Happy Meal Makeover

I had a fun opportunity to go to McDonald’s for a preview of the new Happy Meals! The girls and I were excited to see what McDonald’s had done to the classic kids favorite! Soon in all Happy Meals here’s what you can expect…

Darling, as in the cutest little fries box you have ever seen, child sized fries, apple dippers and an option for 1% chocolate milk!

Researched showed that even when Apple Dippers were offered as an option in the Happy Meal only 11% of time were they ever swapped out! Seems as though the mighty French Fries reigned supreme!

Now in the new Happy Meals apples and fires coexist making your kids meal a more well rounded meal! My girls love the apples and the fires so of course this new option was a hit with them! Put apples in front of most kids and they will eat them right up! One more healthy serving of fruit! I say well done, McDonald’s!

These new Happy Meal Makeovers are starting up in different parts of the nation at different times! Look for them soon in your neck of the woods!

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De-Seeding a Pomogranate

I posted this tutorial two years ago and as I de-seeded my first pom of the season I thought it would be a good idea to share it again seeing how this technique saved my life…

 

‘Tis the season for delicious Pomegranates! If you are anything like me the idea of this Sweet Cold treat is mouthwatering but the effort it takes to enjoy them is daunting and not worth the hassle! And the mess! YIKES!!That was until a few years ago when I learned how to PROPERLY De-seed these tantalizing little gems! Once I learned this easy trick Pomegranate Season put a new spring in my step!

Here’s the”How To” low down on how to prepare a Pomegranate for Proper Consumption!
(I properly consume them by the fist full!)

First you’ll make your one and only cut into the fruit. Cut the top off of your Pomegranate just barely cutting into and exposing the red fruit.


Next you’ll submerge your fruit in a bowl of room temp to cold water.
(Basically whatever cool temp is comfortable for your hands!)

Now you’ll start to pull apart the fruit while you hold it under water. This keeps it from spitting red juice that stains like crazy and causes you to curse in your mind! It also makes it easy to expose the gems and brush them off of their membrane.
You’ll find that the seeds sink to the bottom of the bowl and the pieces of white membrane float to the top! This makes it super easy to scoop the white pieces out leaving behind just the fruit! Clever huh!

And there you have it! In just a minute or two you will have de-seeded an entire Pomegranate!

And to keep them fresh and easy to enjoy simply drain the seeds and spreed them onto a plate lined with a few sheets of paper towel.Dry them and keep them in an air tight Tupperware container in the Refrigerator.

They will last for over a week if stored correctly but to be honest with you you’ll most likely eat them way before the week is up!!

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How to shred chicken in less than a minute

Let’s just say that not everything on Pintereset can be replicated with huge success. The above photo illustrates a “PINTEREST FAIL” when I tried to make cookie bowls on the outside of my mini bunt pan! Wah-wah-wah!!!

Did that total fail keep me from trying other new techniques I learn about on Pinterest? No! And thank heavens it didn’t becasue I think my life will forever be changed because of this little ditty….

“How to shred Chicken in your KitchenAid” originally shared by Simply Healthy Family.

Who knew? Who knew I was shredding chicken wrong all these years! No more wasting time shredding chicken with two forks! It’s all about the KitchenAid!

Shred Chicken in less then a minute! Place whole cooked chicken breast hot from the pan or boiling water and place them into your KitchenAid with the beater attachment.

Add your splatter guard if you have one and turn that bad boy on to a medium setting for about 45 sec.

And like magic you get shredded chicken in seconds! Hello time saver! Looks like Chicken Enchilada’s are making the menu more often thanks to this technique!

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Pinterest love: Mason Jars

The classic Mason! It has endless possibilities and I am so in love with how Pinterest has become a great place to find Mason Jar goodness! Have you ever done a search? I am in love with these charming little jars and to see them through the eyes of others has been simply inspirational! Check out some my favorite Pinterest Mason Jar finds and see how others have put them to great use!

This repurposed mason jar dispenser caught my eye pined from the “Tickled Pink Goods” etsy shop! Don’t you love it when you find something so pretty and find out you can buy it!

How darling is this Lemonade bar with Mason Jars and darling striped straws. Oh I am dying over the dresser display! Having the Mason Jars in the drawers is my favorite part! This pin was found via Lucy Dylan Weddings blog! Such a beautiful site!

Both of these great pins come from Homemade Simple. Organization is one of the first things I think of when I think of Mason Jars and I love how these ones were put to work to do just that!

And lastly this pin comes from Green Wellies! I loved how charming it was to use mason jars to hold your utensils! Too too cute!

Do you use Mason Jars in your decorating or crafting? I’d love to see what you’ve done. Tell me how you makes these classics a part of your style!

* If you pin any of these great ideas please follow the link to their original source and pin from their page! Thanks!

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Show and Tell with 3 Little Pixies Boutique

Happy Show and Tell day! Today’s wonderful sponsor is 3 Little Pixies and you are going to love them! Beautiful hand stamped jewelry! Let’s learn more about them, shall we…

Welcome to Three Little Pixies Boutique where one of a kind items are created just for YOU! Each piece is made by hand (my own!) to create something truly special for you and your loved ones.

Because of the handmade nature of my items no two items are exactly the same. Each piece is unique and one of a kind.

My name is Liz. I’m a stay at home mom to four wonderful children, three daughters (my three little pixies!) and a brand new baby boy! I’ve been married to my super fabulous (and supportive) husband for ten years. I love being able to create treasured keepsakes for moms, dads and their children. I will work with you one on one to create the perfect item for yourself or gift giving. I’m a one woman show and will take the time to create an item that brings your vision to life!

Three little Pixis has a great prize for one lucky reader…

Simply leave a comment in today’s comment section telling me what item you love in 3 Little Pixies etsy shop!

For additional entries you can Follow 3 Little Pixies on Facebook,  follow them on twitter, Follow Blue Cricket Design on Facebook, and help spread the word about this giveaway by blogging, tweeting or facebooking with a link back to this post! Leave one extra comment per extra entry!

Winner will be announced on BCD’s Facebook page next Wednesday! Good luck!

 

 

 

We’ll also do a 20% off code for BCD readers. You can use code BCDESIGN20. Code will be good until 11/20.

 

Time to get your link on! Have you created a fab project you want to show off!?! Link it here and get seen by thousands. I’ll often feature favorite links on Facebook and twitter and on my site so by linking you give me full permission to shout your praises and feature you and your post! Consider it FREE publicity!



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A Thankful tablecloth

 

During this time of year we seem to have thankful hearts! Why not turn our thankful attitude into a fun and functional reminder of all the things we have been blessed with, appreciate and want to celebrate this season! Creating a Thankful Tablecloth is an easy  way to get your entire family in on the fun.

Start by gathering your family and ask them to help you make a list of all the things they are thankful for! The more words the better! List loved ones names, special dates, personal luxuries, hobbies, vacation locations…the skies the limit!

Next….

Head on over to Lowe’s for your tablecloth supplies! YEP! Lowe’s! This darling project comes straight to you from Lowe’s! A drop cloth and some Sharpie markers and a steady and patient hand are all it takes to create this thankful look!

1. Drop cloths aren’t just for painting projects anymore! I have  a square table so finding table cloths that fit is already a difficult task for me! I love the natural color of these drop cloths and knew it would make a great starting point for this project! Lowe’s sells a 9′x6′ drop cloth for under $11. You will also need broad tip Sharpie Markers also sold at Lowe’s for under $3 for a two pack.

2. Cut your drop cloth to fit your tables need. In my case I made mine 6′x6′. Hem your cut edge.

3. You’ll want to iron out the creases in order to have a smooth writing surface.

4. Before laying out your drop cloth onto your table you will need to add butcher paper or newspaper to help avoid getting ink on your table.

Now comes the fun part! I started with my most important words! You’ll want to spread them out, have then face different ways and use different “fonts” when you write them! You’d think it would be hard to keep your printing straight but the thread grain make it super easy to keep your lines straight! You will adjust your printing size to fit sections of the drop cloth. Have words facing upside down and sideways! The more fonts and styles of writing the better!

And all of a sudden…4 hours later (Yes! This is a little time consuming but SOOO worth it!) you’ll have this awesome keep sake that will be a fun conversation piece and a lovely reminder of all the blessing you and your family have! And don’t freak out if you misspell a word or TWO in my case! I could have spit nails when I misspelled GRANDPARENTS and FOOTBALL! I know right! Trust me…do the writing with no distractions! Don’t be talking on the phone or helping your 2nd grader with homework! If it does happen just keep working! It will blend in and now you have a fun game to play at dinner…” Who can find the misspelled word!” Grab a prize or two for the winner!

Lastly I added this beautiful Quatrefoil Mirror also from Lowe’s for a centerpiece. I love the way it adds weight and reflection to this look!

 

My girls loved finding their names and all the words that they suggested! Certain things that tug at my own heart strings are my wedding date, special friends, vacations and inside jokes! It really was a fun way to realize how blessed I truly am! I hope you and your family can create a table cloth as meaningful as this is is to us!

 

Thanks Lowe’s for being a hot spot for inspiration! After reading the latest issue of Lowe’s Creative Idea’s magazine I was totally inspired to get my Holiday craft on! Have you guys signed up for the FREE Lowe’s Creative Ideas Magazine yet? This free publication is beyond amazing! I have never seen such creative ways to put unsuspecting items to create beautiful holiday decor! You can get a peek at what I’m talking about here online but be sure to sign up for the free Creative Ideas Magazine so you can get inspired as well!

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Cultivating a love of art in kids

One of the most asked questions I get is how do I get so many projects done with a house full of kids? And my answer… GET THEM INVOLVED! It not only allows me to have time to be creative but more importantly it helps me encourage them to be creative, express themselves and develop their talents. It also helps them understand the creative process and in my opinion it’s never to early to have a love of art!

At my kids elementary school they are lucky enough to hav ethe PTA sponsored “Reflections” art program. Each year there is a theme and every student is encouraged to enter an art project. This years theme was “Diversity Means” and this is my Blue Birds project titled ” Every Gardens Different.” She did this all my herself, even the hot glue, she was supervised of course and she was so proud of it! It was a treat to see her do each step and get more excited as it came together!

She was so excited to turn in her art work! I hope that as my kids grow up they will will have fun  memories of being creative!

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Photo Tips with Emilie: Accessories under $100


Gift giving season is upon us.  Here are 10 fantastic photography accessories under $100.  Happy Shopping!!

Keeping your lens clean is so important to the sharpness and quality of your images.  This cleaning kit is only $15.90 on Amazon.  Here is a video on how to clean your lens.  Happy Cleaning :)

The harsh and direct light produced by the on camera flashes is so unflattering.  This Soft Screen Pop-Up Flash Diffuser softens and diffuses the light.  It’s only $11.95 on Amazon.

This program does 90% of what the full version of Photoshop does, but at a tiny fraction of the cost of the full professional version.  Only $89.99 on Amazon.

If you have Photoshop you Must have my action set.  It comes with a Color, BandW, Vintage & Soft color action.  Have Elements?  No trouble, it comes with step by step on running the actions in Elements.  Only $30.00 on my blog.

This little flash is 90% as good as the Canon/Nikon flash and comes at less than one-fifth the price.  I have one of these flashes and love it.  The YN-560 works on both Canon or Nikon cameras.  Only $68.64 on Amazon.

This Rain Cover is perfect for the upcoming winter snow storm photos.  You can buy a permanent one for more money, but I like the cheapies since they are so small and portable.  Only $5.99 on Amazon.

I LOVE LOVE LOVE my reflector.  I use my constantly!!  My favorite is the 32″ White/Soft Gold.  Click here for read a tip I wrote on my blog.  Only $55.42 on Amazon.

If you haven’t learned all the thousands of keyboard shortcuts in Photoshop, you’ll love these little stickers that go on your keyboard to remind you of the shortcuts until you memorize them.  Using shortcuts have saved my years of my life!!  Only $6.96 on Amazon.

A Tripod is a must have if you’re taking photos of products, home improvement projects, food or crafts.  It allows you to use a slower shutter & brightens up your images.  Only $28.64 on Amazon.

A clean camera is a happy camera.  These non-abrasive and lint free wipes are perfect for cleaning your camera.   Only $10.14 on Amazon.

Learn to use many of these nifty accessories during my Online and Salt Lake workshops.
Click Here to learn all about my photography education options.

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Pinterest Love: Fall is in the air!

Fall is my absolute favorite time of year! The changing colors, the smells of spice, the cozy home life! It’s almost too much! I have been Falling for Fall all month and am thrilled to show you some of my favorite Fall finds from Pinterest…

 

These Pumpkin Cream pies from Tasty Kitchen are such a distraction! Really, how am I ever going to get this post done when all I want to do is go and make these!

 

How cute is this Fall checklist found over on The High Heel Hostess! Love these fun fall activities!  Who wouldn’t love checking off these things!

 

Pam Garrison shares this beautiful Fall Felt garland! Felt and I are having an affair right now just so you know! This is so charming!

 

I fell in love with the mantle above this stove and Julie form  Less then perfect life of Bliss decorates it perfectly for Fall! I love how she used the bold splash of Turquoise! Yep, it’s my favorite color year round too!

Simple Fall decor is what resonates with me best and these beautiful Fall framed art I just adore from Dream Home!

 

How darling are these fabric Acorns made by Zemphira’s Creations! I can’t get over how cute they are!

Centsational Girl shares her skills in creating a beautiful Fall porch with a fun tutorial on how to make this glazed pumpkin topiary!

 

And of course it would be Fall without a warm and tasty Fall treat! These Scones looked irresistible from Sweet Peas Kitchen!

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Show and Tell with Winter Moon by mindy Gledhill!

It’s no secret that I adore Mindy Gledhills music! Her Anchor CD is like a 4th child in this home! My girls and I can dance to it all afternoon so when I had a chance to preview her newest release “Winter Moon” I jumped at the chance and eagerly awaited it’s arrival!

“Winter Moon” is a collection of Christmas classics and new favorites with the Mindy Gledhill twist that we all love!  It’s a nostalgic walk down memory lane with classic favorites like ” Santa Clause is coming to Town” and “Silent Night” and “Winter Moon” is such a beautiful new song I’m sure it will become a new seasonal favorite in our home.

This is the perfect way to ring in the Christmas Holiday season! “Winter Moon” will ignite memories of Christmas pasts while being the modern anthem for the holidays to come!

Want to get a copy of your own? You can preview and listen to “Winter Moon” on iTunes and then purchase your own copy here! $9.99 is all it takes!

But Mindy is all kinds of wonderful and she wants to give one lucky Blue Cricket Design reader a FREE copy of ” Winter Moon!”

Want to win? Just leave a comment in today’s comments section telling me what your all time favorite Christmas song is and you are entered to win!

For additional ways to enter to win you can do any of the following. Please leave one extra comment per additional entry…

1. Follow Mindy Gledhill on facebook and say hello on her wall!

2. Follow Mindy on twitter and send out a little howdy tweet!

3.Blog , tweet or FB about this giveaway with a link back to this post!

 

The winner will be picked and announced on Wednesday November 16th on the Blue Cricket Designs Facebook page!

Thanks Mindy for being so freakin’ awesome! You can see more of Mindy’s awesomeness by visiting her blog!

Time to get your link on! Have you created a fab project you want to show off!?! Link it here and get seen by thousands. I’ll often feature favorite links on Facebook and twitter and on my site so by linking you give me full permission to shout your praises and feature you and your post! Consider it FREE publicity!



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