Peanut Butter Bars

I forgot how good these peanut butter bars really are! I’ve been craving them for a few weeks, in a way that Reese’s Peanut Butter cups just couldn’t curb. Made with ingredients I already had on hand, these quick and easy to make treats were a big hit at an office potluck last week. 

Peanut Butter Bars

Peanut butter and chocolate, oh how I love thee together! In a raving sweet tooth moment (or stress induced eating), I’ve been known to do this… Don’t judge!

sweettooth

My mom used to make these peanut butter bars when I was a kid. I haven’t made them in a long time, but now that I’ve had them again, it won’t be long before I make them again. I made them for a work tailgating potluck last week and they disappeared pretty fast.

Ingredients – Bottom Layer:

  • 3/4 cup salted butter (melted)
  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 1/4 cup peanut butter

Ingredients – Top Layer:

  • 1 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 5 tbsp peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup butter

Directions: 

  1. For bottom layer, combine butter, graham crackers crumbs, powdered sugar, and peanut butter in a medium size bowl. Spread evenly in a 9×13 pan. 
  2. Refrigerate layer for 20-30 minutes.
  3. For top layer, melt chocolate chips, peanut butter and butter together in microwave safe bowl for 1-1.5 minutes. Stir every 30 seconds until fully melted and combined. Spread evenly over peanut butter layer. 
  4. Refrigerate at least 20 minutes before cutting, makes 24-36 depending on how big you cut them.

I prefer serving/eating these slightly chilled. I find they set well, but on a warm day they will melt pretty quickly. At room temperature they hold up fine for a few hours. I use both milk chocolate and semi-sweet chocolate chips. You can use all of one or the other to your taste though (or what you have on hand). 

August Wrap Up

Well, here we are almost a third of the way into September and I’m just getting around to a wrap up for August. Life as a working mom is catching up to me these days. There are just not enough hours in the day most of the time it seems. When that happens, my time for being creative and doing projects (and especially writing about it seems to go by the wayside). Anyway, back to August…

We started out the month with Todd’s family reunion. Carter and I took a quick break in the festivities to walk around the state park it was held in and find maybe the best climbing tree ever!

tree-climbing

My team holds a scavenger hunt at the Iowa State Fair each year. This year we also did one with some out of town co-workers and vendors. It was a warm day, but a fun one! Here’s a picture of my team for the day in the cattle barn.

fair-barn

I spent quite a bit of July and August helping to organize the Have a Heart 5k which raised money for local charities that support families affected by childhood cancer. One of my best friends has a daughter who was diagnosed with leukemia a year and a half ago. She’s currently doing great with her treatment! We also had a kid’s fun run at the event. I’m not sure if Carter was more excited about his 2nd place finish or his crocodile face painting.

haveaheart

It’s hard to believe we’re already at this point, but Carter started Kindergarten this year! He was so excited and is really enjoying it so far. I wrote a post about the Best First Day of School Printables

firstdayofkindergarten

Here’s Carter and Todd in his classroom the first day of school.

kindergarten

Todd and I went to the first Iowa Hawkeyes football game of the year and enjoyed tailgating and catching up with good friends. 

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I managed to try my hand at some Iowa Hawkeye Nail Art. 

Iowa Hawkeye Nail Art - Using Silhouette Cameo to create nail art designs

I did manage one major project of getting my craft supplies organized in a new Urban Classic bookcase. I’m happy to say my supplies are still all in their appropriate places. Let’s hope I can keep it that way as I start to work on projects again this fall!

Urban Classic Craft Storage

I hope your September is going well. I always love this time of year with the beginning of fall weather AND new tv seasons getting ready to start. How about you, what do you look forward to with the change of seasons?

 

Nail Art Designs using a Silhouette

It’s college football season and time for showing off your school spirit. Todd and I went to the first Iowa Hawkeyes home game this weekend, so I decided to try my hand at nail art designs using my Silhouette to show my Hawkeye pride. 

Iowa Hawkeye Nail Art - Using Silhouette Cameo to create nail art designs


Now, let me first say, this is my first try at nail art, period. I like to paint my nails, but I’m usually not one for designs, probably because I don’t have enough patience or a steady hand to do more than just paint my nails regularly. That may change now that I’ve figured out how to use my Silhouette Cameo to create my own designs and perfected the application process.

First I painted my nails with a base coat, two coats of paint and a top coat. I normally use Essie polish, but they didn’t have black and gold so I found some Sally Hansen but still used my Essie base coat and top coat. I chose to do my ring finger as the opposite color to make the design pop more. On my left hand, I did black nails and one gold accent finger. Right hand, gold on four with one black accent finger. 

black-gold-nails

Then I let my nails dry completely. I mean rock solid completely, no tackiness remaining. You’ll regret it if you don’t. While I was waiting (not so patiently) I made my stencils on my Silhouette. I previously had created an Iowa Hawkeye stencil when I did stenciled garden rocks, so it was easy for me to size it down to fingernail size (about 0.25-.0.275″ wide). I also found a font I liked for the “I” to represent the University of Iowa font. I cut out four of each on regular vinyl just in case any of them tore in the weeding process.  

Iowa Hawkeye Nail Art using the Silhouette Cameo

After weeding my stencils, I cut them into small squares to fit better on my nails.

owa Hawkeye Nail Art - Using Silhouette Cameo to create nail art designs

After my nails were completely dry, I applied the stencils to my ring finger nails, pressing firmly to try to seal the edges. 

Iowa Hawkeye Nail Art using the Silhouette Cameo

Then I applied a thin coat of black polish on the Hawkeye logo stencil. I only needed one coat on this one. With the yellow polish over the black nail for the “I”, I needed 2 coats.

Iowa Hawkeye Nail Art using the Silhouette CameoIowa Hawkeye Nail Art using the Silhouette Cameo

I waited for the polish over the stencils to dry for about 30 minutes. Then I carefully removed the stencils. The “I” was a bit tacky still from the 2nd coat so it smeared just slightly. Another 5 minutes probably would have been perfect. Finally I did a finishing top coat and let it dry. 

Iowa Hawkeye Nail Art - Using Silhouette Cameo to create nail art designsowa Hawkeye Nail Art - Using Silhouette Cameo to create nail art designs

We had a great time tailgating with friends at the Hawkeye home opener and cheering them to a win against Northern Iowa! I can be a bit of a fairweather fan when it comes to going to the games, so I was happy for a day in the low 80′s.

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Now on to enjoy the rest of our long Labor Day weekend… hope you’re making the most of it too!

FREE 1st Day of School Printables

‘Tis the back to school season and that means adorable first day of school pictures. Here’s a round up of some of the best FREE 1st day of school printables.

Free First Day of School Printables

Carter started Kindergarten last week. Unfortunately it rained cats and dogs on the first day of school, so it was tough to get a good first day of school picture, but we managed. Fortunately the “It’s My First Day of Kindergarten” framed sign and Carter’s huge smile made up for the dark and stormy skies. He was so excited and had a great first week at his new school.

Last year I fully intended on designing my own first day of school printables to mark Carter’s first day of Pre-K, but as often happens, I ran out of time. I found a lot of great options from other sites and ended up using some from Designs by Nicolina. Because we started with them, I’ll use hers every year. I print them out at 8×10 photo size, and then trim the edges in order to fit it into this 8×10 frame that usually holds Carter’s school picture in his room.

Here’s a round of some of my favorite FREE First Day of School Printables. Many of the sites also have coordinating last day of school printable options too. Click on the images or the pink links above the photos to go to the originating site and download the printables.

Chalkboard Designs

Designs By Nicolina

1st Day of School Chalkboard Printables

 

Oh So Printable

Free 1st Day of School Printables

 

Yellow Bliss Road

FREE First Day of School Printables

 

The Crafting Chicks

Free First Day of School Chalkboard printables

 

Less Ordinary Designs

FREE First Day of School Chalkboard Printables

 

Colorful Designs

Jacksonville Moms Blog by Katie Palamaro Design

Free 1st Day of School Printables

 

How Does She

Free First Day of School Printables

 

Catch My Party

Free First Day of School Printables

 

The Crafted Sparrow

Free First Day of School Printables

 

I Heart Naptime

First Day of School Printables

If you like something more custom, there are a lot of great options available on Etsy for pretty reasonable prices.

I have to also show an idea that one of my friends used. It’s not a printed sign, but she created a life size sidewalk chalk version that I think is so cute! My sidewalk chalk skills aren’t nearly as good, so I’ll have to stick with printable signs!

sidewalkchalk-backtoschool

Last year we also started asking Carter about what some of his favorite things are on the first day of school to see how they’ll change over the years. I used PicMonkey to add those on to the photo. Click here to check out last year’s version. 

How about you, any special traditions for first day of school pictures?

Urban Classic Craft Storage

A few months ago I participated in a challenge to define my decorating style and I determined I was Urban Classic. During that challenge the Barrister Lane Bookcase really caught my eye. The classic somewhat vintage look really appealed to my design style and this bookcase with its many cubbies appealed to my need for function.

I’m somewhat storage and organizationally challenged in a few areas of our home, so I zeroed in on needing to solve my craft supplies storage situation… and this is what that looked like before (this was only half of it!).

Not going to lie, it’s a bit embarrassing to admit what a craft supplies hoarder I was becoming. It was also costing me money because I didn’t really know what I had at times and would end up rebuying some of the same supplies because I couldn’t find what I had.

From selection and ordering on Sauder.com to delivery and assembly, I was very pleasantly surprised at how easy and well thought out things were. My unit arrived securely and carefully packaged with extra support at the edges to ensure there would be no damage to the wood. I unpacked all the pieces. The directions were very clear and the pieces were clearly labeled. All I needed for assembly was a screwdriver and a hammer. Start to finish the whole project took me a little over 2 hours. Carter helped me hammer in the back pieces, so it would have taken me a little less time without my little helper. He’s a DIY’er in the making. This kid loves to build (or maybe he just likes to bang things around!)

After getting everything put together, I assessed my craft supply situation and promptly went off to Michael’s to look for some storage bins and baskets. I scored with a 40% off storage sale going on and a coupon for 20% off my purchase. Cha ching!

I got to work on my organizing. I was able to fit in about 70% of my supplies into the bookcase. Some of my sewing supplies I keep in my sewing desk in our spare bedroom, and I keep my Silhouette Cameo supplies in our office near our computer. Someday I WILL have a craft room and everything in one place. It’s definitely a requirement for our next house. For now, I’ll live with most of my supplies being organized, easily accessible and in this stylish bookcase. I can’t tell you how happy it makes me to see everything put into its proper places. My jars of buttons almost look like decorative accessories and the name plates really make this piece look polished.

The bookcase will “pop” even more when I get the awful wood paneling in our basement painted, but that’s a project for winter. I’m very tempted to order the same bookcase to use for toy storage on the other half of our basement. It’s such a sturdy piece and looks very high quality at such a reasonable price.

In keeping with the storage theme, as I was shopping on Sauder.com, a bathroom storage unit caught my eye. It matched perfectly with my mirror frame and espresso painted bathroom cabinets. It looked like it was meant to be, so I couldn’t help myself. Take a look at how well it fits in! It was just as easy to assemble. I did have to contact customer service because one of the shelf pieces did not fit. No problem, they’re shipping it right away!

Two storage problems fixed, more than I’d like to count yet to come.

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

 

 

July Wrap Up

Oh July, you were good to us, but where did you go?? We really made the most of our July with lots of fun, friends and family vacation.

Our 4th of July was actually pretty laid back. Of course I couldn’t help myself but make some custom shirts for the second year in a row. USA Rocks Heat Transfer Iron-On for Carter.

USA Rocks Shirt

 And a USA Love fabric paint t-shirt creation for me.

USA LOVE T-shirt

 Carter and I did a bike ride that day while Todd golfed, then we enjoyed some fireworks with friends.

bikingfireworks-sparklers

 We had a fun day at Adventureland for my annual company picnic. Carter just gets more adventurous as time goes on and he was excited to finally be tall enough to ride the Tornado.

tornado-firstride

Todd and I went to a friend’s annual croquet tournament – Hawaiian themed this year. I can say I hadn’t played since I was probably 8. Let’s just say, I didn’t have any “beginners luck”. It was a blast though.

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We were off to Colorado for our family vacation this summer. My cousin was having a wedding reception in Denver, so we decided to make a week of it. Stay tuned for a full post on how we entertained Carter in the car on the 10 hour drive, but I have done one post on my DIY LEGO Travel Kit.

LEGO Travel Kit

We had a great trip. Summer is my favorite time to be in Colorado as I love to hike and not so much to snow ski. We spent a day on the western edge of Denver hiking around Dinosaur Ridge and then went over to Red Rocks Amphitheater. We will see a concert there one day!

redrocks

We had a great time celebrating with my cousin and her new husband. Most of my family made the trip to Denver and it was great to all be together.

wedding

Then we were off to Colorado Springs to visit some friends and see some more sites. We went to Cave of the Winds where we did a cave tour and Todd did their new crazy attraction, the Terror-dactyl. Before we left, we hiked around Garden of the Gods which is always one of our favorite places to visit in the area. In true monkey form, Carter had no issues with climbing. we were hoping to get some actual rock climbing in, but it didn’t work out this time.

GardenofTheGods

I also made a trip to Seattle this month for work. I’d never been there before. Unfortunately I was only there around 24 hours. I look forward to going back sometime soon.

seattle

August will bring the start of Kindergarten for Carter. It’s so hard to believe he’s at that age already. I’m really excited for him. Stay tuned for the obligatory back to school photos!

LEGO Travel Kit

This LEGO travel kit is a perfect way to keep your Lego lover entertained on a long car trip or plane ride.

LEGO Travel Kit

If you follow me on Instagram, you know we recently took a family vacation to Colorado. This is about a 650 mile drive from Des Moines to our first destination in Denver. If you’re not making many stops, that’s a 10 hour drive. It took us almost 12 with various stops. Prior to this, our longest road trip with Carter was last year’s trip to the Wisconsin Dells, which is about a 6 hour drive from here. 

We regularly drive 2 hours to visit Todd’s parents, and Carter gets bored on that drive, so I was a little worried about how he’d do on a 10+ hour trek. Several months ago I had pinned this portable LEGO kit from mama.papa.bubba. Of course I didn’t think of putting this together until the night before we were leaving, so luckily all of the items I used were already on hand. In less than 10 minutes it was complete. No better type of project!

Supplies: 

  • Lunch box
  • LEGO plates to fit inside cover of lunchbox
  • Velcro
  • LEGOS for building 

I started by finding LEGO plates to fit the inside cover of the lunch box. I didn’t have one that fit perfectly, but I found two that worked together for the right size. I removed the tape from the velcro and adhered one side to the underside of the LEGO plates. Then I put the other side of the velcro tab facing its velcro counterpart and removed the backing. This allows you to easily affix the other side of the velcro  by just pressing the LEGO plates into the inside cover without having to worry about trying to get them aligned. 

After that, Carter helped me pick out some LEGOs to put into the travel kit. He picked a variety of building blocks of different sizes as well as vehicles and minifigs.

It drives me a little nuts, but Carter loves to switch his minifigs around. Here are two of the mismatches he made at a restaurant somewhere in Nebraska.I didn’t get any pictures of his other creations

 mismatch-minifig

 I’ll post more pictures from our vacation in my July Wrap Up later this month, but all-in-all the road trip was a success! Between the LEGO travel kit, DVD’s and some little gifts I wrapped up from the Target dollar bin, we kept the “are we there yet’s” to a minimum.

Linked Up At: That DIY Party; Think Pink Sunday; The Creative Collection; Monday Funday

USA Rocks Iron-on Transfer T-Shirt

For the 2nd year in a row, I made Carter a custom patriotic shirt for the 4th of July. Last year I used a bleach pen, this year I used an iron-on transfer made with my Silhouette Cameo.  

USA Rocks Shirt

 I use my Cameo all the time to make stencils for various projects. This is the 3rd time I’ve used their iron-on heat transfer material. The first was Carter’s St. Patrick’s Day “Iowish” shirt. 

I was originally planning on making my own design as I usually do, but I was running a little short on time, so I browsed the Silhouette store for pre-designed options I might be able to use. I settled on the USA Rocks design. Since I wasn’t printing the design, I did a little adjustment to account for this being just one color. Then I reversed the design and put the Cameo to work cutting it. 

After I weeded out the negative spaces, I was ready to iron. 

usa-rocks-iron-on-2

 You need to put a towel or other cloth barrier between your iron and your transfer. The directions say to press firmly for 30-45 seconds across each section of the design. I found that I needed to do this several times for much longer to really get the design secured down. It probably took 5-7 minutes of ironing for this design. 

Iusa-rocks-ironing-2

 After that, I fully peeled back the plastic sheeting and the t-shirt was done! As always, Carter was being silly when I asked him to pose in his new shirt! This is a really easy and fairly quick way to create custom shirts that look professional. What I like about this design is that he can wear the shirt anytime, and not just the 4th of July.

Carter-usa-rocks-shirt

 Overall we had a great holiday weekend. It was pretty jam packed, but we had a lot of fun with friends and enjoyed some good quality family time. Here’s a few pics from the weekend.

Todd golfed for a few hours on the 4th, so Carter and I decided to enjoy the many miles of bike trails close to our house and explore some parks along the way we don’t go to very often. The weather was too gorgeous to not take advantage of it!

biking

We met some friends to enjoy fireworks on the 4th. This year we tried a new vantage point, which was a little farther away from the launch area than where we normally go. Carter seemed a lot less interested in the actual fireworks than he did the sparklers he was lighting.

fireworks-sparklers

On Sunday, we had our annual day for my company at Adventureland amusement park. Carter is at a really fun age to enjoy quite a few of the rides. He was so excited to be tall enough to ride a few of the roller coasters. This kid has no fear as he embarked on his first ride on the “Tornado”. He immediately declared afterward “THAT… WAS… AWWWWESOME!

tornado-firstride

How is it that long weekends are just never long enough?!