Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Colorful Christmas {Pom Pom Garland}

So I realize this is being written after Christmas, but with all the busyness and craziness and fun that comes with the Christmas season I never got around to writing it. Now, on New Years day I am sitting down and doing it. Better late than never right?

When getting Christmas stuff down this year I noticed that my Christmas decor didn't really match the rest of our house anymore. The decor was more on the side of rustic country and our home is more of an eclectic feel with rustic touches. I can't let go of the real wood and natural elements however I can't make my mind up about any other style...hence the eclectic feel.

So, I wanted to make some garland to hang on our mirror that was Christmasy (is that a word?) and colorful. I had been dying to try to make Pom Poms...Perfect! Pom Pom garland it was! I had seen quite a few on Pinterest and really liked the looks of them.

This project took me a little while...not because it is difficult (it is not), but because I have a hard time making decisions and couldn't decide on colors! I thought I had all the colors I wanted and after hanging it up on the just wasn't right. After about 3-4 trips to Joanns for more colors of yarn and fighting the Christmas golly we had it! Nope. Wait. We didn't. It was still missing something...LIGHTS!! It couldn't be Christmas garland without lights. After another trip (this time to Home Depot by the hubby) I twisted in the lights and BAM! That was it! Colorful Christmas garland made out of Pom Poms...Love.

Here is a quick tutorial on how I made this little gem:

Pick your yarn colors. Take one color at a time and wrap it around your four fingers. The more you wrap it the bigger and fluffier it will become. If you want small Pom Poms just do 2-3 fingers.

Once you have wrapped it like a million times, cut it and hold down that end with your thumb. Cut off a longer piece of string and slide it through your middle and ring finger wrapping it around the yarn.

It can get difficult to do it one handed, but eventually you get the hang of it.

At this point you can slide the bunch off of your fingers and tie a knot in the string wrapped around it or you can do it one handed (what I did) and tie it while still on your fingers and then slide it off. Whatever is easier for you but you MUST tie it as tight as you can! I always added another knot once it was off of my fingers so it was all double knotted and with later ones after this project I wrapped it around the yarn a second time to get it even tighter.

After you have the yarn off of your fingers, tied and secure you need to cut all the loops in should start looking like a Pom Pom at this point.

Once you have done all the cuts in the loops it is time to give your Pom Pom a little hair cut and just make sure all the strings are about even in length.

Now to make the garland! I used twine to string mine from, but you can use more yarn or any other type of string or ribbon.

Tape the end of the twine so it doesn't fray and find the middle of the Pom Pom where the string is that is holding it all together. At this point simply push it through under the secured string and pull the Pom Pom down the twine. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. (You get the picture right?)

Once you have your length of the garland simply twist your lights into it. I found it easiest to hold the lights and wrap the garland around the strand of lights. Voila!!! You are done and ready to hang! Oh and to clean up all the little Pom Pom shavings, leftovers and fuzzies from cutting them. Forgot to mention to have a vacuum or broom handy!

 This was prior to adding the just needed something else to scream CHRISTMAS!!!

The finished project: 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Flourless Black Bean Brownies

Ok, so by the name they sound pretty, well, disgusting. BUT, let me tell you they are not! I got this recipe from work when my co-workers and clients made them and I was a bit skeptical but I am usually open to trying new things (to a certain extent..not so much in the meat department though). When I got the chance to try it I was rather shocked at how good they tasted for having black beans in them. Honestly, you can't even taste the black beans.

I don't by any means follow a gluten-free diet but I am trying to eat clean and less processed. And with these brownies definitely being a bit more "clean" than say box brownies and less in the fat department than other brownies I was sold. And to me...they taste delish!

So, I thought I would share this recipe. Eating clean has become very popular and honestly it does make you feel better when you don't put all that processed junk in your body. I can't give up certain processed things and there is no way at being perfect with eating clean, but you can be more aware and watch what you put in your mouth. Now, these aren't the "cleanest" brownies being that they have sugar and canola oil in them and chocolate chips, but I feel a lot better about eating these than eating some of the other desserts you can buy or make. I did find some other recipes that use alternatives such as raw honey and applesauce to add sweetness, but I haven't made those yet so I can't say how they taste (but I'm sure they are just as good). But do some research and try new things and you will be surprised with what you come up with!

I dug into the brownies before I took a picture...oops!

1 15oz Can Black Beans - Rinsed and Drained
1/2 Cup Chocolate Chips (Divided)
3 Tbsp Canola Oil
3 Eggs
2/3 Cup Packed Brown Sugar
1/2 Cup Baking Cocoa
1 Tsp Vanilla
1/2 Tsp Baking Powder
1/8 Tsp Salt

1. Place beans, 1/4 C chocolate chips and oil in a food processor - process till blended. Add eggs, brown sugar, cocoa, vanilla, baking powder and salt. Process till smooth.

2. Pour mixture into a 9" baking pan. Sprinkle with remaining chocolate chips.
Bake 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick come out clean. Makes 12 bars.

Nutritional Info:

1 Brownie = 167 calories, 7g fat, 131mg sodium, 2g fiber, 4g protein

Here are some other links to more "clean" brownies that I will be trying soon.

Black Bean Brownies - Green Plate Rule

Black Bean Brownies - Mom Colored Glasses

Give any of these recipes a try and Im sure you will be more than surprised!

My workout partner!!! The best one ever!!!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Kids N' Krafts {Freezer Bag Art}

This past week we had our second crafty playdate. This time around we did a much faster craft and we involved the kiddos in it too!

Saying "Good Morning" to their friends.

Each Mommy brought a canvas or two that could be placed into a gallon size freezer bag. We squirted whatever color paints we wanted into the bag (no special technique...just squirt away!) and sealed up the bag trying to get most of the air out. We then showed the kiddos how to move the paint around inside the bag by placing their hands on top and helping them with hand-over-hand. When they were all finished we took out the canvas and let it dry and you have a Baby Picasso Painting!

The nice thing is it is pretty much mess-free other than when you have to take it out of the bag which us Mommies got some paint on us but none that a little water couldn't cure. It was a fun, easy and quick craft and a little piece of art to put in the house that was made with love! I love hand made things especially when it has to do with my little family!

 Hollyn working on her Masterpiece

Riley was quite the Little Picasso

Stella listening intently on how to do it

The finished products!!!

You can get creative with this craft too! Hollyn lost the attention span to keep doing it with her hands so I put the bag on the ground and would lift her up and down on it like she was hopping. If you do it with a little baby use their feet, hands, even their booties could work! There is no way to "screw" this up so be creative and most of all...have fun with your little one doing it!

After the craft...the kids got their play time on!!!

Happy Kids, Happy Krafting!!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Painted Decorative Sticks {Easy Peasy}

My friend and I had been shopping one day on 2nd Street and we went into a boutique and I commented on how cute their vases with black and white bamboo-like sticks were. Then we both said..."That would be so easy to do!"

So, still having the idea in my head off to Hobby Lobby I went (my new FAV craft store). I bought plain wood round dowels in different sizes.

I then wrapped tape around them from bottom to top not measuring at all between pieces of tape. I like it better when it isn't so perfect. 

 Let me tell you though holding that dowel between my knees was a real inner thigh workout...just an FYI if you want to kill two birds with one stone...workout and crafting...heck yes!

Next guessed it! Whip out the can of spray paint and go to town. I chose to stick with a flat black, but ultimately you could do any color. 

Once they are dry peel off your tape and....


You can then cut them all different heights if you want to stagger them in a vase. I added mine to the branches I already had, but I think I am going to put them into a clear vase so you can really see them.

See...Easy Peasy!

Monday, March 11, 2013

An Adorable Little Girl, A Handsome Man That I Call Hubby And A Beautiful Weekend

This past weekend was great to say the least. It was relaxing and we had beautiful Southern Cali weather. It was spent with my little family, extended family and friends.

I've been trying to do Friday Fun Days with Miss Hollyn and do something fun together. I usually try to get out of the house and go do something other than run errands since she doesn't quite enjoy that...or shopping for that matter. This past Friday we went to the La Habra Children's Museum. It was a great time! First, it only cost $8 to get in; Second, kids under 2 are free; Third, Hollyn got to run around like a crazy woman without hearing the word "NO." Well, maybe that was an exaggeration...she heard it a couple times when she tried to take a toy from another kid or tried to move a kid out of the way so she could "drive" the car. But for the most part she got to do what she wanted, climb on what she wanted and full-on have a field day in a completely kid zone! Now, Hollyn is only one, so I could see where this place could get boring for older kids, but for her it works. And its cheap and she hasn't even come into the phase of really playing so I think we will be getting a lot of use of this place and their cars, grocery shopping, and dress up!

We started our Friday Fun Day out right!

Her favorite...banging on the piano and making music. Loved listening to it. 

Look! A dinosaur! 

This is what happens when I try to use the family bathroom and I can't see her for a split second...ahh!!! I may be going grey soon!

On Saturday we had a nice breakfast with my mom and my aunt at Mimi's. It was spent most of the time trying to keep Hollyn entertained (not as much fun to take a toddler to a restaurant these days). We then got to go do some shopping! Woo Hoo! And I actually bought myself something instead of Hollyn, because she is always way more fun to shop for!

Sunday was the perfect day with my little family. We went to church and heard a great sermon, came home, had some snacks and then headed to Centennial Farm at the OC Fairgrounds. So I thought the Children's Museum was a great deal....this place is FREE!!! That's right...FREE!!!! What can you get for free these days? Well, let me tell you! You get a wonderful day with your family looking at so many cute farm animals from llamas, to goats, to pigs, to baby cows (my favorite)! They have calfs there that you can pet and did I say that that was my favorite part?! I kinda have a thing for cows! And I may have had more fun than Hollyn. But Hollyn was pretty intrigued with petting them and looking into the chicken coup. They also have a garden there with all different veggies planted and we sat on a brick wall and Hollyn had lunch and we enjoyed the beautiful day and scenery. After we went across to the swap meet and walked around.



We came home and washed the dogs...Hollyn was helping.

Our Sunday ended with a good night with friends playing a really fun new game called Knock 31. Try will love it!

I couldn't have asked for a better weekend! Now...until next weekend!