Quilting made easy with Riley Blake and Cricut – Part 3 of 3

Welcome to the 3rd part of this video and quilting series! Over the past weeks I have been working on making a Christmas Quilt using Riley Blake Fabrics and the Cricut Maker. In Part One I showed you how I selected the fabric and pattern. In Part Two I showed you how all the pieces were cut. And today… today we are piecing the Half Log Cabin Throw quilt top!

Quilting Made Easy with Riley Blake and Cricut PArt 3 - Learn how to piece the quarter log cabin quilt pattern!

 

To finish up this series I’ve created another video. This video is long, but oh-so-comprehensive! I’ll be holding your hand and taking you step-by-step through how to make this quilt. It is always more fun to make a project with a friend, and I hope you’ll stitch along side me as we make this quilt together!

We’ll make the units, put together the blocks, build the rows, and stitch up this quilt top. When we get to adding the borders, I’ll give you some tips on how to get a nice smooth border with no ruffles!


If you’d rather read along, I’ll lay out the basics of making the quilt here. Remember that a full set of PDF instructions is in Design Space that will also help you in making the quilt.

We’re going to start by laying out all of our fabrics. The inner border, outer border, and binding fabric can be put aside. Label the other fabrics by fabric number to make it easier to grab the right fabric as you lay out the block units.

label your fabrics when quilting

Using the PDF instructions, grab a square of fabric one and the smallest rectangle in fabric 8. Place them right sides together and stitch.

(BTW – all seams in this quilt are 1/4″.)

stitch first two pieces

Then press your seam towards the dark.

press first stitch

Add the next size up of fabric 8. Stitch and press. Repeat with the same size of fabric 1, and then the largest strip of fabric 1. You’ll have your first block unit complete!

finished first block

Repeat the process for all the block units – you’ll be making 6 of each. Check the PDF for all the fabric combinations. If you watch the video, I’ll show you how you can save time making these units by strip piecing.

next block

Once you have all your block units, lay out block A. Stitch the top and bottom units together. Press the seam to the right. Repeat with the bottom two units, pressing the seam in the opposite direction. Then stitch the top and bottom together. You can press the middle seam up, down, or spin the seam (watch the video and I’ll show you this technique)! Make 6 of this block (Block A).

putting it together

Now you’ll follow the same steps as Block A, but to make Block B. Which is the same, but with different fabrics.

Block B

Once your blocks are done, stitch them into rows! You’ll have 4 rows, each with 3 blocks. 2 of the rows have a block A flanked by block B on either side. The other 2 rows are block B flanked by Block A on either side. Press the seams of the first row in one direction, and the seams on the other row in the other direction.stitch the rowsThen stitch your rows together (alternating the A row with the B row), and press all the seams in one direction. Your blocks are all together! Now it is time to add the borders! I want to share my special border-adding tip with you.

First we’ll be adding the side borders. Measure both sides of your quilt, then measure the center of your quilt from top to bottom. This tells you the height of your quilt on both sides and in the middle. Add these 3 numbers together then divide by 3. That is the size you should cut your side borders. This will keep you from having wavy borders.

Pin the border in place. First by pinning each end. Then pinning the middle. Then pinning along each half so that the border is smoothly in place. Once it is pinned, you can stitch.

pin on border

Repeat the process of measuring the top, bottom, and middle to cut the top and bottom borders to size. Pin them the same way, then stitch. Repeat all these steps to cut, pin, and stitch on your outer borders. Once your borders are on, your quilt is done!

stitch on borders

This quilt has been so much fun to put together – I hope you enjoyed it, too! I’m considering putting together a bonus video to show you how to quilt this lap sized quilt on a domestic sewing machine. But if you prefer, you can absolutely have a long-arm quilter do the quilting, and then you just have to bind it. You can search this site for lots of tips on quilting your quilt, and binding it!

Thanks to Cricut and Riley Blake for asking me to put together this series! I can’t wait to show you more quilting and crafting fun!

 

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Cricut. The opinions and text are all mine.

Quilting made easy with Riley Blake and Cricut – Part 2

I’m excited to share part 2 of my “Quilting Made Easy” series with Riley Blake and Cricut. When Cricut offered to send me a Riley Blake quilt kit of my choice to share with y’all, and show you how easy it is to whip up a quilt when Cricut takes care of the bulk of the cutting, I was excited! I love sharing innovative ways to approach quilting, and these quilt kits are a fantastic way for both beginners and experienced quilters to put together quilts that look beautiful every time!

Last week I showed you how easy it was to pick out a fun fabric kit, and to pick a pattern to go with it. Today I’m opening up the pattern and doing all the cutting.

quilting made easy with Riley Blake and Cricut - part 2 of 3

If you’d rather hang out with me while I go over all the details, I put together a video where I take you step-by-step through the cutting process. You can pause, rewind, and watch at your own pace. I’ve put the video here:

 

If you’d like to read through the steps, I have you covered as well.

First, let’s talk tools. Cricut has some great kits that are perfect for doing all the pre-cutting needed. They have a rotary blade, ruler, and mat set that is exactly right for cutting those large 12″ wide strips needed for the Cricut mat. Be sure to check out the Cricut cutting tools – they are the experts when it comes to sharp blades that cut well!

Cricut tools for quilting

Start by removing the fabric from the zippered bag it came in (by the way, this zippered bag becomes an awesome shoe bag for traveling!), and pull out the paper it came with as well.

planning the quilt

I also printed a screen shot of the cutting instructions, since those are not available as a PDF. I put all the fabrics in order – fabric 1 through 11. I removed fabric 11, which was the 3/4 yard piece of fabric. Beware, it is the exact same as fabric 4, which is a 2/3 piece. Make sure you’re setting aside the 3/4 yard piece which will be used for the binding later.

From fabric 1, cut two 12″ wide strips.

rotary cutting fabric

Cut fabric 4 into two 1/3 yard pieces (1/3 yard is 12″, so you’ll be cutting it in half to make two 12″ strips).

Then from your inner border fabric (fabric 3) cut 5 strips, each 2″ wide.

cut inner border

From the outer border fabric, cut 5 strips, each 5.5″ wide.

cut outer border

 

I know what you’re thinking – this is supposed to be all about how great the Cricut machine is for cutting fabric, and we haven’t even pulled out the Cricut machine yet! Yes, that is true. The Cricut Maker is great for cutting fabric. But for some projects, a little pre-cutting is needed. There are 11 fabrics in this kit. We have pre-cut 4 of them, and put a fifth aside. Now we are ready to pull out the Cricut Maker to do the rest of the cutting for us!

Start by placing the fabric on the mat. Float the fabric over the pink mat until it is lined up on the edges, and the top edge is above the top cutting line, but below the top edge of the mat. Then press it down. You can use the brayer to secure it if you like.

place fabric on mat

Now you are ready to get cutting! For most cuts, you can use a single strip of fabric for 2 mats. The first mat is a 12×24″ mat. Place the fabric on the mat. Then trim off the extra fabric from the bottom. Put this on a 12×12″ mat (or on a 12×24″ mat – you can always use a larger mat) for the second mat of that fabric.

If you didn’t print out the screen shot of the cutting instructions, I’ve got you covered! Here you go:

Fabric 1 – Mats 1 and 2
Fabric 2 – Outer border – was cut into 5.5″ strips in an earlier step.
Fabric 3 – Inner border – was cut into 2″ strips in an earlier step.
Fabric 9 – Mats 3 and 4
Fabric 6 – Mats 5 and 6
Fabric 5 – Mats 7 and 8
Fabric 4 – Mats 9 and 10
Fabric 8 – Mats 11 and 12
Fabric 7 – Mats 13 and 14
Fabric 10 – Mats 15 and 16
Fabric 11 – Set aside for binding

You probably noticed that all those fabrics are NOT in number order. This is because we want to make sure that our light and dark fabrics are balanced in the quilt. Each quilt has those lights and darks set up in a different order, so the cutting order for the fabrics can change.

Once you have your first mat ready to go, you can start cutting the rest of your fabrics! It is lovely to cut it with the Maker, because once you have the mats and fabric in order, you can let your mind wander. When cutting with a traditional rotary cutter and ruler, I have to be vigilant and remember to “measure twice, cut once” or risk a mis-cut! A miscut can mean a waste of fabric – possibly running out of fabric if the miscut is bad enough! I didn’t have that issue with the maker. I kept feeding in the mats in order, and could even hold a conversation with my 6 year old while getting all the mats cut – and I never had a miscut!

cutting fabric with maker

I’ll be back in TWO weeks with the third installment of this quilting journey. Next week I’ll be off at the Cricut Mountain Make-a-thon teaching a class on “How to Design a Quilt Block like a Pro” as well as learning from some of the other fabulous ladies (and gentleman) who are teaching at the event!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Cricut. The opinions and text are all mine.


 

Quilting Made Easy with Riley Blake and Cricut

As an avid quilter, I love it when quilting can be made easier. There are so many steps and parts to quilting, so when some of those can be taken out for us, it makes quilting easier (and more enjoyable)! Quilt kits are a great option when looking to make a quilt. You know that all the fabric you need is in the kit (yay for no quilt math!), and you know that all the fabrics will work together wonderfully. That is why I was super excited when Cricut asked me to share a bit about their new Riley Blake Quilt kits with all of you.

Quilting Made Easy with Riley Blake and Cricut - Part 1 of 3

This post contains affiliate links. Income from these links helps to support this site at no additional cost to you.

I did a quick YouTube Live where I went over all the details of picking out the fabric (I went with the Comfort and Joy quilt kit) and picking out the pattern. The Log Cabin is a great beginner block, which is why I chose this fun Half Log Cabin.

And for those of you curious – yes, this is a project that you do need your Cricut Maker for. You need the functionality of the rotary blade in order to cut the fabric.

 

The back of the quilt kit shows you a couple of the different patterns you can make with this throw-sized quilt kit. But the great news is that you can make any of the throw sized quilts with this kit! While I love the options that they show, I also love that I have the flexibility to choose from any of the throw sized patterns.

quilt options with the comfort and joy quilt kit

You do have to buy the quilt pattern in Cricut Design Space. But once you buy it, you own the pattern. And the price really is comparable to quilt pattern prices everywhere else – with the bonus that this pattern has already been digitized to do all the cutting!

Riley Blake Half Log Cabin Quilt Pattern

The pattern includes all the Design Space files to cut the pattern, and a PDF with the step-by-step instructions to make the quilt. I’ll be going through the cutting and piecing in parts 2 and 3 of this series!

cutting the throw quilt

All those mats might be a little intimidating at first, but don’t worry! They really are broken down to make the whole process as simple as possible. This is quilting made EASY, right? And easy for us also means that it will be more fun!

cricut quilting tools

If you’re planning to make this quilt along with me, you might want to check out these great Cricut tools. I’ll be talking more about these in part 2!

wuilt kit and pattern option

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Cricut. The opinions and text are all mine.

No Sew Mini Quilt with Cricut Patterned Iron-On

If you’ve been following along with the Cricut Maker Block of the Week, you know that you need a Cricut Maker to cut the fabric for the quilt. One of the top questions that I get about the quilt is – can it be made using the Cricut Explore series of machines? Unfortunately… no. Only the Cricut Maker cuts non-bonded fabric. All of that changed when Cricut offered to send me some of their new Patterned Iron-On! I couldn’t wait to use it to show you how you can make a “cheater” version of this quilt. Even better… it is a no-sew project to put together the quilt top!

I’ve put together a step-by-step video to show you how easy it is to “quilt” without sewing a single stitch! Check out the video below!

No Sew Mini Quilt

This post contains affiliate links which help support this site at no extra cost to you.

12″x24″ Cricut Cutting Mat (blue or green)
EasyPress
Cricut EasyPress Mat
Device with Design Space
Water Soluble Pen
Scissors
Weeding Tool
Fabric (cut at least 20″x20″)
Cricut Patterned Iron-On
2 Rolls of colored Iron-On (12″x19″)  or 1 roll of SportFlex (11.8″x24″)
Your Cricut Machine (Maker or Explore series)

supplies for No Sew Mini Quilt using Cricut Patterned Iron-On

You’ll need the Cricut Design Space file I created with all 9 quilt blocks. Cut every color with a different pattern or color of Iron-On, except the purple. You don’t need to cut the purple at all, as you see in the video.

 The Patterned Iron-On is so fun to use – it is like fusing on fabric designs! There are 9 different sampler packs, each with 3 different designs – that’s over 25 patterns to choose from! You can use a single pack, mix and match packs, or mix in solid colors like I did here!

Remember, when you cut any Iron-On material, always cut it with the “pretty” side facing down, and click the toggle in Design Space that tells your Cricut Machine to reverse the design.

cut your patterned iron-on

As you weed the layers, match them up. This will help you keep track of the pieces, and make sure that you get each weeded properly.

layer the blocks as you weed

Make sure to peel off the transfer sheet before adding the next layer. Don’t remove a transfer sheet until you need to – you want to keep them on to protect the Iron-On while you’re still using heat! Without the transfer sheet, the Iron-on can melt under the heat of the EasyPress.

add layers removing transfer sheet

When you’re all done, you’ll be amazed at how much it looks like a real quilt – yet you didn’t sew a single stitch!

finished quilt top

You can use your faux quilt to make a pillow cover, you can quilt it to make a quilt, you can use it as the side of a large tote bag… there are so many ways you can use this faux quilting technique!

 

If you want to make the shirt I wear in this video, go check out the details for the Shoo Fly Quilt Block Tee!

Simple DIY Quilt Block Tee

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Cricut. The opinions and text are all mine.

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.