Chocolate Banana Bites

I’m not going to lie, the only reason I’m writing about this recipe is so I remember to make them again!  Definitely not an original idea, but boy is it a good one!

You need…

Large bananas (I used 3)

Chocolate Chips

Peanut Butter

Melt the chocolate and peanut butter together until creamy (use whatever proportions taste good to YOU!) I had some taste testing help :)

Cut the bananas into largish chunks, and dip into your chocolate mixture

Lay chunks on parchment paper and freeze.

I also made some, and put them in the fridge.  The chocolate was hard, but the bananas were just cold instead of frozen.  Your preference!

Snack and enjoy :)


Drink Coasters

I will never, ever, buy drink coasters again.

After spending $20 on cute monogrammed coasters, ruining them, and then going through 6 more of the cardboard kind (like the kind at outback steak house), I decided, never again.  I know it’s my fault, I fill my glass with so much ice the glass sweats, and the coasters get moldy, ripped, or just super dingy.

So I’ve found a new alternative…

Head on over to the flooring department at your hardware store, and look around.  You thinking what I’m thinking? Tiles!  Costing anywhere from 39 cents, to $8 or $9, you can pick anything.

These slate tiles only cost 39 cents per tile (that’s $2.34 for a set of 6 – cheaper than any coasters you could find in the store)

Slightly more expensive, but these slate tiles are just beautiful…

If slate’s not your thing, these sea glass tiles are perfect!

The sides are finished and rounded, making them the perfect coasters!

You can even use laminate wood flooring – in pretty much any finish.

There are TONS of other options, but I think you get the point!  I picked up a few sea glass tiles for our family room, and they work great.  The sea glass tiles are actually flat and smooth on the back so I just put them on the coffee table, but if you’re afraid of scratching your furniture, buy a roll of cork from the craft store, and glue your tile to the cork.

After the glue is dry, cut with a razor blade  and enjoy!

Tie up a couple “coasters” with a cute ribbon, or some twine for a simple housewarming gift!


DIY Champagne Flutes

It’s the most, wonderful time of the year!  Since Nick and I aren’t able to go to a friend’s house-warming/New Years party, I thought I’d make a festive themed house-warming present for them, inspired by somethingturquoise.

I picked up some Champagne flutes, Martha Stewart glitter paint (it was on sale for 99 cents), and some foam pouncers from Michael’s.

Dip the pouncer into your glitter paint, and sponge it onto the Champagne flutes, thicker at the bottom, and thinning out towards the top.  I let each flute dry, and then applied a second coat over the thin spots.  I was going for a champagne bubble effect (you know how it looks bubbling up from the bottom), and picked gold so it wouldn’t turn the champagne an ugly color.

The best part is, the Martha Stewart paint on glass is dishwasher safe!  I don’t think it’d even be worth it to make something that you eat/drink out of that isn’t dishwasher safe.

I may just have to make myself a set of these!


Our First Christmas Tree!

Aww, right?! It’s true, this year Nick and I (and Coop!) have our first Christmas tree together.  Deciding how you want your first tree to look is a big deal!…I mean, it pretty much sets the tone for the rest of your Christmas trees!

My tree growing up was HUGE, thick, covered with colored lights, draped with red/silver/green/gold beaded garland, and had enough ornaments to cover 3 or 4 normal trees.  It was a total kids tree.  We never had to worry that our homemade ornaments weren’t going to “make the cut” because it didn’t go with the tree’s decor, because there really wasn’t one!

I asked Nick to describe his tree, and he said white lights, glass ornaments, ribbon, and picks (he didn’t really say picks, but he described them to me)…so pretty much the exact opposite of my family tree.

So we had to compromise to make “our tree”.  (We both wanted to cut down a real tree, so that was an easy place to start.) We ended up with white lights, ornaments from both families, and beaded garland.  It’s not a designer tree, there is no “theme”, none of the ornaments match, and I’m pretty sure everyone uses ribbon today instead of bead garland, BUT we love it, and isn’t that all that matters ;)

I realize now, I took this picture pre-star-on-top, but there is one! Promise!


Peppermint Bark

I’ve made a lot of easy recipes in my life, but let me tell you, this is the easiest!  And since a tiny bag of peppermint bark is selling for $12 at the store, it’s definitely worth it!  JoyofBaking has an easy and tasty recipe with a little cooking video.  I’ll sum it up though, since the video is 10 minutes long and its only three steps.

You need…

- Dark Chocolate (<70% cocoa, higher is too bitter)

- White Chocolate (check the back and make sure it says cocoa butter – not olive oil or some other substitute)

- Candy canes

Put the candy canes in a bag (or your food processor) and break them up.

Melt your dark chocolate in the microwave or on the stove.  Add 1 tsp of tasteless oil (keeps the chocolate shiny).  Pour the dark chocolate into your pan. Laying down aluminum foil makes it easier to get the chocolate out at the end (forgot that step though!).  Put your pan + chocolate in the fridge until hard (30+ mins).

Repeat the same steps for the white chocolate, but BEFORE you put it in the fridge, sprinkle the peppermint crumbles on top.

After it’s completely hard, break or cut into pieces and enjoy!


the first NOEL

Literally. The first of mannnny. But lets start at the beginning…

I found this iron Noel sign at pottery barn for $150.  I loved the seamless-ness of the letters, and the simplicity of the design.  But, I had to find a cheaper way to make the sign if it was going to grace my apartment with its presence.

I was pretty certain I could recreate the sign using wood, and paint.  Since I was already planning a trip to visit my grandparents, I would have access to pretty much any tool I could want - since I, myself, don’t own a saw.

After a trip to hobby lobby, I decided that I couldn’t cut corners and just buy pre-cut letters and glue them together if I wanted the seemless effect pottery barn created.  So I went back home, and created a “stencil” – aka. I printed off letters (Times New Roman!) and taped them together. I thought about using a different layout or even word, but the crooked o is what made me fall in love, so I decided not to change anything.

I used a black marker to thicken some of the letters, because I didn’t want them to break while I was cutting.

My plan was to cut the letters out and trace them onto the wood, but my mom suggested just taping them on and cutting over the paper, which is what I ended up doing, and it worked perfectly!

I used a pretty large piece of plywood (don’t use plywood, use real wood) – which had to be cut into a smaller section so I could move it around.

Using a large drill bit – we drilled holes through the inside of the letters, so I would have a place to stick the saw and start cutting from.

Then all that was left to do was start cutting! I used a saber saw for the first NOEL (notice I said first!), and moved up to a jig saw for the rest.  I asked my grandpa if I needed a supervisor while I was cutting, and he said “nope, you can cut yourself, but you can’t cut anything off” which apparently means I wasn’t going to get any help, and to start cutting!

After 30 minutes of cutting, I was starting to realize why pottery barn was charging $150 for each sign…

After making all the cuts, I had to sand, and sand, and sand some more. And then while I was painting, the still wet NOEL fell off the balcony – seriously.  So I had to wait until it dried over night, and sand and paint again.  And now I hate sanding.

But finally, for the cost of nothing (free wood, I owned the paint, primer, and wall mount I screwed in the back), and A LOT of hard work, you get…

Love it! I made the mistake of making this in front of my family – which means I now have to make 8 EIGHT! more.  I’ve enlisted some help, so hopefully we can crank them out in a couple of hours.  The new ones will be real wood and stained so you can see the wood grain- I’ll post a picture when they’re completely done.


Throw & Go

For me, the hardest part of making throw pillows is finding the motivation to get the sewing machine out of storage! I’m no expert by annnymeans, but I’ve learned a few things that I thought I’d pass on.

1. Use fabric napkins!

Picture this… you walk into pier one and walk to their wall of throw pillows…and walk away because you can’t find one for less than $30 (even the clearance).  Instead of leaving disappointed, head on over to where they keep the napkins for $1.50, pick up two, and sew them together!  You’ll probably even find a few napkins that are the same pattern and fabric as their pillows.  Plus – a lot of cloth napkins have texture on them, which gives the pillows a little something extra.

2. Use place mats!

Examples from target.

Though a little more expensive than napkins, place mats usually have awesome details!  Most of the time, you can even pull the seams out that are holding the front and back of the place mat together and stuff in a pillow!

3. Create a removable pillow cover.  It is so much easier to take off the pillow case and throw it in the wash, than to try to spot-clean a throw pillow. Thrify and Chic has an awesome tutorial for creating an awesome pillow cover.

4. Buy cheap ugly pillows.  Depending on the size and plush-ness, even insert pillows can cost over $10, so next time you see that super ugly – super clearance throw, pick it up and recover it!

5. Recover your pillows.  Going along with #3, instead of buying a new insert pillow every time you make a pillow, just recover a pillow you already have.  I mean – you can only have so many pillows before your guests have to start sitting on the floor!  This works perfect for holiday themed pillows, since they’ll only be out for a couple of weeks.


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