Thursday, December 17, 2015

home made chex mix…one my husbands favorites

my husband asks me to make home made chex mix every year around the holiday season. it's one of our favorite and festive snack foods. once you make it yourself the store-bought bags just do not cut it. i use the chex mix recipe on the back of their box as my base but as you all know i always make recipes my own based on the flavors we enjoy…so a little more worcestershire sauce, more garlic powder and of course more butter. kids love to help with this and its so easy to get them involved. 

4 cups of corn chex
4 cups of wheat chex
4 cups of rice chex
2 cups of mixed nuts
2 cups of pretzels 
2 cups of garlic flavored bagel chips broken up
2 cups of regular flavor cheerios (sometimes i add these too they are optional)
16 tablespoons of butter (2 sticks)
4 tablespoons of worcestershire sauce (maybe more)
1 1/2 teaspoons of season salt (my favorite is tastefully simple)
1 teaspoon of garlic powder
3/4 teaspoon of onion powder 

1. in a very large bowl, mix cereals, nuts, pretzels and bagel chips. in a secondary small microwaveable bowl melt butter for about one minute or until melted. Stir in all seasonings well. Pour over dry mixture and ensure an even coating. i use my hands to fold and toss the cereal. it will seem wet and maybe even some slightly soggy pieces but don't worry it dries out in the oven roasting process. 

2. you can microwave on high for 5-6 minutes in a microwave safe bowl stirring about every 2 minutes but i choose to roast ours in the oven. place the mix into 2 or 3 roasting pans or i also use shallow bar pans to make sure it all gets roasted. sprinkle each pan of mix with a little garlic powder on top. set oven temperature to 200-250 degrees bake for one hour stirring very 15 minutes. then lay out the chex mix on paper towels to cool before placing in an air tight container. 

the flavor is bold so feel free to decrease or add more of your favorite flavors!



Friday, November 13, 2015

our fall session with jen…from jenexpo photography

she has a sparkly personality, such a sweet spirit and we clicked pretty quickly the evening we met…simply stated this girl is beautiful inside and out.
i wanted to introduce you to jen.  we met a few years back at a thirty-one party where i was the consultant and she was a guest of the hostess.  it was one of the most fun parties i had ever done. i met some amazing women that night and jen was definitely one off them. over the years i have had the opportunity to meet her family and friends…she has 2 absolutely adorable children and a loving supportive husband. i was so excited to hear that she was starting her own photography business. i love supporting small businesses and especially businesses started by moms like me. : )

jen expo photography  was launched 2 years ago after her passion and success with photography started coming together. jen's love for photography actually started as a child when she received her first film camera (remember those…i do), and over the years she has studied and worked hard at learning all about photography. while she was learning, she began shooting for family and friends...this is what started building her "brand".  of course there were ups and downs though out her journey thats the part that makes us who we are but launching her own business was one of the best things she has ever done.  she now offers on location photography in multiple counties as well as a personal studio in her home. i love seeing people make their dreams come true...

now for a little q&a with jen…

where do you get your inspiration?   my clients 

confession time…funniest photography blooper? funniest blooper…being pooped on 3 times at a newborn shoot. yes…3 times

camera of choice? i always shoot with a canon

favorite lens? i love the 50mm

favorite spot to shoot? i love to shoot at quail hollow (hartville) and springfield bog metro park 

if you could be invisible for one day with your camera what/where would you shoot? i would take pictures at the park , just people watch to capture sweet moments with couples, parents and kids. 

favorite quote? "what if i fall? oh but darling what if you fly" (one of my personal favorite as well) 

favorite movie or film? white christmas 

where will we find you after 7pm on a friday night? i will be relaxing with my hubby, sweet son and daughter at a family movie night on the couch. 

five words your friends would use to describe you? oh my, this one is tough…should i ask my friends? lol

where/who have you learned the most from? i have learned so much from my parents on how to love and treat others and also how to see positivity in any situation. 

i hope you enjoyed getting to know jen a little bit better 

jen offers fair prices to stay competitive in today's market and her customer service is beyond what you would expect. with no additional fees she will become your own personal consultant. she will sit down with you and help you plan out ways to decorate your home with your new photos. if you have questions about prints, canvases or even gift ideas she is able to give you her expert advice all included within your session pricing.  although life has been so crazy i haven't had the time to order our photos yet,  but i love the online ordering option she offers to her clients. you can view and order your photos directly from her website as prints or canvas and the prices are are extremely competitive. these photos are printed on photo quality paper using photo quality ink. 

my family recently had our own shoot with jen just a few weeks back and we had so much fun! she is so easy to work with…she brings her own great ideas as well as welcomed ours. take a look at a few of my favorite shots…i haven't shared them all but will feature some in the future. thank you jen for making our fall session of family pics so amazing!!

(i sure love our little family)
thanks again jen for capturing moments for us

connect with jenexpo photography on:


Tuesday, October 27, 2015

heath bar cream cheese apple dip

so do not look at the apples and think this is healthy…it is not. but i can say it sure is yummy! this is a great time of year to whip this up for a party or family gathering it is always a hit and i have never had leftovers. this recipe is so easy and most of the time we have all of the ingredients on hand to whip it up for last minute guests.

1-8 ounce package of cream cheese softened
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1 package of mini heath bars frozen then finely chopped
3-4 tart apples or i use my favorite honey crisp

1. mix the softened cream cheese, sugars and vanilla in a bowl until well blended. sugars may give the cream cheese a slightly gritty texture until it sits for a bit and dissolves completely. place the mixture in a round serving bowl or plate. i used the pampered chef collapsable bowl for this party and it actually worked perfect.

2. sprinkle the chopped heath bar chips on top. then wash and slice the apples.



Saturday, October 10, 2015

off the shoulder sweat shirt...


i have gotten so many cuteness compliments on these sweatshirts that I purchased on etsy i wanted to share the details with you! i loved the "wifey" design…that was a must have and then i purchased the "love" design right around valentines day.

these super comfy and cute sweatshirts can be purchased on etsy from dentzdesign. dentzdesign is easy to work with and arrive in the time promised.

check out the other newly added designs! there are a few new must haves on my list now!


Tuesday, September 1, 2015

luscious lemon cookies

as we grasp on to the last weeks of summer these lemon cookies are perfect for your labor day picnic! i am such a fan of lemon flavored treats…if i had to say i had a weakness for any sweets lemon is the one. hope you give these a try and if you loved them please come back and let me know. 
have a safe and fun weekend!!

2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder 
1/2 tsp salt
10 tablespoons of salted butter, softened 
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons lemon zest 
1 large egg plus one yolk
3-4 tablespoons of fresh squeezed lemon juice 
3/4 teaspoon lemon extract
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract 
1 cup of powdered sugar


1. pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. in a mixing bowl whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.

2. in a secondary bowl mix together butter, sugar, lemon zest with an electric mixer until fluffy and pale yellow.  add eggs and mix well. then add lemon juice and extracts until combined.

3. set mixer on low speed and add dry ingredients to the butter mixture until well combined. 

4.  use a 2 oz scoop to ball the cookie dough and drop in the bowl of powdered sugar. cover generously with powdered sugar. using a round medium sized cookie cutter press the dough ball with the palm of your hand to flatten and form the dough within the cookie cutter on your baking sheet. remove the cookie cutter dip in powdered sugar to prevent sticking and repeat steps until dough is gone. i learned this trick from my mom and love the perfect shape i get.

5. bake 10-13 minutes until tops are indented slightly 



Wednesday, July 29, 2015

sally hansen miracle gel manicure review

what really caught my eye about this polish were the colors! the colors are bold and there are such a wide variety to choose from, i was instantly drawn to the display (marketing victim…i know).  just a little history on my nails. i wore acrylic nails for over 10 years…most of those 10 years i always got pink and white acrylic so my nails were a french manicure all of the time. after having our son i wanted to take a break from them…i was mainly afraid of scratching our newborn but i had also gotten to the point where going to my appointments were more of a chore than a joy. when our son was almost 2 i started getting the itch again for acrylic nails…mainly because polish does not stay on more than an hour. after much consideration i started getting the acrylics again. well i couldn't get the acrylics to stay on either…they were constantly lifting and it was more of a hassle than it was worth. a friend told me about the at home gel manicure kits…so i went and purchased one from ulta it was $120.00. i was so excited to try it and then... it sat in my closet for at least 4 months unopened…i do not think i was as excited about it after the ulta representative told me to make sure i had time carved out because you have to follow all of the steps as directed and that takes time…a lot of time...thankfully ulta let me return the product for a full refund. i tried acrylics one last time this year and then finally decided i was done…they weren't staying on and again not worth the time and frustration.

that is when i came across this product…  sally hansen miracle gel. at first i wasn't too sure about it. i tried it the first time the manicure worked great, lasted over 10 days. then i purchased a pink color and that manicure lasted 2 days (i am realizing now that was likely more of user error). i thought i was back to the drawing board in search of the "perfect" polish until i decided to give miracle gel one more try. i had the idea to not only use acetone to remove any oils but i also used a file and roughed up my nail a little. worked like a charm. polish lasted 2 weeks that time.

after recommending this polish to quite a few friends that had never even heard of it i thought my readers may like the skinny on this.  my friends loved it and i hope you will as well. 

my best advice…
remove all oils from you nails with acetone or alcohol then lightly roughen your nail with a nail file or the course side of a buffer block.

although the brush is pretty bulky try to put 2 thin layers of polish on your nail. I actually allow the first coat to almost dry completely before applying the second coat and then allow that to dry before applying the final gel top coat.

this product is totally worth the $15.00 ish investment to give it a try. target seems to be the cheapest as far as the stores i shop at. 

if you decide to use this product or you have used it let me know your comments. 

thanks for taking the time to read my review and i hope you have the same great experience as i did. 

after 10 days

2 day old polish including a day at the pool


Thursday, July 23, 2015

my favorite shortbread cookie recipe

if you have followed me for any length of time you know i am not a big fan of sweets. when i do get a "sweet tooth" its usually for something not too sweet…like a shortbread cookie. this recipe is a simple 4 ingredient cookie recipe and oh so tasty.  you can enjoy these just as they are or drizzle them with pretty much any flavor of icing (lemon maybe)…or how about dipping half of the cookie in chocolate.  we actually drizzled these with a home made fresh strawberry icing. a little more work to make the icing but it was worth it.  i will post the strawberry icing recipe and when i do i will link it up to this post as well.

2 cups butter
1 cup of white sugar
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
4 cups of all-purpose flower

1. pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F

2. cream butter and sugar until fluffy and stir in vanilla. slowly add in flour mixing well.

3. roll out the cookies or use a cookie press. we rolled these out and used a mini cookie cutter and made them into these cute frilly shapes. we baked these for 10 minutes or until a very light golden brown. baking times will vary depending on the size of cookie and oven. so if you prefer to do a larger cookie just do a test round and bake one or two to see how they turn out.


Monday, May 18, 2015

my first restoration project…antique cabinet

i couldn't wait to show all of you my latest project. this is my first "restoration" piece and i am ecstatic with how this turned out. my grandma gave me this white antique cabinet last year. after the hard winter we had we brought the piece in and then it sat for a month or so…between our busy life and the fact i wasn't sure what direction i wanted to go with the cabinet it sat.
i wanted some extra storage space for either my office or kitchen and decided to refinish it for the kitchen since the kitchen needed it more. my first thought was to paint it solid matte black and switch the hardware to a brushed aluminum handle…then i had a thought. our kitchen has a vintage wine "theme" so what better way to compliment the style than to distress the cabinet a little so it looks more rustic.  and this was so easy!
i sanded the white cabinet first making sure any scratches or dings were smoothed. i wiped it down with water/lysol mixture, then applied 2 coats of matte black latex paint. Once the paint dried for 24 hours i started to strategically sand different areas and voila…all finished.  i think i have created a monster though…i already have 2 other "projects" i am planning to do this too.


Thursday, May 14, 2015

daisy cut-out cookies

you may have seen posts i have done before about baked happy!
meredith (the owner) is amazing! not only do her cookies look perfect every time but they taste even better. a lot of times the cookies that are intricately decorated do not taste the greatest or are hard…these little gems are soft and oh so yummy!
meredith made these daisy cookies for our women's event last month. i told her the colors and the theme and voila…she came up with this amazingness! i was so surprised and excited!

she does all kinds of custom orders and you can contact her through her website.
be careful though and order in advance this girl books up quickly!
there is also a direct link under sponsors on my blog to her business baked happy 


Wednesday, May 13, 2015

unisa lolleea wedge sandal

i picked these up on my last dsw trip. if you have followed me for a while or know me personally i love all that glitters! the only dilemma with these was choosing gold or silver… i really like these because you can wear them with anything and dress yourself up or down. they would be adorable with a cute maxi and yesterday i wore them with jean capris and a gold/silver superman t-shirt.  they are available at dsw…click here for online access and when you order online and spend 35.00 or more its free shipping!


Wednesday, April 29, 2015

sonja chunky wedge from shoedazzle

so after seeing a shoedazzle commercial over a year ago and signing up to receive emails only (i chickened out on the membership), then receiving emails for a year or so…these finally snagged me! the sonja chunky wedge (in pink of course) sealed the deal. i signed up for the monthly vip membership
which entitles you to much lower pricing. the only "obligation" is you have to access your membership before the 5th of each month and purchase or pass on the shoe they have listed. you can cancel at any time.

but take a look... these came yesterday and i was ecstatic. i had been looking for a cute shoe to replace a favorite pair of my aldo pink patent pumps. these come in white and yellow as well and fit pretty true to size. i wear a 6 1/2 or a 7 so i ordered the 7 and they seem slightly big but i think the 6 1/2 would have been slightly too small which small is worse. : )