My 3 Monsters: January 2015

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$200 Lush Decor GIVEAWAY

Giveaway prize provided by Lush Decor. As always, all opinions expressed are 100% my own.

Lush Decor Giveaway at /
Hi guys!  I'm really excited to share today's post with y'all. You know how much I love a good room makeover, right?  Well, today I'm offering one of you guys the chance to makeover a room in your home with $200 at Lush Decor.  I hear what you're saying right now . . .  "Can anyone really makeover a room with $200?!"  The answer is a resounding YES!!!

Lush Decor CEO and founder, Jenny Zhu, created the company because she aspired to create affordable home fashion that can be enjoyed through all the phases of your life. They pride themselves in offering a wide range of designs and workmanship to help you create your own “look” and lifestyle.  At Lush Décor they believe that great designs at terrific values will always trump something that is ordinary and very promotionally priced.You can find their products in retail stores like Kohl's and Bed, Bath & Beyond. 

I've thrown together a few mood boards to give you an idea of the rooms you can create for about $200 with products from Lush Decor {and a few added accessories}:

Lush Decor Giveaway at /
I have been sprucing up the room my two teenage sons share lately, so I have boys' bedrooms on the brain.  I love gray and orange as a color combo for them.  Pick up the Lux 6 piece Comforter set, a pair of Stripe Blackout Curtains, and a pair of orange Trellis Decorative Pillow Shells and you'll have the basics for this fum boy's room.  Add a few super hero prints and a marquee letter {that you can make yourself!} and you'll be all set!

Lush Decor Giveaway at /
For a master bedroom that strikes a perfect balance between masculine and feminine, with a little nautical flair, all you need is the Avon 3 piece Comforter Set in white and a pair of Sophie Pillow Cover Shells in navy blue.  White walls and some nautical artwork are all you need to add to finish off the look.

Lush Decor Giveaway at /
I can't leave my daughter out of the decorating-fantasy-fun!  For a super chic teenage girl's room you'll need the Addington 3 piece Quilt Set, with a Berlin quilt folded up at the foot of the bed.  {Lots of bedding options are a bonus!} Throw in a pair of ruffly Belle Window Curtains and some vintage Audrey Hepburn movie posters to keep it playful and feminine.  

Everybody wins with Lush Decor.  Use discount code LOVELUSH1 to receive 10% off any order.  Visit Lush Decor to see what fun combos you could come up with if you are the winner of the giveaway then come back and enter below!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Have a great day, friends!



Home Made Soft Pretzels

Easy Home Made Soft Pretzel recipe at /
Hi guys!  One thing you may or may not know about me is that I LOVE finger foods. Really. Anything you can eat with your hands is A-OK in my book and, in fact, highly preferred to a meat-and-potatoes type meal. We all have our quirks, right?  Every so often I get a hankering for a good soft pretzel with cheese sauce for dipping.  The problem is, I'm not a big fan of the frozen variety you find at the grocery store and I have a real aversion to going to the mall.  {More quirks.}  A few months ago I was so desperate for one I almost went to see a movie just because I knew I could get a pretzel at the theater. I finally tracked one down in the Target cafe, but it was only marginally better than the frozen kind.  

What I know now, that I wish I had known then, is that soft pretzels are SUUUUPER easy to make yourself and they taste divine straight out of the oven!  So, just in time for Super Bowl Sunday when pub/finger foods abound, I'm sharing this little secret with y'all. 

Easy Home Made Soft Pretzel recipe at /

Home Made Soft Pretzels

For dough:
1½ C. warm water
1 Tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. salt
1 pkg. active dry yeast
4½ C. flour
¼ C. butter, melted

To make pretzels:
10 C. water
2/3 C. baking soda
2 Tbsp. butter, melted
Kosher salt {for sprinkling on top}

Combine the first four ingredients in the bowl of a mixer.Allow to sit for several minutes so the yeast can activate and get all foamy.  Using the dough hook, mix in the flour and ¼ C. of butter until the dough forms and pulls away from the sides of the bowl.

Cover the mixing bowl and allow dough to rise in a warm place until double in bulk.  {It usually takes about 1 hour.}

Preheat oven to 450º.  Bring water and baking soda to a boil in a large pot.

Easy Home Made Soft Pretzel recipe at /

Divide dough into 8 equal pieces.  Roll each piece into a long rope {about 12 inches} and twist into pretzel shape.

Easy Home Made Soft Pretzel recipe at /
Place pretzels, one at a time, into the boiling water for 30 seconds each.  It seems weird, but I promise they won't fall apart!  Remove with a slotted spoon and place onto a baking sheet. {Line baking sheet with parchment paper if you are worried about them sticking.}  Brush tops with butter and sprinkle with Kosher salt.

Easy Home Made Soft Pretzel recipe at /
Easy Home Made Soft Pretzel recipe at /

Bake for 15 minutes or until nice, golden brown.

Easy Home Made Soft Pretzel recipe at /
To make a super easy Cheese Dipping Sauce, just melt a small chunk of Velveeta {I usually cut off a slice as wide as two of my fingers} with about 2 Tbsp. milk in a small bowl in the microwave.  

These are the softest, yummiest, buttery-est pretzels you will eat in your life.  It's probably a good thing the recipe only makes 8 because I could eat a whole batch!   I mean, I never have . . . but I've sure thought about it.

Have a great week, friends!



Printable Valentines Ideas

Hi guys!  Valentine's day is right around the corner and I miss the days of making Valentine's for my kids' classes.  I mean, I love having teenagers, but they aren't super enthused about passing out cards anymore.  I've taken to giving Valentines to my own friends just for fun.  Today I've thrown together a quick roundup of some of my favorite Valentines here on My 3 Monsters over the past few years.

Bag of Chips Valentines at /

You Blow Me Away Valentines at /

Valentine's Checklist at /

Wood Grain Valentines at /

I Love You "Sew" Much Valentines at /

Vintage Valentines Printables at /

Have a good one, y'all!



Faux Pallet Art Printable at Craftaholics Anonymous Today

Hi guys!  Today I'm sharing my last project over at Craftaholics Anonymous as part of the creative team. *sniff, sniff*  It's a little bit sad.  This year has gone by so quickly!  As my "last hurrah" I designed this printable world map that looks like the trendy pallet art you'll see all over Pinterest. As an added bonus, you get the Photoshop makeover of my living room to see how I'll be using this printable in my home! 

Have a great day, friends!



Dylan's Magic Money Box
{How to Gift Money the Fun Way!}

Hi guys!  Saturday was my youngest kiddo's 13th birthday.  I always feel a little bit bad for him having a birthday right after the holidays.  Everyone is all celebrated out and he has just received a bunch of new gifts.  He NEVER gives us any ideas of what to get for him.  This year when asked what he wanted for his birthday, he said,"I don't know.  Something awesome, I guess."  Thanks, bro.

I'm a huge champion for giving "real" gifts, but over the years we have given up and just started giving him cash.  That way he can save it until the newness of his Christmas gifts wears off and something else strikes his fancy.  I refuse to just slap some cash in a card and call it a day, however.  We try to find fun ways to give it to him -- the sillier, the better.  One year I slipped the bills in between the layers of a roll of toilet paper so he had to unroll the whole thing and make a mess to get it.  This year we decided to make a Magic Money Box.

I got a bunch of small bills -- some ones, fives, and tens -- and taped them together end to end with scotch tape to make one long strip of money.  I attached a post-it note that said PULL to one end. Then I wrapped a small box and cut a slit in the top with an exacto knife (3 inches long by 1/4 inch wide).  In the picture above, the slit is hidden by the bow.  Carefully feed the strip of money into the box, starting with the end opposite the post-it note.

It was super fun to watch his smile get bigger and bigger as he pulled the money out of the box.  He couldn't believe that it just kept coming!  While it would irritate me to no end getting that many one dollar bills, it didn't bother him a bit.

I love that Goofy kid! 

Have a great day!



DIY Memo Board with Michaels Spring Wood Surfaces

I wrote this post as part of a paid campaign with Plaid Crafts, Michaels and Blueprint Social. The opinions in this post are my own.
DIY Memo Board at /
Hi guys!  One of my favorite things to do when I have a little free time is to wander around Michaels craft store by myself and soak up the creativity.  I almost always leave with supplies for at least one project and a brain overflowing with ideas for future projects!  I am always especially inspired by their wood surfaces -- all those cute scroll-y frames and curly letters -- so I was really excited to accept a challenge to create something special with Michaels Spring Wood Surfaces.  

To make a fun DIY Memo Board you will need:

2 wood frame shapes -- one more simple and one more ornate
craft paint
coordinating scrap book papers
matte finish Mod Podge
mini clothespin
foam brushes
sand paper
baker's twine and washi tape

DIY Memo Board at /
Being a sucker for the intricate laser-cut designs, I started with these pretty Spring Wood Surfaces. While they were all cool individually, I thought they might be especially interesting if I layered them.

DIY Memo Board at /
Begin by using Mod Podge to attach scrapbook paper to the front of your larger wood frame.  Paint a thin layer of Mod Podge onto the frame, then place frame face-down onto paper.  Flip the frame and paper over and adhere the paper by gently rubbing the surface of the paper to remove all wrinkles and air bubbles.  Flip the frame back over and use a craft knife to cut around the edges and remove excess paper.  Paint another thin layer of Mod Podge over the entire front surface of the frame to seal the paper.  Set aside and allow to dry.

DIY Memo Board at /
Paint the smaller frame with craft paint and a sponge brush.  I actually painted mine red first, followed by a couple coats of light turquoise after the red had dried.  When the turquoise paint had dried, I gently sanded the edges with a fine grit sandpaper to antique it a tiny bit.

DIY Memo Board at /
Once both frames have dried, use a little bit of hot glue or craft glue to attach the smaller frame on top of the larger frame, centering it with the larger frame opening. To hold it in place while the glue dried, I placed a few heavier items on top.  I also used a little craft glue to attach the mini clothespin to the top of the frame.

DIY Memo Board at /
You could stop right there, but I thought it would be extra fun to add a mini pennant bunting made out of coordinating scrapbook paper and bakers twine.

DIY Memo Board at /

When it was all finished, I took it to work and placed it on the shelf in my office. {Right next to my giant set of teeth and toothbrush.  Yep.}  I love the vintage feel it has and I can use it to hold a picture of my kiddos or a favorite quote.  With the clothespin I can change it out whenever the mood strikes!

DIY Memo Board at /
For more great project inspiration, find Plaid Crafts here:

The Plaid Palette Blog: - The Plaid Palette is a source of inspiration with news about new product introductions, project ideas, tutorials from Plaid’s craft experts and giveaways. 
Newsletter: - Sign up for Plaid’s email newsletter for special coupons, project ideas and more! 
YouTube: - Plaid’s YouTube channel features videos with product demonstration, special seasonal projects and ideas from top Craft Experts. 
Pinterest: "#"plaidcrafts 
Instagram: "#"plaidcrafts - A look into daily life at Plaid and project inspiration. 
Twitter: "#"plaidcrafts 
Google+: "#"+PlaidOnline

Happy Crafting, friends!



2015 Planner Printables

2015 Printable Planner at /
Hi guys!  If you are visiting today from Craftaholics Anonymous for the rest of the 2015 calendar and planner printables, WELCOME!  I am so excited for the New Year.  I love the way everything seems fresh and new and brimming with potential in January.  I’m not much of a resolution maker, but I am a planner.  I love a good to-do list and a calendar full of deadlines.  And I absolutely ADORE getting a new day planner every January. For the past several years I have designed my own planner that is custom made for exactly the way I like to work.  In the early years I was highly focused on the cuteness and less on the functionality. Gradually I tweaked the design, first dialing the cuteness waaaay down  in favor of practicality, then dialing it back up a little bit to find a happy balance.   

I have finally come up with something that really seems to work.  It’s not too expensive and it keeps my whole life – blog, meal planning, to-do lists, and calendar – all in one place with a little extra space to jot down ideas and stuff.  It’s big enough that I can keep track of every member of my family, but not so big that it is burdensome.

2015 Printable Planner at /

Let me give you a tour of this fun new planner.  First of all, it has calendar pages for every month of the year so I can see my whole month at a glance.  I find that important so I don’t over-schedule myself one week or plan time-consuming projects too close to important family events.  I have these pages printed in color on card stock at my favorite print center {Staples – those guys are awesome}.  The card stock pages act as dividers so I can flip easily between months in the planner.  You can download the 12 calendar pages over at Craftaholics Anonymous right now.

2015 Printable Planner at /

In between the monthly pages, I have these weekly page spreads.  These are awesome because they allow me to break my big goals and projects down into do-able daily tasks, while keeping track of my kids’ and husband’s schedules as well.  The boxes on the far left allow me to plan my blog posts for the week.  If you are not a blogger, those would be great for tracking your goals, planning  projects, or recording memorable events each week.  Of course there’s the to-do list section, the spaces to record my daily tasks and deadlines, and then a box at the bottom right for my menu plan.

2015 Printable Planner at /

Since not every month is exactly 4 weeks, I have a file you can download for the 4-week months {February, March, May, June, August, October & November this year}, and another file for the 5-week months {January, April, July, September & December this year}.  I love writing on graph paper – it’s one of my quirks – so I have offered a graph paper and a plain paper option as well.

2015 Printable Planner at /

Because blogging is my “job” – actually my other job, after school nursing – I also have a page every month to track my income and stats.  You can add those pages if you find them helpful or leave them out if you don’t. 

There is also a cover page:

2015 Printable Planner at /

Since some of the pages are color and some are black and white, I had them all printed at Staples first:

the 12 month calendar in color on card stock
7 of the 4 week file in black and white on regular paper
5 of the 5 week files in black and white on regular paper 
the cover image in black and white on card stock

Then I arranged everything exactly how I wanted it and finished by having it all spiral bound.  The whole thing cost about $20.  I can scribble away in this planner to my heart’s content and keep myself completely moderately organized. {I’m only human after all!}

Have a wonderful New Year, friends!


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