Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Healthier Chocolate Peanut Butter Truffles



It's that time of year where there are literally cookies and desserts everywhere! It's so hard to resist. I fully  plan on indulging on some favorites here and there, but having few healthier options along the way can help keep the holiday bloat and sugar crashes from getting out of hand! ;) My favorite holiday treat is chocolate peanut butter truffles. They are just so delicious and small and way too easy to eat like 10 at once, so I decided to try a healthier version. 

I know chocolate isn't exactly healthy, but these aren't loaded with powdered sugar like many truffles, so they are not too high on the sugar scale. :)

Josy decided to taste test these while I was taking photos, so we rolled with it. Don't mind the smudged truffle, she tried to help herself to seconds haha! Don't worry, I did not let my baby eat a whole chocolate truffle! ;) Although, they were approved by her little taste buds!

Ingredients

1 Cup Pitted Medjool Dates
1/4 Cup Creamy Natural Peanut Butter (We use Skippy Natural)
1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
3/4 Cup Dark Chocolate Chips
1 Tsp Coconut Oil

1.  Grind dates, peanut butter, and vanilla together in a food processor. This is a very sticky combination, so it may take a few minutes to get everything smooth. I stopped the processor a few times to stir the mixture and I also used both the "chop" and "grind" settings on my processor. The goal is to chop the dates as finely as possible with minimal chunks. 

2. Line a small cookie sheet with wax paper. Roll tablespoon sized balls of the peanut butter mixture and lay an inch apart onto the cookie sheet. Refrigerate the balls for at least 2 hours. 

3. Microwave the chocolate chips and coconut oil in a microwavable bowl for 30 seconds. Stir and microwave for an additional 30 seconds. Remove from microwave and stir until smooth. 

4. Using a fork and spoon, dip the peanut butter balls into the melted chocolate while the balls are cold. The spoon can help cover the whole ball in chocolate. Life the ball out of the chocolate while its on the fork letting excess chocolate drain back into the bowl. 

5. Lay each chocolate covered ball back onto the wax paper spread an inch apart. Place the cookie sheet back into the fridge for 30 minutes. 

6. Once the chocolate has hardened, the truffles are ready to enjoy! We drizzled melted peanut butter on ours to spruce them up! Store in the fridge to keep from melting. Makes 12-15 truffles. 














Her face, I don't think she wanted to give it up! ;)

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Rent the Runway



This month I got to attend my cousin's gorgeous wedding at the Muse Farm in Breman, Georgia! It was a beautiful day and the venue was just perfect. I tried Rent the Runway for the first time and LOVED it!

Rent the Runway is an online one stop shop to rent clothing and jewelry for any event. I have been wanting to try it out and this was the perfect opportunity! I loved getting to wear a new dress without having to go out and buy one. Rent the Runway sends you 2 sizes of your dress, you get to keep it for 4 or 8 days, and just drop it by a UPS store when your event is finished! 

What I loved about the experience:
  • The site has countless dresses to choose from and helpful filters like body type and event type to use. 
  • You can read tons of reviews for each dress complete with photos and size, height and body type of others who have rented it. 
  • The dresses come in a garment bag on hangers so they are in great condition ready for the event.
  • Rent the Runway takes care of dry cleaning. You just drop the bag off with the already prepaid shipping label at your nearest UPS store! Easy!
  • You can rent a back up style dress! I loved my first choice in dress, but getting a second style puts your mind at ease that you will have options incase the first dress doesn't fit as hoped. 
My Tip: The only thing I would recommend when renting a dress is to bring a couple shoe options. Its easier to decide which shoes work best with a dress once you can try it on in person! ;)










I loved not having to stress about to wear to the wedding, especially while traveling! My sister also rented her dress from Rent the Runway and looked amazing! 


You can get $30 off your first rental by clicking on this link!



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Monday, November 20, 2017

Under $55 {+ a Group Gift Idea} Christmas Gift Guide for Him

I feel like the guys in our lives are the hardest to shop for sometimes! If you don't know much about the specific tools or equipment their hobbies involve, it can be hard to buy exactly what they like. To be honest, Wes usually has an idea of what I'm getting him because he sends me links to the tools or hunting gear he wants. ;) I try to get him a little something that is a surprise as well. ;)

I rounded up some Christmas gift ideas that could fit any kind of guy! I have seen several of these products before, and love these shops. Meaningful and personalized gifts are always winners for dads, husbands, boyfriends, brothers, grandfathers, uncles, or friends!

Almost all of these ideas are under $55! The exception is the Watercolor Home Portrait. I added it in anyways because its a favorite for Christmas, and a great gift to go in on with siblings or friends!

Scroll down for product links!


I love supporting other small businesses and makers! Many shops are hold big sales this weekend, so be sure to read the "shop announcements" of your favorite shops for coupon codes. ;) 

Happy Shopping! 


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Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Canva Tips for Christmas Cards, Social Media Graphics and more!

My friend Elissa is here today to share more about a great tool called Canva. She creates beautiful graphics for many different uses using the site. We love how our Christmas card turned out using our family photo by Misty D Photography. Thanks for sharing Elissa! 

Canva Tips For Christmas Cards, Facebook Posts, and more!

Why I use Canva?
Because it's simple and easy.
They give you tons of free templates!
AND it's completely customizable.

Things to know about Canva:
When using a template, the photos tend to be more difficult to edit/insert/resize.
Be aware that some templates, photos, and elements are not free but they have (in my opinion) enough free templates to choose from to help promote business!

Tip #1: Take time to explore Canva’s options 
You can make elements, adjust photo trancparency, resize, and edit/add filters. There are so many options to choose from it’d be great for you to take time to explore before you dive in

Tip #2 : Working with Layers
You’ll often find yourself having a hard time grabbing the furthest back layer. If this happens I’d
suggest bringing the back layer forward to edit and than push it back when you are finished.


Tip #3 : Have a Game Plan
After you are comfortable with Canva, have an idea of what you are going to do before you start. Canva is fun to play around with but there are so many options you can easily get caught up in switching the fonts, colors ex. – and that could potentially waste time if you’re trying to market.

Tip #4: Upload your own personal photos
 I would recommend doing this to add a personal touch but they do have a great search engine if you need to use some or add layers!



Tip #5 : Simple is always best 
Reminder of tip number 3, you can get caught up in all that Canva has to offer that you might make your graphic too noisy – I would recommend trying to keep your graphics simple and to the point.


If you are looking for an easy program to help market yourself without having to pay - I would highly recommend checking out Canva.

You can find Elissa and her gorgeous photography work on Instagram and Facebook!




Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Under $50 Christmas Gift Guide for Kids


Wes and I have had so much fun buying gifts for Joslynne so far! Especially now that she is old enough to play with toys and enjoy them! :) Our goal has been to choose gifts for her Christmas and birthday presents that are meaningful, timeless and will last for many years. We'd love for her to have some heirlooms to keep into adulthood to remember and also pass on! 

We have ordered or made ;) several of these gifts for her and love them! So, if your in the market for Christmas gifts for your niece/nephew, child, or grandchild, we wanted to share ideas we love. Each of these products is $50 or below!

Floppy-Eared Crochet Bunny
Personalized Wooden Handmade Swing
Wooden Toy Camera
Watercolor Initial
Teepee
Personalized Apron
Personalized Child's Stepstool
Waldorf Rainbow Wooden Peg Dolls
Personalized Story Book
Handmade Plush Doll
Bow and Arrow Set
Wooden Owl Toy
Unicorn Embroidery Hoop
Personalized Bucket List

Monday, October 30, 2017

Under $50 {+ a Group Gift Idea} Christmas Gift Guide for Her

I rounded up some of my favorite Christmas gift ideas for Her to share! I have ordered from most of these Etsy shops before, and loved these products. I love giving meaningful, pretty, and personal gifts  for friends, sisters and moms. 

Almost all of these ideas are under $50! The exception is the Watercolor Home Portrait. I added it in anyways because its a favorite for Christmas, and a great gift to go in on with siblings or friends!

Scroll down for product links!



I love supporting other small businesses and makers! A tip to keep in mind: many small shop owners make their products themselves and can sell out quickly during the holiday rush. So, if you're looking at ideas from etsy or other handmade products order early! ;) 

Happy Shopping! 


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Friday, October 27, 2017

Chicken Pot Pie


One of the things that helps keep us sane during busy weeks is having freezer meals ready to go. We usually pull out 2 meals we made previously per week. The easiest way for me to stock up on freezer meals is to make double of dinners that freeze well and freeze half. That way, it's one mess for multiple meals and not that much more work! 

A lot of our frozen entrées are soup or a whole pan of a dish. These are great, but not something Wes could grab for just himself for work or a night while we're out without defrosting the entire meal. I started making individual chicken pot hand pies right before I had Joslynne as an easy one person grab and go option. They are similar to hot pockets and easy to take on the go! Chicken pot pie is a great meal for me to get veggies into my husband! ;) I have even been adding some broccoli in addition to the typical pot pie vegetables and he loves them. 








Ingredients:
8 tbl butter
8 tbl flour
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups half and half
1/8 tsp black pepper
1 tsp salt
4 cups of chicken cooked and shredded or cubed
1 1/2 package of frozen carrots and peas
1 small onion, chopped
4 pie crusts (I doubled this recipe)
Egg for egg wash (I like this article about different ways to do an egg wash and their effects on your pastries)

Makes about 8-10 pies depending on how full you make them. ;)


Directions:
Heat oven to 425°F.  
Melt butter in saucepan over low heat.  
Sauté onion, then add flour salt and pepper.  
Cook over low heat, stirring continuously until smooth and bubbly.  
Remove from heat.  Stir in broth and cream then heat to boil.  
Stir in vegetables and chicken.  
Roll out pie dough on a floured surface to 1/4" thick. Cut circles out using a soup bowl as a guide.
Lay each circle on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper. 
Spoon pie filling onto one half of each circle of dough. Be sure to leave enough space to close the pie. 
Fold over the remaining dough and press edges together with a fork.
Cut 2 small slits in the top with a knife. 
Brush egg wash over the top of each pie.  
Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until crusts are golden brown. I usually check at around 15 and 20 minutes just because each oven is different. All the ingredients inside are cooked, so as soon as your crust looks good, you're fine to take the pies out!

As I mentioned above, I add other vegetables sometimes like broccoli or potatoes. Add whichever vegetables you like best! What are your favorite freezer meals?

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Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Our Experience with Puppies for Rent

 


We recently found out about Puppies for Rent and just had to try it! Puppies delivered to you to play with by the hour? Yes please! Our sister in law who loves pups has a birthday coming up, and we were looking for the right gift, so this was perfect timing! 





Here's how it works:

You can choose to rent one or more puppies by the hour. You pick from available date and time slots and specify where within the delivery radius you'd like the puppies delivered. Someone from Puppies for Rent will meet you with the puppies and everything they need! Then, the puppies are yours to love on until your time is up!


The Goal:
The goal of Puppies for Rent is to find homes for the puppies they take in. Renting pups is a great way to see if you are good fit for adoption. The puppies are in foster homes until they are adopted. Puppies for Rent has helped find homes for over 250 dogs! Its a great cause! 


Our Experience:
Our experience was awesome! Puppies for Rent was so easy to work with. We had 2 puppies delivered right to the park we were at with our family. It worked perfectly for a surprise! 


The puppies we got to play with were just the sweetest. One was a border collie/husky mix, and the other border collie/austrailian shepherd. We were given leashes, a toy, and potty bags for them. They were little enough to stay right by us and play in the grass. Puppies for Rent also offers to have someone stay with your or to rent a puppy gate if you'd prefer. 


This was such a fun way to spend the afternoon and worked perfectly as a gift. It was nice to have something to do outdoors that you don't get to do everyday. Its a perfect way to get your puppy fix if you don't have a dog, or if you just can't get enough puppy loving time! 


I love the idea of renting a puppy if you're looking for a dog to join your family. Its a great way to see if different breeds would be a good fit for you, and possibly even meet the perfect match to adopt!







Josy's face when they tried to lick her cracks me up!











Joslynne loves animals but gets a little scared of larger dogs still. This was perfect for her!






She loved cuddling this little pup! (Don't mind my backwards necklace! The fact that it looks right in the mirror gets me every time! ;)



I would definitely recommend Puppies for Rent whether its just for an afternoon activity, or if you're looking for a puppy to call your own. We can't wait to rent our next pup!

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