Category Archives: Food / Cooking

Foolproof DIY Valentine’s Treats You Should Try

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DIY Valentine's Day Treats You've Got To Try

Tested right in my kitchen so you don’t have to worry about any of those embarrassing Pinterest fails, these DIY Valentine’s Day treats are pretty fool-proof and are fun, easy, and made with basic supplies that you probably already have in your kitchen.  From bacon bouquets for the hubbies to sweetheart barks for the kiddos, these sweet family treats not only make great gifts but are fun to make together. Because making holiday memories shouldn’t be stressful, it should be fun!

Pin it for future Valentine’s Days, Sweetest Days, Anniversaries or any other holidays. These DIY’s can easily be altered to use any other holiday color or candy so Easter, Halloween, Christmas, etc. are just as easy!

Bacon Bouquet

DIY Bacon Bouquet

I started making these for my husband a few years ago and it’s still a favorite gift for him for Valentine’s Day. They’re super simple too!

  • Start with a pack of your favorite type of bacon.
  • Roll up each slice and secure the bottoms with toothpicks in a criss-cross so they will stand up while cooking (I put the fattier side on the bottom so you get a good red tone on the flower top.

Bacon Roses - How To

  • Line each bacon roll on a baking rack (This will keep them from being too soggy if they sit in their own grease while cooking).

Bacon Rosettes - How To

  • Bake per package instructions for your particular type of bacon. (Mine is 400-degrees for 20-30 minutes)
  • Let them cool and then skewer each rosette with shish kabob skewers through the center of each “rose”. You can also use toothpicks, or actual flower stems (which you can get from any florist).
  • Add in a few leafy greens like kale, fresh dill, celery tops, etc to give it a more realistic look
  • Arrange them in a vase or wrap in tissue paper & tada! You did it! And the hubby is going to LOVE it!

You can also add some dipping sauces to the gift. Some of my favorites are pepper jellies, barbecue sauces or maple syrup.

Sweetheart Bark

DIY Sweetheart Bark

This is a fun treat to make with the kids’ help and also a great idea of something they can give to their teachers or classmates. This is another one of those DIY’s that you can change to accommodate the occasion. You can change up the type of candies used to whatever colors or flavors you like and recreate this recipe on other holidays like Halloween, Christmas, or any other day of the year.

  • Start with 2 packages of candy melts or almond bark. (Almond Bark is usually available in Chocolate or Vanilla flavor and you may be able to get melting candy chips in an assortment of colors at any given time of the year).
  • Then fill several small dishes with your favorite Valentine’s Day candies – Sweethearts, Pink pearls, sprinkles, pretzels, dried fruits, etc. Whatever you like.
  • Melt each color individually according to package directions.
  • Pour each color of the melted candy onto a parchment covered cookie sheet alternating the areas you pour each color. (You don’t have to follow any sort of pattern you just want it the colors to be able to be mixed together. Spread it so it’s an even layer.
  • Using a butter knife, slide it around from color to color to create a swirling pattern in candy.
  • While the bark is still melted, sprinkle it with all of your favorite candies, spell out names, letters, words. Basically do whatever you like.
  • Let it set (you can speed up the process by refrigerating it too).
  • Once it’s completely hardened, break it into pieces. Think palm-sized or smaller.

Toss a few pieces into a gift baggie and tie it off with a nice Valentine’s colored ribbon and a message tag and you’ve got some sweet treats ready to gift!

Heart-Shaped Cinnamon Rolls

DIY Heart Shaped Cinnamon Rolls

What’s better than a warm cinnamon roll topped with ooey gooey icing? A heart-shaped one. These were one of my favorites this year. Not just because they pair perfectly with my morning cup of coffee but because these heart-shaped cinnamon rolls are super easy to make and you don’t even have to start them from scratch. These are a treat you can easily make the morning of so you don’t even have to get up hours earlier than usual to do it.

  • Start with a roll of Cinnamon Rolls. You can use any you like really as long as they’re actually rolls because we’re going to need to unroll them. (I used these Pillsbury Grands Cinnabon Cinnamon Rolls when I’ve made them):
  • DIY Heart Cinnamon Rolls - Pillsbury Grands
  • Preheat your oven to 350-degrees
  • Pop open the can and separate each roll from the log
  • Carefully unwind each roll into a long strip
  • Coil the ends in towards the center and then pinch the bottom into a point. Like this:

DIY Cinnamon Roll Hearts

  • Any chunks of cinnamon that come off can be added back into the new nooks and crannies.
  • Bake 13-15 minutes until golden brown.
  • Let cool 5 minutes then move to a cooling rack and ice them

You can use the icing that’s included with the rolls or you can mix it with some of those pink candy melts I mentioned in the previous DIY and add Valentine’s Day sprinkles to give them an even more lovey-dovey look. Either way, they’re delish.

Individual Valentine’s Day Candies

DIY Valentine Candies

Another super simple DIY you could try this year are your own chocolates and candies or suckers in love-themed shapes.

  • Just purchase a candy mold online or at your grocery/craft store and use the candy melts similar to the bark recipe above. I like these silicone heart molds and these heart shaped lollipop molds.
  • After melting the candy, fill each mold with it and let it set up. (If you’re doing suckers you’ll want to add your sucker sticks to the molds before filling them – I used these lollipop sticks that were only $4 for 100)
  • You could also insert nuts or fruits into them after pouring them into the molds to give them a little extra something-something.
  • Once it’s completed hardened, remove them from the mold and add to your favorite candy dish or package them up into gift baggies with a nice ribbon and card.

Valentine Candy Covered Pretzel Rods

DIY Valentine's Day Pretzels

Here’s another great idea that’s fun for the kids to help with and perfect for classroom Valentine’s Day snacks! These were a hit for my daughter’s teachers this year and class snack.

  • Buy Candy melts/chocolate in your choice of colors/flavors & Your choice of pretzels. (We used rods and classic minis for their heart shape).
  • Melt in microwave-safe bowl according to package instructions
  • Dip one side of a large pretzel rod into the melted candy (or half of a heart-shaped pretzel – whichever kind you’re using).
  • Roll the candy-dipped end of the pretzel in nuts, sprinkles, candies, etc – whatever you choose.
  • Place them on a parchment lined cookie sheet so they can dry and harden
  • Once hardened you can add them to a decorated mason jar or individual gift baggies with a cute ribbon or card to make a perfect gift. Or just place them on a tray or bowl and set them out for party style serving.

Be sure to let me know how these turned out for you if you decide to give any of these ideas a try! You can follow along on Facebook for more great ideas at Happy Wife Happy Life

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Thanks-Giving-Giving-Thanks 

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Thanks-Giving-Giving-Thanks 

It’s been a stressful week. Busy shopping week means busy work week with my writing job. (And the work schedule is not very conducive to Adri’s school schedule anyway). Then peak-order season with the gift shop (Which I’m definitely not complaining about…I just wish I’d have had more time to add some new items to the shop before now). And with a million other things to do around the house, to say I’m frazzled would be putting it mildly. Time always goes so fast and there’s never enough of it to do what you want.

Today was Adri’s Thanksgiving “feast” at school. And even though she was late (because of a mixup over when I should bring her since it wasn’t one of her regular school days), she made it – and with her pineapple contribution in tow. So there’s that at least.

But after having to go back home and work more before going back to the school for the feast, I had barely enough time to put myself together and definitely not enough time to shower first. I broke a bra and broke a nail in my haste…And I was still a few minutes late.

She didn’t mind though. She was excited to see me and have me try the fruit salad and buttered rolls they made this morning. (And it was yummy).

After eating and playing for a bit I had hope return thinking I could salvage some of the plans after all. The morning may have been a disaster but we could still make her teachers a nice, crafty, thank-you gift tonight to give them tomorrow at school…Until I was reminded when we were leaving that Adri doesn’t have school again until next week.

Defeated, I sighed when we got into the car to leave school and head to the grocery and said, “I’m sorry, monkey. I wish I could’ve been there for your whole day at school again like Halloween and that we weren’t always so rushed, but Mommy is just a bit of a mess lately”. Without hesitation she replied, “It’s okay mommy. We all have messes sometimes. I love you and your da best mommy”.

I could’ve broke down, but God knows if I did right now it might not stop. Sometimes I’m not really sure what I’m doing; Feeling pulled in a million directions and I think I’m doing everything wrong. But it’s little reassurances like that that tell me I must be doing something right.

I may have plenty of other things in mind that I want to do, but sometimes there’s just not enough time. And I have to remember that that’s ok. That my house work may get a little behind (or a lot) when I’m working two jobs and momming. And that sometimes our dinner won’t be completely homemade…or even semi-homemade for that matter. And that’s ok.

The important thing is that we are laughing together in our slightly (or extremely) messy house. That we are together enjoying our homemade, semi-homemade or not-at-all-homemade dinners together, that we’re always there for her when she needs us, and that her daddy and I love her bigger than the sky. Through grief, through chaos, through it all. That’s what it’s all about.

…And just to keep me from being too wishy-washy all day, she was a total ass in the grocery store afterward, So I guess it’s also about balance. 😜

But I am so thankful for the blessings in life (even the ones that don’t always seem like blessings at first). I appreciate the crazy, busy weeks. And I am so grateful for my family and for the love of this sweet little girl who, even at under the age of 4, understands that life can get chaotic, but it’s okay. As long as we have each other, it’s okay. And when we focus on that, it’s more than okay. It’s great. Chaotic, messy, busy, hopeful, fun, full of love, running-late, great. And if we can’t get all of that greatness to fit into one day, we’ll be hopeful, grateful, and blessed to be given tomorrow to give it another shot.

So in case I don’t get a chance to say it later this week when things are even more chaotic:  Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! I hope your blessings are more than you can count…But I hope you’ll take a minute to stop and try to count them anyway.

 

❤ #grateful #thankful #blessed ❤

Thankful Grateful Blessed

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Gratitude & Grief 

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I am reading poetry in front of a warm, crackling fire. My sweet (though slightly sick) babygirl is nestled beside me and our furbabies are cuddled up snoozing beside her. There is music flowing through the house and my husband is in his chair nearby enjoying a glass of bourbon with a full belly after a wonderful home-cooked meal. Everyone is comfortable and my loved ones are all safe… There may be a million things going wrong, but in today’s tumultuous times these are the simplest and the greatest blessings to be thankful for. As full of gratitude as it may be, my heart aches and wishes for healing to come to this planet. 
#PrayingForParis

#PrayingForHumanity 

#PrayingForPeace 

Praying for Peace & Healing

Hot Toddy

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Yeah I think most in the northeast could agree, Elsa.

Yeah, Elsa. I know many that would agree!

Yeah, Elsa. I know many that would agree!

Sore throat weather and this blustering cold means a hot toddy in the afternoon for mommy & daddy. Want a blend sure to beat the rest? I add a dash of ginger to mine and just a kick of cayenne to boost immunity. 😉

Cheers! 🍹❄️🔥

A twist of ginger and one other spice gives this traditional Hot Toddy recipe a kick for the tastebuds and for your immune system - by The Write Side of Life

A twist of ginger and one other spice gives this traditional Hot Toddy recipe a kick for the tastebuds and for your immune system – by The Write Side of Life

Homemade for the Holidays: My Crafty Christmas Projects

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With all the money tied up in our new house, Christmas was a bit difficult this year. I was facing a challenge of gifting from the heart on a super tight budget and also decorating the house. So this year I decided to go homemade for the holidays. After all, when you’re in the middle of a total renovation property and raising a toddler, time is the most valuable thing you have to offer, right? I loved some of these items so much I decided to add them to my Etsy shop too!

MASON JAR SOAP DISPENSERS

I loved the way these turned out. It took a little engineering to construct the lids but these pint jars went from simple to shabby chic thanks to that, some chalk paint & glaze, and a little distressing. I made them in a weathered gray, ivory and went a little bold with a turquoise one for my own bathroom.

Mason Jar Soap Dispensers by The Write Side of Life

Mason Jar Soap Dispensers by The Write Side of Life

Gray Mason Jar Soap Dispensers by The Write Side of Life

Gray Mason Jar Soap Dispensers by The Write Side of Life

Gray Mason Jar Soap Dispensers by The Write Side of Life

Gray Mason Jar Soap Dispensers by The Write Side of Life

Turquoise Mason Jar Soap Dispensers by The Write Side of Life

Turquoise Mason Jar Soap Dispensers by The Write Side of Life

Turquoise Mason Jar Soap Dispensers by The Write Side of Life

Turquoise Mason Jar Soap Dispensers by The Write Side of Life

You can also order these in my Tulip Garden Gifts Etsy shop by clicking here.

FAMILY BIRTHDAY BOARD

I LOVE how this turned out. I started with a basic board and did a crackle paint finish then stenciled and added the hardware. This was for my husband’s grandmother and there were lots of names to add so I color-coded all the tags. The color of each name and birthdate represented either her children (or one of their spouses), her grandchildren (or one of their spouses), or her great-grandchildren.

Family Birthday Board by The Write Side of Life

Family Birthday Board by The Write Side of Life

SPECKLED COFFEE MUG SETS

A few years ago I made gift baskets for some of our family members with spiced nuts and a homemade cocoa mixes and coffee mugs and other goodies. I wanted to do something similar but within my budget and a bit more personalized. I meet with my grandmother and her Dutch friends every Tuesday and didn’t want to forget these beautiful women who I now consider very good friends as well. After stenciling and dotting the mugs I baked them to set the paint so that they could be washable. Then I made a hot cocoa mix with spices and dark chocolate shavings and marshmallows and added a small bottle of Bailey’s to each cup.

Speckle Initial Coffee Mug by The Write Side of Life {Tulip Garden Gifts}

Speckle Initial Coffee Mug by The Write Side of Life {Tulip Garden Gifts}

Personalized Coffee Mugs by The Write Side of Life.  I even made a set for The Hub and I <3

Personalized Coffee Mugs by The Write Side of Life.
I even made a set for The Hub and I ❤

Personalized Coffee Mugs by The Write Side of Life - Available in Etsy Shop @ Tulip Garden Gifts

Personalized Coffee Mugs by The Write Side of Life – Available in Etsy Shop @ Tulip Garden Gifts

Personalized Coffee Mugs by The Write Side of Life - Available in Etsy Shop @ Tulip Garden Gifts

Personalized Coffee Mugs by The Write Side of Life – Available in Etsy Shop @ Tulip Garden Gifts

Personalized Coffee Mugs by The Write Side of Life - Available in Etsy Shop @ Tulip Garden Gifts

Personalized Coffee Mugs by The Write Side of Life – Available in Etsy Shop @ Tulip Garden Gifts

Personalized Coffee Mugs by The Write Side of Life - Available in Etsy Shop @ Tulip Garden Gifts

Personalized Coffee Mugs by The Write Side of Life – Available in Etsy Shop @ Tulip Garden Gifts

These are also available to order in the Etsy shop (sans the alcohol) by clicking here.

RECIPE / PICTURE HOLDER

This was definitely one of the more unique items I made this year. It took a bit of engineering to come up with a proper design but once I assembled the right components I realized how functional this could be. I used a cabinet face stained in a walnut finish and applied a coat of chalk paint just enough to give it a pale weathered look. I assembled a base and added a decorative topper all painted to match and then added a simply decorated clip to the front. The base also doubles as a stand so that if you are using, say, an iPad to read a recipe from you can prop it up on there as well. And when it’s not being used to read recipes, it makes a great and unique picture holder as well! 🙂

Recipe/Picture Holder by The Write Side of Life

Recipe/Picture Holder by The Write Side of Life

Recipe/Picture Holder by The Write Side of Life

Recipe/Picture Holder by The Write Side of Life

You can purchase these in the Etsy store as well by clicking here.

TEACUP BIRDFEEDERS

I was really looking forward to trying this one out. I used some really durable, black coated chain, hardware, epoxy, and of course some seed.

Teacup Birdfeeder by The Write Side of Life

Teacup Birdfeeder by The Write Side of Life

Teacup Birdfeeder by The Write Side of Life

Teacup Birdfeeder by The Write Side of Life

Teacup Birdfeeder by The Write Side of Life

Teacup Birdfeeder by The Write Side of Life

Teacup Birdfeeder by The Write Side of Life

Teacup Birdfeeder by The Write Side of Life

You can purchase these in the Etsy store by clicking here.

BURLAP WREATHS 

Some crafts are just not cheap to make. These were on the pricier side of the projects I made this year but, they are just so beautiful. There are so many different combinations and colors if I could afford it, I’d have made one for every room of my own house too. Maybe someday. 😉

Burlap Wreath with Green Bow by The Write Side of Life

Burlap Wreath with Green Bow by The Write Side of Life

Candy Cane Burlap Wreath by The Write Side of Life

Candy Cane Burlap Wreath by The Write Side of Life

Burlap Wreath with Red Bow by The Write Side of Life

Burlap Wreath with Red Bow by The Write Side of Life

You can purchase these in the Etsy store too by clicking here.

THREADED 3-D STATE WALL ART 

This is a really neat gift for anyone tied to a certain state or area. After staining and sealing the wood, I outlined the state and used copper tacks and thread to create a unique wall hanging. But perhaps the sweetest touch of this gift is that the heart encircles where they live. Awww. I know right! 😉

3-D State Pin & Thread Wall Art by The Write Side of Life

3-D State Pin & Thread Wall Art by The Write Side of Life

3-D State Pin & Thread Wall Art by The Write Side of Life

3-D State Pin & Thread Wall Art by The Write Side of Life

You can purchase these in my Etsy store by clicking here.

CROCHETED DREAMCATCHER 

I have seen some cute crafty dreamcatchers made out of doilies online and got the idea to make a dreamcatcher for my sister. For this I just used a needlepoint ring and crocheted the dreamcatcher part. I sort of made up the pattern as I went based on how big I wanted each loop to be. To finish it I just braided some yard and added a few feathers I picked up at the craft store. (Sorry, I didn’t take a picture of the finished product).

Crocheted Dreamcatcher by The Write Side of Life

Crocheted Dreamcatcher by The Write Side of Life

RIBBON LOOP CHRISTMAS TREE DECORATION 

This was something I was going to attempt in a set of three but to be honest it just took waaaay too much time and glue this way so I aborted this one and just let this one hang out on its own on our mantel during the holidays. If you’re going to attempt this one, instead of using thin ribbon and glueing them together then to the cone individually, you can save yourself a lot of time by using thick ribbon and folding it over then cut slits into it. It’ll give you the same look.

Ribbon Tree by The Write Side of Life

Ribbon Tree by The Write Side of Life

All in all I think everything turned out pretty good! 🙂

Latest Projects: Burlap & Lace Wreath and Distressed Bedroom Furniture

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Craft supplies are expensive. That’s not the point of this post. Just a point I want to iterate…and then reiterate. Craft supplies are expensive. Okay, now on to the point…

Adriana and I spent the day out shopping yesterday for Christmas craft and gift supplies. I got her her own Christmas little tree to decorate in hopes that it’ll dissuade her from touching the big one too much. We’ll see.

I was too eager to wait for the weekend to start anything so I made a burlap wreath last night…

My Burlap & Lace Wreath

My Burlap & Lace Wreath

I decided to add them to my Etsy shop too so if you’re interested you can order here.

Another project I’ve been wanting to accomplish at the new house was our bedroom furniture. We bought a nice cherry suite years ago and it was beautiful when our room was full of amber and red colors but when I changed the decor to a more natural palette and added teal to the mix, the cherry furniture just seemed to clash. I had an idea of what I wanted to do and set out to get chalk paint. I was at several stores searching for Annie Sloan paint before finally giving up. Both Home Depot and Michael’s now carry a brand of chalk paint called Americana Decor so I decided to give that a try instead.

After prepping a pot roast and tucking her into the oven to cook all day, I set in and started with the nightstand. I didn’t take an actual before picture so you’ll just have to go with what I could find lol.

I think it turned out pretty good.

And here’s the big dresser.

So much brighter!

Like I said, it wasn’t bad before but was just too dark and red for the bedroom now. I was going to sand and stain the top a color like the floor but The Hub liked the whole thing the same color so that’s what I did…

I love it!

Nightstand details

Nightstand details

The color I used for this project was ‘Whisper’. After applying the first coat I spot checked for areas that needed a second coat. I wanted to let some of the original darkness come through to aid in the weathered look so I didn’t do a full second coat overall. Once the second coated areas were dry, I applied the clear wax and then went over and gently sanded some areas (like corners and edges) with a fine-grit sand paper. From there I added a bit of dark wax to some of the distressed areas and then just sealed them all over again with clear wax.

I couldn’t be happier with the way the pieces turned out. And as far as the paint, I have no complaints. It was great to work with, dried quickly and seems pretty tough once waxed. If you’ve never used chalk paint before, just be warned that it dries very quickly so you want to keep moving and move steadily (especially when painting a larger surface) so it doesn’t start to dry on you and leave streaks or unevenness where you left off). Of course if you’re applying more than one coat then you can always blend it back in with your additional coat(s).  I am always leery when painting a piece without sanding and priming first but only time will tell. Although another good thing about this distressed look is that even if it gets a little more beat up than my intended distressing, it probably will only continue to make the piece look good. Win/win! 😉

I have a wooden jewelry armoire that I am planning to paint a more vibrant color soon too so stay tuned for that!

🙂

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Check out my shop on Etsy – Tulip Garden Gifts

Good Riddance

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This time of year is always festive for me – It’s the time of year for my birthday, the Kentucky Derby and Cinco de Mayo (which were all absolutely great by the way). And as if that’s not cause enough to celebrate, today also marks two years since I purchased my last pack of cigarettes. Happy anniversary to the best good riddance!

I’m not one to bash other people for their decisions to drink or smoke – so if you do, hey, I get it. God knows I hated the hypocrites that constantly nagged me for smoking while they drank themselves into stupors or binged on fast food or “diet” soda. Everyone’s got something I guess. But I will say, for me, this has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. It opened up my eyes to everything else and created a chain reaction from one healthy decision to another. I lost my grandfather and countless other loved ones over the years to cancer – most of which can be linked to smoking. Now that I have a family of my own I want to make sure I am here for as long as I can be.

Turning 30 started a whirlwind of changes in my life that were put into place with the intent of building a better me – Shedding my dependency on nicotine (along with all of the other deadly chemicals that are found in most brands today) and also caffeine. Granted I had a very good reason to abandon my love affair with Marlboro Man – Getting pregnant will make you realize pretty quickly everything unhealthy you’re doing to yourself. Before then I lived on coffee and cigarettes. And quitting everything cold turkey created a pretty tumultuous couple of first weeks but one thing I realized throughout my entire pregnancy after that was that if we all lived as if we were pregnant (avoiding all the things we don’t want to harm our unborn children) we would all be so much healthier. Theoretically you would think the concept would be a given – If it’s not safe to consume while pregnant or good for our children to ingest then why should we? So now, two years later, I am still trying to live by that philosophy. I am much more conscious of the food I am putting into our bodies; Clean eating and sticking to fresh, healthy choices for me and my family; Drinking alcohol and caffeine very rarely if at all (and only in very small amounts if/when I do) and; Paying attention to my body and what it needs more. When we bury our systems with these unnatural things – be it stimulants, medications, drugs, fast food, preservatives, etc – we are burying our ability to be in tune with our bodies and how they naturally thrive.

When you’re young you think you’ll just live forever and that there are no consequences to your actions. Having a child brought about some essential and fundamental changes in the way I treat myself and my body. I can’t say I’ve ever been “happy” with my body but I sure do respect it a hell of a lot more than I used to. And it’s not to say that I didn’t value my life before then but after 30 I think you definitely begin to value it more. I realize now more than ever just how very “mortal” I am and how short our time here is. It’s important to take care of the planet while we’re here but it’s equally as important to take care of ourselves while we are here too. It’s not just about living but about living well. Quality of life.

As twisted as it may sound, I still keep this last pack of cigarettes in my console. It’s not a torture tactic as much as it is a symbol. It reminds me every day that every day – even though I could easily light one up – I continue to make the choice not to smoke and live every day putting my health first. And as much as I enjoyed a cigarette then, it’s not even a challenge now to avoid it. Every day we are all faced with hurdles and choices. It’s not always easy to make the right ones but this reminds me that when we continue to make the right choices, they eventually become the easier choice.

It's been two years since I dumped Marlboro Man

It’s been two years since I dumped Marlboro Man

 

Hey – Wanna help make a difference? 

This year my husband, daughter and I are participating in the American Cancer Society Relay for Life again with our family. This will be the fourth year for our team (and the second for Adri). If you want to help make a difference in the fight against cancer and show some support for me and my family, you can make a donation by visiting our page HERETogether we can make a difference!

Together we can make a difference. We appreciate your support! Every little bit helps.

Together we can make a difference. We appreciate your support! Every little bit helps.

Spring is Here! I’ll drink (a delicious detox water) to that!

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Happy first day of Spring! Bring on the tulips! :)

Happy first day of Spring! Bring on the tulips! 🙂

Hallelujah! Spring is finally here! Even though they may be calling for snow on Tuesday just knowing that it’s not winter anymore makes beautiful days like today and tomorrow seem that much better. It sure didn’t seem like this winter would ever end.

If you’re celebrating the beginning of spring by doing some spring cleaning around the house it’s also a great time to do some spring cleaning for your body too. I made a pitcher of detox water today and not only was it refreshing but it was pretty darn yummy too!

Detox Water [The Write Side of Life] - Detox / Infused waters are refreshing and also delicious

Detox Water [The Write Side of Life] – Detox / Infused waters are refreshing and also delicious

DETOX WATER RECIPE:

2 Quarts purified/filtered water
1/2 Cucumber – sliced
2 Lemons – sliced
10-12 mint leaves – muddled or ripped to release flavor
1/2 tsp Ground turmeric

Mix all ingredients in a pitcher and chill in refrigerator overnight. Enjoy!

If you’re already a fan of water with lemon then I think you’ll find this mix delicious as is but, if you like your tea sweet, you could always add a little honey to this too.

If you’re looking to start a diet, adding some cayenne pepper to this drink will also help to curb your appetite and as studies show, also aids in digestion and absorption of nutrients by our bodies.

Infused waters are a terrific way to jazz up plain old water and avoid turning to sodas, sports drinks or juices that are full of unwanted ingredients or a lack of nutritious ingredients. Have fun with it and add other fruits like strawberries, oranges, or whatever tickles your fancy. Go hog (or hare) wild…it’s Spring after all! 😉

Homemade Buttermilk Biscuits with Coconut Oil

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Homemade Buttermilk Biscuits by The Write Side of Life

Homemade Buttermilk Biscuits by The Write Side of Life

I’ve been fearing one thing in my attempt to befriend baking of late….Biscuits. As anyone who knows will tell you, there is not much better than a perfect and airy hot biscuit right out of the oven with some jam. Unfortunately the last time I tried making homemade biscuits they were more like hockey pucks…well, I wouldn’t even give their rise that much credit. They were flat, dense rocks – Heavy and totally unappetizing. You could have completely soaked them in jam and they still would have been garbage. So it goes without saying that I have been pretty scared to dive into that pool again.

But I did.

Last night.

The Hub has been working weekends and we haven’t been able to sit down and have breakfast as a family for a while. So I thought it would be nice to take a stab at some homemade buttermilk biscuits that he could grab have before he leaves in the morning. So I got to work. There are so many things you have to remember when working with pastries or doughs – coldness is key, don’t overwork the dough, etc etc. And here’s the kicker: I made my own buttermilk too with lemon juice and apple cider vinegar and I used coconut oil instead of butter or lard. The Hub cautioned me against trying my own recipe when I hadn’t mastered the basic recipe yet. I worried he may be right but decided it was worth the gamble. I had already failed miserably at biscuits so it couldn’t get any worse right? Besides, if I was wrong I’d only be out some flour anyway and if I succeeded I could be the wicked genius that concocted them. (Muahahaha!) Well…it worked….they rose!

THEY ROSE!

Hallelujah! Praise Jesus! He rose and so did my biscuits!!

They rose and they weren’t just fluffy and light they tasted amazing. We had to remind ourselves that we were just sampling and that they were for breakfast this morning so we didn’t eat them all. The Hub said they were the best he’s ever had.

My faith in biscuits: Restored.

Homemade Buttermilk Biscuit with Coconut Oil Recipe by The Write Side of Life

Homemade Buttermilk Biscuit with Coconut Oil Recipe by The Write Side of Life

 

 

 

 

 

My Crafty Valentine

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My Crafty Valentine

I hope all of you had a wonderful Valentine’s Day. And if you believe it’s just another “Hallmark holiday” then I hope you at least scored some half-off candy afterward! 😉

The Hub surprised me with flowers and a gift for Valentine’s Day and a night off from cooking. The baby and I contemplated what to make for him. So we made a card and a bouquet for him too. Only his was made of bacon….

A bacon bouquet for The Hub

A bacon bouquet for The Hub

Then, after dinner we made some works of art.

I started with a painted canvas and added some buttons for one letter and painted the other. The other letters were up to Adri.

For this one I started with a painted canvas and added some buttons for one letter and painted the other. The remaining two letters were up to Adri.

Did you really think a holiday would pass where I didn’t do a hand and feet craft?!

This one is for her room

This one is for her room

And (after laying out a drop cloth) we turned her loose to paint a canvas for our bedroom too….

For this project I taped the word "love" to a canvas

For this project I taped the word “love” to a canvas

She was very specific about which colors she wanted too….

Picking her paint

Picking her paint

And by the time she was done you could hardly tell which was the canvas!

Good art is always messy

Good art is always messy

But it turned out absolutely perfect…

This makes a beautiful addition to our bedroom

This makes a beautiful addition to our bedroom

The meaning of Valentine’s Day is love and I think we did a pretty good job of celebrating that together. We are blessed to have so much love in this house…And now we have two more reminders. 🙂

Now we have even more love in our home

Now we have even more love in our home…

…If that's even possible :)

…If that’s even possible 🙂