re not a fan of a particular drink (or the booze in that drink), they have options. I made the second drink with Country Time lemonade:

Sweet Suprise CountryTime Lemonade Drink #choosesmart #shop

Sweet Surprise

Sugar rim with 50/50 mix of CountryTime Lemonade and Sugar
3 parts CountryTime Lemonade
1 part Vodka
Pour in glass over ice
Top with a splash of Chambord (about 1 tbsp)
Add a Maraschino Cherry
(the Chambord and Cherry will sink to the bottom)

The surprise is the cherry at the bottom of the drink.

If you’ve never sugared the rim of a glass before, it is easy to do:

How to Sugar the rim #choosesmart #shop

Mix a tablespoon of sugar and a tablespoon of the lemonade mix together on a small plate. On a second plate, pour a little of the prepared lemonade.

Dip the rim of the glass into the lemonade. Let the excess drip off. Then dip into the sugar mixture. It is that easy!

Holiday entertaining has never been as sweet!

Oh – and keep a pitcher of un-spiked Kool-Aid and Lemonade around for your under-21 houseguests!

Smart and Final is a great store for all your entertaining needs – from meat to dairy, produce to paper goods, they’ve got you covered! Check them out on Twitter http://www.twitter.com/SmartFinal and on Facebook  http://www.facebook.com/SmartFinal

And right now there is a great promotion going on! Save $5 when you buy 5 select General Mills, Mars, and other products (like the cereal, drink powders, and candy bars used in my recipes), AND get free Adult-Child movie passes!

Save 5 and get a free movie ticket #choosesmart #shop

Awesome YouTube Channels and a GIVEAWAY!

YouTube Kindle Fire Giveaway
Hi y’all!
Sometimes, I get to put together fun giveaways with bloggy friends of mine. You know I’m working on getting better at video, and creating lots of fun crafty videos, so I thought it would be fun to do a giveaway where I share with you a bunch of awesome YouTube channels. And, for following these channels, you can be entered in a giveaway to win a Kindle Fire! It is like the ultimate win-win, right?
Entering the giveaway is easy. After the Rafflecopter widget loads below, follow the instructions to follow the participating channels. There are about a dozen channels (you might be following some of them already!). The giveaway ends on October 26th at 11:59pm, PST. Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

Carved Styrofoam Pumpkin

Styrofoam Pumpkin

Between Halloween and Fall Decor, you can’t really have too many pumpkins… I thought I would carve up a styrofoam pumpkin to use as part of my decor. It was fairly simple to do…

To carve your own styrofoam pumpkin, you’ll need:
Styrofoam ball
Styrofoam Cutter
Styrofoam carving tools
Smooth Finish
Sponge & Water
Paint
Leaves from the floral dept.

Start by cutting the top and bottom off of the styrofoam ball. This gives it a steady base.

cut off base

Cut six small wedges out of the curved sides of the styrofoam ball.

cut in wedges

Use the styrofoam carving tools to smooth out the edges.

carve foam pumpkin

Open up your Smooth Finish and spread it into the crannies of the styrofoam. Get it as smooth as you like.

smooth finish spread on foam

You can use a damp sponge to smooth out the Smooth Finish. I smoothed mine out a little bit, but I wanted to keep some texture.

I let the pumpkin dry. Overnight is fine, but I ended up letting it dry for a few days.

smooth finish covered pumpkin

I could sand the pumpkin down a little at this point if I didn’t like the texture, but I really did like the texture.

paint pumpkin

I got out my Multi-surface paint (the color is spiced pumpkin), and painted the whole thing. It only took one coat to paint.

Finished Styrofoam Pumpkin

After the paint dried, I stuck a faux leaf and stem from the floral section into the top of the pumpkin, and it was all done!