Valentines ideas for boys // free printable

valentines (6)

valentines (5)Valentines is sort of a girly day to celebrate. We are always on the hunt for boy-friendly Valentines ideas. For the last 3 years the kids and I have made our heart crayon valentines for school parties and for friends. They still wanted to make the crayons this year but we wanted to find something different for the Valentines. We (I) don’t really like sending candy because I am not a fun mom like that. :)

We came across a beautiful printable from A Happily Crafted Life and Jack knew they were the ones! He loved the magnifying glasses. We worked on them together but he could do almost everything by himself. We love the way they turned out! Head over to Danyelle’s super cute site to get the download.

valentines (3)

valentines (2)

valentines (1)Our heart crayons are always so fun to make too! This is what we did last year.

valentinescrafts (1)

One more cute Valentine idea that isn’t so girly for us moms of boys! These are the ones my friend Katie is making with her kids and I think they are adorable! Free printable from Domesticated Lady.

Happy crafting!


Chris’s surprise 30th birthday

Chris (2)

Chris (3)

Chris (4)

This past weekend we had my brother-in-law’s surprise 30th birthday party! He had no clue about it, so it was super fun!

The night before we took my sister and brother-in-law to see Brian Regan which was HILARIOUS. That guy just cracks me up to the point where tears are streaming down my face I am laughing so hard: and it takes a lot for me to really belly laugh at a comedian. If you haven’t seen Brian Reagan do yourself a favor and You Tube that up right now, do it! Look up his “show horses” bit.

We just had a great weekend with family. Feeling ever so blessed these days. We felt really lucky to have two nights out in a row, it was a nice and much needed break for mommy and daddy :). With our busy weeks with the kids, Ralph and I sometimes find it hard to find time to spend together without the kids, which I think is very important once in a while. So it is such a treat when we get out and challenge ourselves to stay awake past 9pm. We are so the type of parents that have a hard time leaving our kids too, well ok…I am so that parent. I am always worrying when we are gone how they are surviving with out me. (They always do just fine.) Ok better reign it in before I get going about my psycho mom tendencies and lets not even talk about how expensive it is to do anything with babysitters and all that jazz…yeah…I started out only wanting to post a few pictures in honor of our sister and brother-in-law ( love you guys so much!) and I somehow knew I would get off track!

Happy Birthday to a great brother-in-law! Also it should be noted that my sister-in-laws birthday was just a few days before her hubby’s! Also say a little prayer for my sister-in-law because she is going to have another baby very soon and we are just a little excited about it. (GIRL GIRL GIRL!)

Chris (6)I made this friendly little gift for Chris! Thought it turned out super cute!

Chris (8) Chris (1) ChrisChris (14) Chris (13) Chris (12) Chris (11)

aaaaaa Chris (15) Chris (16) Chris (10) Chris (7) Chris (9)


Artifact Uprising

I have been toying with what to do with all my Instagram photos (I am a firm believer in printing your photos and not keeping them on the computer) because you can’t just print them like your other photos from your camera. Believe me. I tried and they all were cut off in random places and the clarity was off. So everyone has been buzzing about this new site called Artifact Uprising, where you can make books out of your Instagram photos. I finally checked it out and was super impressed with the finished product. The site was quite easy to navigate and upload all your pictures. There are a few different designs you can choose for each page and then just drag and drop your photos in! I love the simplicity of the books and the quality for the price is fantastic. I did a book for the entire year of 2012 and will hopefully make another one next year–please stay around Artifact Uprising, we love you! ps even though this may seem like a sponsored post, it’s not. I just like passing on things that I am passionate about and wanted to tell y’all about this great site! uprising (1)

uprising (3)

uprising (4)



10 must-have kitchen gadgets

1. KitchenAid KSM75WH Classic Plus Tilt-Head 4-1/2-Quart Stand Mixer, White

It’s safe to say I couldn’t live without my KitchenAid mixer. I use it for EVERYTHING. It is just so much easier for me to throw anything that needs to be mixed into the KitchenAid rather than stir it by hand (the laziest.) Whether it be whipping up mashed potatoes, cookie/brownie/bar batter, pasta sauces, and most importantly, when making cakes, the KitchenAid is where it’s at. Totally worth the investment one hundred times over.

2.Presto 07046 Tilt ‘n Drain Big Griddle Cool-Touch Electric Griddle

We just recently bought this griddle and I can’t believe we waited this long. We are such a breakfast family- we literally make eggs for breakfast daily during the week, and bacon and pancakes on the weekends. So it just made sense that we start using a griddle. It cut our breakfast cook time in half after we started using the griddle. Whats great about this one is that all the bacon grease drains through the bottom and then you just pour it into a container afterwards. So much easier than trying to pour bacon grease from a frying pan. Another huge benefit is the surface area of the griddle. You can make about 8 eggs or 12 slices of bacon at one time!

3.Hamilton Beach Digital Steamer

A steamer is a must have item. You can steam your veggies perfectly and safely every time with almost no effort on your part. I’m sure you know that by steaming your veggies in the microwave you are just killing all the nutrients in them and mutating the proteins of them. So although it is the easy way out, don’t use your microwave, ever! :( This steamer is a great way to start making the switch.What is great about this one is that it is a double decker steamer. You can fit so many veggies in there! Another fantastic use for this is hard boiled eggs. Ralph’s Grandpa Al taught me this trick a few years ago and they turn out perfect every time (steam for 16 minutes)! This steamer even has special little divits to hold eggs perfectly.

4.Cuisinart DLC-10S Pro Classic 7-Cup Food Processor, White

This is one of those make your life easier machines, again a plus for us lazy chefs. It does all the work for you when it comes to mincing herbs and garlic, shredding cheeses, slicing veggies, kneading dough, chopping and puréeing. And those are just the things that I use it for. There are numerous attachments that go along with it that can do much more beyond those things. This baby whips up a great batch of hummus!

5.West Bend 84915 5-Quart Oblong-Shaped Slow Cooker with Tote

Ralph got me this slow cooker for Christmas two years ago and I was hooked the first time I used it. I almost never use my crock pot anymore. The top pot is detachable which is super convenient. It also comes with a great carrying pouch which I thought I would never use but I have used it numerous times when we take a dish to pass somewhere. What I love most about it is that it doesn’t take up as much space on your counter as a crock pot, but it still has the volume you need.

6.Hamilton Beach 25450 Gourmet Panini Press

This baby comes in handy! Kids want grilled cheese for lunch, boom. 5 minutes, grilled cheese. We make hot sandwhiches in this ALL the time, especially in the winter with soup. This panini maker has made ruebens, hot beef sandwiches and french dip sandwiches to name a few, a breeze for our family! Love this!

7.West Bend 77203 Electric Can Opener, Metallic

Ok this electric can opener is the definition of laziness right? But I have had it for 4 years now and can’t imagine what life is like pulling out the manual can opener. I totally know how ridiculously lazy I am, don’t worry. But I use it so often and it sits right on the counter. With the press of a button you can have a can open in seconds. Whats awesome is that the top is magnetic so it not only opens the can, it hangs on to the lid so you can go on with your cooking and throw away the lid later.

8.Keurig B60 Special Edition Brewing System

We are huge coffee/tea drinkers so this is a staple in our kitchen. That being said we probably use it more than we should. What I love about the Keurig is that it makes a perfect “first pour of the coffee pot” cup of coffee every time. You know what I am saying right? The first pour of the pot is always the best. I also have come to love the fact that I only drink one cup of coffee …when I only make one cup of coffee. Usually when we would make a pot of coffee in the morning, we would drink the whole thing. We all know where that leads…Another thing I love is using my Keurig for guests. There is nothing easier/nicer than popping a k-cup in the machine and having a fresh cup of coffee for a guest when they are here.The Keurig is such a great investment and I LOVE it. The end.

9.Breville BTM800XL One-Touch Tea Maker

Ok. This one is spendy I admit it. But there are multiple uses for it, beyond a fabulous cup of tea. Ralph is really into loose leaf teas, so he will make a pot every afternoon or sometimes evenings. It has a variety of settings for the perfect cup of tea, whether it be green, black, oolong, herbal, white or custom. When the temperature is just right the basket of loose tea drops into the hot water and steeps for the correct amount of time, depending on the flavor. So it is the tea lovers dream. But I use this for baby bottles! It has a setting for just boiling hot water and you can set the exact degrees you want the water to be. So we figured out the perfect temperature for a bottle and after I was done breast feeding  we just would add the formula. It was super convenient.

10.Oster BVCB07-Z Counterforms 6-Cup Glass Jar 7-Speed Blender, Brushed Stainless/Black

This is a great standard blender, it gets the job done. I’m unaware of the need for a fancy blender. We mainly use ours for sauces, smoothies, ice cream shakes, baby food making, and purées when I don’t want to get the Cuisinart out. A blender is obviously a kitchen must have though!

What are your kitchen must-haves?



*this post is brought to you by Amazon but all opinons are my own.


Cranberry lime vodka


This year we did a lot of homemade gifts and this was my favorite out of all of them. Homemade cranberry lime vodka. Looks so festive and really a great gift. It wasn’t too difficult, just slightly time consuming (you have to poke holes in every single cranberry.) Very happy with the way it turned out though!


You will need:

cranwine (1)

Step 1- poke two holes in each cranberry (EVERY SINGLE ONE). I did this step using a toothpick.

Step 2- cut 2 medium sized pieces off of the lime rhine.

Step 3- put the cranberries in the (clean) bottle, one by one, and add the lime rhine. [I used 2-3 2inch pieces of lime skin (that sounds really weird, no?)]

Step 4- pour about 2 tablespoons of sugar through the funnel into the bottle.

Step 5- pour vodka over the top of the cranberries and limes.

Step 6- close the bottle stopper and store for at least 2 weeks before drinking. Hint- the longer you let it sit the sweeter it will get.

Step 7- drink and enjoy. OR attach some drink recipes and a cute note and give as a gift!

I found a lime crantini recipe and a cranberry lime spritzer recipe that I attached with ours. I also noted on our gifts that if the bottles were retured, we would make them another batch next year. I hope it was tasty!

recipe adapted from: here.

Happy Friday & have a blessed weekend!