My 3 Monsters: June 2014

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It's All Good -- Our Favorite Summer Heat Buster!

This shop is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and Fruttare, but all my opinions are my own. #itsallgood #pmedia

Fruttare frozen fruit bars at /

I know I've said it before, but I feel like it bears repeating . . . it is BLAZING HOT here in Arizona!!  Like, you have no idea.  I had no idea until we moved here 12 years ago.  It still takes me by surprise. Every. Single. Summer.  You brace for the heat.  You know it's coming -- you really do -- but there is a point every year where you step out of your air conditioned home and the heat almost knocks the wind out of you. That's when you wonder why it is that you have chosen to live on the surface of the sun.  Being "Valley of the Sun" veterans, we know the keep-it-cool routine:  tons of ice water, daily swimming {sometimes multiple times} and Fruttare frozen fruit bars!

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The Sauder Experience & My Dining Room

Hi guys! Today is a fun day for me. I get to share a really great product from a really great company with y'all. I love furniture! I read furniture catalogs like they're magazines and I keep old copies with dog-eared pages for years. It's the interior designer in me, I guess. So, of course I JUMPED at the chance to partner with Sauder, North America's leading producer of ready-to-assemble furniture and the nation's fifth-largest residential furniture manufacturer.

Sauder has an unbelievable selection of quality furniture pieces in a wide variety of styles, so it was difficult to narrow down my favorites. You can take advantage of Expedition Design on the Sauder website if you need help coordinating pieces to achieve your desired style. Not even sure what your style is? Click on the "Style Lab" tab and take the quiz to find your furniture style. That will give you an awesome jumping off point. The website is easy to navigate and the ordering process was simple.

I was drawn to the pretty "Rainwater" blue X-Back Dining Chairs, The dining set we bought years ago came with six gigantic chairs. In a larger house they would probably look awesome, but they are almost comically oversized in our tiny dining room. When people are sitting at the table it is nearly impossible to maneuver around them. Sauder's X-Back Chairs seemed like a much better scale for the space. I also LOVE that pale turquoise color, and have been wanting to bring a little more of it into the dining room and kitchen.

The furniture arrived quickly after I ordered it and I was really impressed with the care they took in packaging it to avoid damage in transit. {pic.1} Everything I needed to assemble the furniture was right in the box {pic.2}-- no missing parts -- and the instructions were really clear and easy to follow. {pic. 3}

Within an hour I had a new set of dining chairs that were, by some miracle, an almost exact match to the color of my coffee table. Since the dining room and living room are open to one another I knew these chairs would help to tie the rooms together perfectly!

I gave you a sneak peek at the start of the post, but here are a few more photos of the finished dining room:

The chairs have a much lower profile than our old ones which really helps the space to feel wide open and airy. We only ordered 4 chairs, thinking that maybe we could mix in a couple of our old ones on the ends of the table, but I like these new chairs so much we're going to have to order another set. When I saw how open the room was with these new chairs, I couldn't bear to bring any of the big old ones back in.

With the tall old chairs removed, we have an unobstructed view out the front window from the living room, which I love. I'm super impressed with the quality of my new chairs. They are heavy for their size and really sturdy -- two hallmarks of a good dining chair. I couldn't be happier with my Sauder Experience!

In the next little while I'll be showing you a couple of other ways you could use these chairs to decorate your home in some unexpected ways. You won't want to miss it!

Have a great day, friends!


This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Sauder. The opinions and text are all mine.


Envelope-Flap iPhone Wallet

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Envelope Flap iPhone Wallet pattern at /
Hi guys!  My old iPhone wallet has gotten worn out, so I finally broke down and made a new variation on the original pattern.   I had this really cool fabric from Wholeport again -- another Vera Bradley print that I love -- which I thought would be perfect for a wallet.  Of the three iPhone wallets I have made, I think this one is my favorite.  I love the simple style of the envelope closure.  If you have about 1/4 yard of a favorite fabric, you can make one of these wallets, too, in less than an hour!

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Cheese Muffins with KRAFT #StandUpCheese

This post brought to you by KRAFT Natural Shredded Cheese and Safeway. All opinions are 100% mine.

Cheese Muffins recipe at /

Hello, friends!  One of the things I remember fondly about growing up in my family is the food we used to eat.  Is that strange?  One bite of my mom's sage stuffing and I'm instantly twelve years old again.  Another of my favorites were the cheese muffins that my brother, Casey, used to make.  It's an odd memory to me -- Casey baking muffins -- because it was so out of character for him, but, oh, those muffins.  So yummy.  I have tried to track down the recipe, but no one really remembers where it came from.  I've pinned several recipes on Pinterest, determined to find the right one.  This recipe is a little eggier than the ones I remember, but they were super delicious and satisfied my cheese muffin cravings.

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Delicious Buttermilk Pie

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Easy and delicious Buttermilk Pie recipe at /
Hi, y'all!  I mentioned before that my parents were in town last weekend.  We had such a good time visiting with them and playing card games non-stop.  My kids were in their "happy place" for sure!  They were here for Sydney's birthday so my mom made the most delicious pie as a treat.  I had never had buttermilk pie before so I wasn't really sure what to expect, but I'm generally game for anything creamy and covered in berries, so I had high hopes.  This pie did not disappoint!  

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Tie Dye Picnic Quilt

This post brought to you by Tulip Tie Dye.

Tie Dye Picnic Quilt at /
You guys!  I am so excited to share today's project with you!  I craft a lot -- like A LOT -- but I haven't ventured to try tie dye since I was in high school.  This summer I decided it was finally time give it a go {again} and make a cute picnic blanket for our family to keep in the back of the car and use on our adventures -- to the water park and the zoo mostly {we're not that adventurous}.  If you want to Tie Dye Your Summer, too, follow along and see how I did it!

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DIY Marquee Letters

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DIY Marquee Letters at /
Well, friends, we survived the Triple Sweet Sixteen party last night!  It was super fun, but I'm glad we have a couple of years before we have to do it again.  We feel so blessed that Sydney has such great friends in her life -- that's reason enough to celebrate every single day.  We decided, almost on a whim, to make these lighted marquee letters I've been eyeing on Pinterest for each of the birthday kids and I'm so glad we did!  They looked awesome lit up in the back yard as the kids watched a movie under the stars.  Sis loved hers so much, she's planning on hanging it in her bedroom now.  

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"Sweet 16" Beach Bash/Outdoor Movie Night Party Ideas

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Hi guys!  I was gone all last week spending time with family at my niece's high school graduation and visiting my grandparents since we can't make it to the BIG family reunion this summer.  It was tons of fun, but it's good to be back catching up with y'all here on the blog.  I got back home Friday afternoon, just in time to celebrate my daughter's Sweet 16 with her on Saturday.  I can hardly believe my baby girl is SIXTEEN years old!!!  

She is having a gigantic birthday party this week with two of her guy friends who also turned 16 last week, so I though I'd share some of the super fun "Sweet 16" Party Ideas we have been tossing around in preparation.  {Though, I'm told, boys don't have "Sweet 16's" -- they just have "birthdays".  My bad.  At least I won't make that mistake again in two years for Ri.}  Beach Bash / Outdoor Movie Night was the theme {if you can call it that} we decided on.  There are a million really cute, super-elaborate ideas on Pinterest for both of those ideas.  While we probably won't use all of these, here are a few of my favorites:

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Summery Bandana Wreath

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Super Easy $5 Bandana Wreath at /

It’s finally summer!!!!  Can I get a big Hooray?!  The kids are out of school and the  weather is warm.  It feels like a pretty good time to celebrate!  I am so looking forward to the next few months of lazy days with my kiddos, no schedules, swimming, and vacations.  Now is the perfect time to give your front door a cheerfully casual summer makeover with a Bandana Wreath.

I love wreath ideas that are quick and inexpensive.  That way I don’t feel guilty about changing my front door decor every month or so, with the season or the holiday.  I also like to be able to re-use some of the main wreath parts.  This wreath fits the bill on all counts!  It cost right around $5 and only took about 10 minutes from start to finish.  Plus, you will be able to re-use the wreath form for your future creations.  Let’s get started!

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Father's Day Gift Idea Today at Reasons To Skip The Housework

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Father's Day Inspiration at /
Hi guys!  Can you believe Father's Day is THIS SUNDAY?!  If you panicked like I did when you saw that, relax.  There is still plenty of time to make a gift for dad.  I'm sharing the tutorial for these funny grill aprons today over at Reasons To Skip The Housework. You can make them in just a few hours using freezer paper stencils, and they only cost a few bucks.  Buy dad a bottle of his favorite grilling sauce and a six pack of his favorite drink and you'll be all set for Father's Day!  Run on over to check it out.

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Thread Sketching & Bird Appliqué Pillows

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Bird Appliqé Pillow with Thread Sketching technique at /
Hi everyone!  Today we're going to talk about the pillow that was lurking in the background of the pictures of the Embroidered Feather Pillow I wrote about on Friday.   I've had this idea in my head for a while so I decided to finally give it a whirl.  Have you heard of "thread sketching"?  You basically make a sketch on fabric using your sewing machine instead of a pen or pencil.  I love the look of it, but I was afraid that it would be complicated or require some special equipment.  Turns out that neither of those assumptions were true!

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Embroidered Feather Pillows

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Embroidered Feather Pillows at /
Hi, guys!  It's summertime, which seems like the perfect opportunity to spruce up the front porch and bring in some brighter colors.  The crazy Arizona sun faded the Kanzashi-inspired flower pillow that has been on my bench for the past couple of months into nothingness, so I made sure to get some good outdoor fabric for this new coral  Embroidered Feather Pillow.  

I've done several embroidery projects lately, but, truth be told, I find embroidery a little tedious and I'm not very good at it.  I love the way it looks though, so I continue to plug away with my needle and thread.  Maybe one of these days I'll finally get it figured out!  As far as embroidery goes, these feathers are one of the least complicated, quickest things I have done -- perfect even for beginners. Or slackers, like me.

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Decorative Tea Towels on Craftaholics Anonymous® Today!

Decorative Tea Towels to add a punch of color to your kitchen at /
Hi, guys!  My post for Craftaholics Anonymous® is up a little early this month and I can't wait for y'all to see it!  I made some bright, fun {and kinda' funny} tea towels to add a pop of color in my kitchen.  They're easy to make, if you've got a little patience . . . Netflix doesn't hurt either.  Yep, if you have patience and Netflix, you, too, can fancy up your kitchen with these decorative tea towels! Run on over and check out the full tutorial today.  Be sure to come back tomorrow for a fun and easy decorative pillow project.  Fun and easy . . . I'm sensing a theme here . . .  {Or I need to get some new adjectives!}

Thanks for stopping by today!



KRAFT Cheesy Morning Pizza

This post brought to you by KRAFT Natural Shredded Cheese and Safeway. All opinions are 100% mine.

Cheesy Morning Pizza Recipe at /
Hi guys!  If you've taken one look at my recipes page, you can tell that we are a family of cheese lovers.  Like, the more the better and then some!  So I'm super excited to share this recipe from KRAFT with you today -- Cheesy Morning Pizza.  {Ummmm, you had me at Cheesy, KRAFT.  Yes, please.}  I love summer break because our mornings are a lot more relaxed and I can actually cook breakfast once in a while.  This Cheesy Morning Pizza was pretty easy to make, and all the ingredients are "staples" in our house so I don't have to plan ahead to make it.  It will be going into regular summer breakfast rotation, for sure.

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Soda Can Party Invitation {FREE Printable!}

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Soda Can and Candy Party Invitations with free printable labels at /
If I've said it once, I've said it a hundred times . . .  every good party starts with a great invitation!  You set the tone for the whole shindig by the way you invite people to it.  I like a good, flashy invitation -- usually with some kind of pre-party bribe gift involved.  {Remember my Super Bowl party invites?} We have made these soda can party invitations for several of our kids' birthday parties over the years and they are always a hit.  Plus, they're easy to make!!

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