Friday, June 22, 2012


In one of my first posts I said that blissfulness is something that I'm still attempting to obtain. I had somewhat of a rough week and in an attempt to remind myself of the important things in life I have found some inspiration online.

I know we can never be happy at every moment in life but the image below is what I truly aspire to. 

But of course, I need to work on this. In the meantime here are some more great quotes that brighten my day when I'm feeling a little down. Hopefully they can brighten yours too. 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Milkjug Igloo

We finally finished our extensive summer project! It took about two/three weeks to collect all of the jugs and construct the igloo.

*I suggest asking for both gallon and half gallon jugs when started your milk jug drive- we didn't use too many half gallons but they were still necessary. Also, save any extra lids.... some jugs were brought to us without the lids and I wanted them to have lids.

We set out to complete this Igloo in the middle of May. Luckily, we go through a LOT of milk at the day care center and have lots of families that were extra helpful and brought in their empty jugs. 

With the help of our families and our community we quickly collected the 
295 gallon jugs (and 6 half gallon jugs) that were used. 

I originally started this project with no idea how large it would be. As much as I would love being able to cram our entire class in there I settled on only making it fit about 4-6 people. So I taped out the area that I wanted and glued the first row together. 

I decided to model my igloo off of another I had seen online. (Find their tutorial here. They have a video that may be able to explain the process better than I will). 

*Make sure that all of the milk jugs are completely clean!! We learned quickly that spoiled milk turns a funky shade of neon green... (not an experiment that we wanted to learn but interesting nonetheless). Wash them well and then make sure they are dry before putting the lids on. 

I decided to use the hot glue to secure the lids onto the milkjugs. We have some sneaksters that would probably end up hiding things in them and it would become impossible to get out... But others may wish to not glue them done. It would be a lot of fun to switch the caps around or make designs inside after the igloo is complete.

This site used hot glue to glue their milkjugs in pairs: two jugs would be glued with the handles inside (together) and the other would have the handles on the outside. Check out the pictures below

(Handles inside)

(Handles outside)

We then alternated the pairs (inside, outside, inside, and so on...) until they made the way around the circle. 

Then glue the next layer on top. I tried to get at least one milk jug less than the previous row but did not always succeed (hence the half gallon jugs). 

Once I decided that the rows were tall enough for the children to crawl through I began going across the doorway. I was worried there would not be enough support but once it was finished I found it to be very supportive. (Keep in mind I completely COVERED the area with hot glue). 

Here is what I thought would be our finished product! But we had LOTS left over so I made a little arch over the front. 

Below is an image of the actual finished project. 

It's so colorful inside!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Roasted Red Pepper Sauce with Creamy Chicken Recipe

I'm a huge pasta lover. I could eat it for every meal of every day. But all I typically do is throw on some store bought sauce and enjoy a mediocre meal. I have thrown together some sauces before but have officially set out to find a homemade sauce recipe that I truly enjoy. I originally found this recipe here. It is absolutely delicious!

Here is the recipe. (Just copied from the site where I found it)  

  1 lb. bowtie pasta (or any kind of pasta would work!)
  1-1 1/2 lbs. cooked chicken, sliced or cubed
  1 onion, diced
  3 cloves garlic, pressed or crushed
  4 Tbs. butter
  1 cup half and half, room temperature
  1 cup chicken broth
  1 tsp. seasoned salt
  12 oz jar roasted red peppers, sliced
  1 cup mozzarella, shredded
Cook the pasta according to the package directions.  While it cooks, melt butter in a skillet over medium heat and cook the onion and garlic till soft.  Whisk in half and half and chicken broth.  Stir in seasoned salt and mozzarella.  Lower the heat to keep the sauce from boiling.

Add the chicken and red pepper slices to the sauce.  Stir frequently and keep and eye on the heat so it doesn’t boil.  Drain the cooked pasta and stir it together with the sauce.  Add chopped parsley or basil when serving.

It was delicious and easy! I decided to use about half the onion simply because onions are not my favorite… if this is true for you as well let me reassure you that it was not overwhelming – the onion taste was barely noticeable at all. I’m going to add more onions and attempt to make my own roasted red peppers next time. I also made some homemade garlic bread with the leftover garlic. 

While slicing my roasted red peppers I decided this one looked like a seahorse. Maybe the heat of the kitchen was getting to me but of course I feel like it's necessary to share this picture!

I also tried the Skinny Girl Rose for the first time this weekend. I'm starting to really love their beverages. (I obviously had to pour a glass immediately, before I could even take a picture!)

No Bake Strawberry Cake

This weekend I FINALLY made a recipe that I had 'pinned' on Pinterest. I literally have tons of recipes that I thought looked amazing but have never actually tried.

Here is the link to the recipe that I originally followed. 

I have just copied the ingredients and directions below but disagree with some aspects. Read on for my tweaks. You can definitely use less whipped topping. 16 oz is not necessary for me, 8 oz probably still would be a little much for me but this of course will vary according to your tastes. Just test it out and you will find the right amount for you. 

The recipe says to place the graham crackers first and then spread the whipped topping but I chose to cover the crackers with the topping first and then place them in the baking pan. 

Also, I would not suggest microwaving the chocolate chips in a plastic bag. If you must microwave, I would place them in a bowl and then scoop the melted mixture into the plastic bag. Or, you could place them in a pot on the stove instead and then scoop into the bag. I just would never want to microwave that plastic!

- 3 lbs. fresh strawberries, sliced
- 2 (8 oz.) tubs fat- free whipped topping (Or use regular or light - and feel free to vary the amount of whipped topping. As I stated earlier, I used less than 8 oz)
- 1 (14.4 oz.) box graham crackers
- 1/4 cup milk chocolate chip morsels
1. Spread a small amount of whipped topping on the bottom of a 9x13-inch baking pan. Place graham crackers covering the entire base. Place half graham crackers in spaces that do not fit whole ones. Lightly cover the top of the graham crackers with more whipped topping and then a layer of sliced strawberries. Repeat three times, until you have four layers of graham crackers (you may be a few crackers short on the top layer, but that's ok). You'll end with a layer of strawberries on top.
2. Place milk chocolate chip morsels in a plastic bag. Microwave in 10 second intervals until melted. Snip the end of the plastic bag and drizzle chocolate over top of cake. (I suggest melting the chips THEN putting them into the bag).
3. Refrigerate covered for at least four hours, or until the crackers have softened completely. Cake will last well for two days. It will still be good on the third day, but the strawberries will start to get juicy and leak into the whipped topping. It will still taste good, but it won't be as pretty.

Of course, I took lots of pictures for you!
 Spread whipped topping on the bottom of the baking pan

Spread whipped topping on graham crackers and cover the base 

Add a layer of strawberries (I LOVE strawberries so I made sure they were jam packed!) - Repeat these steps until you have reached the top of the pan

You can see how little whipped topping I actually used - 16 oz seems like too much for me.

Melt the chocolate chips and drizzle over. And Viola! Now the tough part - putting it in the fridge for four hours

This is how I enjoyed my dessert... 

... And how Kevin enjoyed it

We both LOVED it and in about 24 hours it is almost completely gone between just the two of us. I HIGHLY suggest this amazing recipe. So amazingly simple and yummy!

Pin this recipe by clicking here!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Beauty in Nashville, IN

This weekend was just jam packed with beauty. Kevin and I went camping at Brown County State Park and had an amazing time. We got there a little later than we had wanted and of course forgot a mallet to get the steaks into the ground – so clever Kev made do with a rock. 
As we were grilling for dinner a curious little raccoon joined us and started raiding through our food while we were sitting right there! I knew to expect animals but not while I was still trying to eat! Of course later, he brought back about six of his little buddies and they scavenged the entire area for food that no longer existed.

Unfortunately, we were only able to spend one night camping but we took advantage of our gorgeous surroundings. I probably took about a hundred pictures of the trees – who knew trees intrigued me so much!

We climbed one of the fire towers.

Here are some more pics from the drive around the park. 

And visited Nashville, IN – which has plenty of cutesy touristy shops and some AMAZING food. We went to Big Woods Brewery – one of my all-time favs. 

And walked around the town. (The pictures seemed much more artsy as I was taking them but ohhhh well, you still get a sense of the experience). I just LOVE the look of these houses/shops. So homey. 

 This was a sign at the front of a jewelry store "Your husband called and said you can buy anything you want" - Love it!

 One of my good friends started a tradition for herself that I am going to attempt to begin as well. When she studied abroad last year she collected Christmas ornaments at each stop along the way. I love this idea and cannot wait to beef up my Christmas collection. So I’m going to be on the hunt for ornaments (or items that could be transformed into ornaments) whenever I visit someplace new. So although Nashville may not be new or exotic, I decided to begin my tradition… and found the perfect ornament to commemorate our time in Nashville this weekend.

Unfortunately they did not have any raccoon ornaments but this little mouse came in close second. Definitely not my style but so perfectly adorable.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

My hot glue gun fought back

On Friday while making an expansive month-long craft with the kids at the day care center I work at my glue gun finally had enough of my shenanigans. (As soon as that craft is finished I'll post pics. I'm super excited about it!!) Anyways, the glue dripped off the project and onto my leg. I promptly decided it would be a wonderful idea to get the scalding hot glue off of my leg. So of course my genius self instinctively used my dominant hand to brush it off. Which in turn severely damaged my thumb and index finger. After learning that submerging my hand in a glass of ice cold milk made the pain a fraction more tolerable I kept my hand in milk for the next 6 or 7 hours.

Of course Kevin and I are camping this weekend so I made the trek to meet him in Bloomington with my hand in a glass of milk.

It's not pretty and I quickly learned that I am probably the furthest from ambidextrous that any individual could be. This minor burn has made me realize how lucky I am to be fully functioning (at least physically!) most of the time.

We are currently camping in a gorgeous state park and the beauty that surrounds me is almost unbelievable. I'm loving getting back to the basics even if it's just for a little bit. I will be posting pictures of this great scenery soon! We haven't even left yet and I cant wait to get back!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

DIY 3-D Flowers

I originally created this blog hoping to primarily post about my various crafting ideas. Of course as soon as I decided to do so I also started slacking on my crafting. Therefore, I'm going to start off by posting about past creations. Then I'll eventually work up to posting some of the things I'm currently crafting!

This is possibly the easiest craft I have ever done... and also one of my favorites. 

I simply bought artificial flowers from a craft store and promptly tore them apart so that they were single flowers. I found this gorgeous frame as is (without a back or glass) for a dollar at our local Trader's Depot!! - this was obviously perfect since I didn't want a back or glass anyway...

I could have been a little more crafty and secured them in a nice way but honestly, I wanted a quick fix and tape worked well. I arranged the flowers against the back of the frame and simply taped over the stems. It has held up for years and obviously doesn't show from the front so works for me!

I ABSOLUTELY love this frame. I'm usually more of a fan of silver but the details are just gorgeous and the cheap price is obviously a huge plus. 

My favorite aspect about this is that it does not have a back. It will always show the wall color and my OCD self will not have to change the back matte a million times.