Welcoming Spring with a New #Stencil1 DIY Door Mat #ad

Disclosure: This post has been compensated as part of a creation tour for Blueprint Social and its advertiser Stencil1 and Plaid.

#ad DIY door mat tutorial with #Stencil1

Spring should be here soon, maybe. A few days ago, on the first day of official spring, it snowed at my house. Bummer. And yesterday, even more snow. (When will it end?!) Either way, I have decided that I will be ready for spring whenever it does decide to join us! 

One way that I am celebrating the beginning of spring is by cleaning up around my house and replacing worn out items with fresh ones. Right away I found an item that looked like it had seen its fair share of salt, dirt and wear through the winter, my poor little door mat. It looked like it had been dragged through the mud, literally. I decided that my little plain door mat needed a little bit of love. After giving the mat a good cleaning, I made the decision to add some color to that old, boring mat. You know, something to give it a fresh face-lift for the warm months to come. The months when people might actually come by our house to visit us without the worry of getting stuck in the crazy snow drifts.

#ad #Stencil1 FolkArt Multi-surface paints

Giving my doormat a fresh look for spring was easy with Ed Roth Stencils and FolkArt Multi-surface paints. The stencils are large and are made for bigger working surfaces. Plus, the paint is durable and made for both indoor and outdoor use. FolkArt Multi-surface paint is even dishwasher safe so I don’t have to worry about the spring rain washing the color out of my newly refurbished rug.

#ad #stencil1 DIY Spring Doormat

Application was easy. I just laid out the re-usable stencil where I wanted it and with a tight, flat ended brush began to press downward over the stencil with my choice of paint color. The layered look of the stencil made it easy to use all of my favorite spring colors into one design and create a masterpiece rug that looked like I had purchased it in a store.

#ad Using Ed Roth #Stencil1 on a rug

After I finished using the stencil, I decided to add a little bit of extra personalization. It is my house after all. It should be personalized. To finish off the mat I free-handed a turquoise H in the bottom corner of the mat. Now, it’s mine and I love it.

#ad Painting an outdoor rug with #Stencil1

I placed my new rug out front of my home as if to gesture to spring to come for a visit. So, come on Spring! We’re ready for you. 
#ad #Stencil1 Spring Doormat Tutorial
Ready to make your own DIY door mat? Here’s what you need: 
Ed Roth cherry blossom stencil1 – available at JoAnn Fabric & Craft stores
FolkArt Multi-surface paint in colors: 
Teal, Brown, Parchment and Eggplant. 
For more information on the products used and further creative ideas visit: 

Here are more great projects you can make with Ed Roth stencils and Folk-Art Multi-Surface paints.

<3 Dick and Jane

The Summer of No Schedules

I have decided to start on a new journey, or I guess you could call it a motto or a goal, for the summer months that lay ahead of me. All too often I find myself looking around for something or someone to make me happy. I crave entertainment. I have become discontent when I have nothing to do or nowhere to go. I find myself anxious in my down time. I have also found that this type of behavior has trickled down to my kids who are constantly asking to play games on my phone or go somewhere to do something. Why can’t we simply find happiness in our everyday lives? Why does there always need to be something around us to entertain us?

I have decided that this summer is going to be all about living simple. I plan to fill our days with lemonade in the sun, days spent weeding in the gardens, afternoons spent building sand castles on the beach and evenings spent enjoying home cooked meals with friends out on the back terrace. Why must there be big elaborate vacations, daily schedules to keep us entertained or classes to keep the kids busy? No, this summer we will work on just being happy in our everyday lives.

And, for those of you who didn’t catch that in the last paragraph of me telling you that I am going to get rid of schedules, I in fact started to make a schedule of what we are going to do with our down time. Funny. This task may sound easy, but in fact, I think that it is going to be quite difficult for me. I guess we will see how it goes! Wish me luck!

<3 Dick and Jane

Having a Bunch of Easter Fun with @Lindt_Chocolate #Spon

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Lindt which provided me with free product to use in my creation process. 
#ad #LindtGOLDBUNNY White Truffle Cupcakes

Easter is almost here and it is one of my favorite holidays! Every year my family hosts a HUGE Easter egg hunt in our backyard and we invite all of our extended family plus everyone in the neighborhood to join us. It always turns out to be a great time of socializing and spring time fun after the long winter months. This year I am planning a few special things for the big event and lucky you, you’re getting a sneak peek!

Before I show you all the fun we will be having this Easter, let me show you a way you can have some fun of your own right now. Starting today you can join Lindt on Facebook for your very own virtual scavenger hunt. Through the game you can have fun building your own Better Easter Basket with the #LindtGOLDBUNNY and friends. By playing you can win prizes for yourself and help Lindt donate money to the Autism Speaks program.

Why do I support Lindt? For the sixth consecutive year, Lindt is partnering with Autism Speaks to help raise money and awareness for the cause.  Since April is Autism Awareness month, Lindt will support Autism Speaks via a number of different initiatives and throughout the Easter season.  Click here to learn more.

#ad #LindtGOLDBUNNY

This year I thought it would be fun to try my hand at a Better Easter Basket. I wanted something that I could hide along with all of the other eggs and have it be one BIG surprise egg at the end of the hunt. The only problem was, I couldn’t find an egg large enough to be able to fill with all of the Lindt goodies I wanted to include. Turns out, that’s not a problem after all. All I needed to create a large egg shaped better Easter basket was some glue, water, newspaper and a balloon.

#ad #LindtGOLDBUNNY

Adults only craft

To create a large egg I simply ripped up a few long strands of newspaper. Next, I blew up a balloon to the size I wanted my egg and tied it off to keep the air inside. Then, I mixed 2 parts white glue to 1 part water and stirred. I dipped the newspaper into the glue solution and wrapped the balloon in the soaked newspaper, covering the balloon completely. I layered several newspaper scraps on top of each other and repeated this several times. I left the one end open for filling. I then allowed the newspaper to dry completely.

After 24 hours and after the newspaper has dried completely, I popped the balloon. What is left is a hollow, egg shaped shell. Next, I painted the shell with gold paint and allowed it to dry again.

Finally, I added a few accents such as googly eyes and other facial markings using a marker (to make it more fun looking!).

The bunny can now be filled with goodies and the open end covered with tape or more newspaper to keep everything from falling out. Tip: I left the open end of my egg on the bottom so it could be easily hidden.

#ad #LindtGOLDBUNNY

Now, what’s a party without treats? I wanted to come up with something different to bring to the party this year. Cupcakes are usually my go to treat for parties, but I wanted a more gourmet cupcake this time around. You know like the ones you get at the bakery that are filled with a little something extra in the center? Well I figured it out! Today, while snacking on some LINDOR truffles, I came up with a way to get that creamy center filled cupcake that I sought after! Good news, its super easy!

#ad #LindtGOLDBUNNY White Truffle Cupcakes recipe

 White Truffle Cupcakes

Ingredients
1/2 c. softened butter
1 & 1/2 c. all purpose flour
1 & 1/3 c. sugar
1 & 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. milk
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
12 Spring LINDOR truffles
1 Lindt 85% cocoa EXCELLENCE bar for garnish

Frosting: http://bit.ly/1jnJ1UO

#ad Lindt White Truffle Cupcake


Directions
Combine softened butter, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt together in a large bowl. Beat on low until combined thoroughly. Slowly add in both eggs and mix. Add milk and vanilla, combine until smooth. Pour mixture into cupcake liners within a cupcake tray and bake at 350 degrees for about 8-10 minutes or until browned and tested with a toothpick.

Once baked, remove from pan and set on a cooling rack. Using a small spoon, remove the center from the cupcake and add a LINDOR truffle into the hole you’ve made. Do this while they are slightly still warm and it will melt into the cake. Once the cupcakes are completely cooled, frost the cupcakes, grate chocolate bar on top of the frosting and serve.

#ad White Truffle Cupcake

Doesn’t that look good?

Now, let’s take a look at how everything is coming together. My plan for the event is to use gold chevron and pair it with turquoise accents. That’s spring-y enough right? Even if it’s not, I love the color combination! I pulled together some things I had around the house and made one super cute tablescape. I just can’t wait for the actual party! I’m so ready!

#ad #LindtGOLDBUNNY

Are you ready to have some fun? Join Lindt, myself and hundreds of others on April 8th from 9-10pm EST as we share tips for building the perfect Easter basket, discuss Easter family traditions, and trade Easter dinner recipe ideas.  Follow Lindt on Twitter @Lindt_Chocolate along with the hashtags #LindtGOLDBUNNY and #gno to take part in the conversation!

#ad A Better Easter Basket Paper Mache Bunny

What’s your favorite Easter tradition? Share with us!

<3 Dick and Jane

Pesto Chicken & Potatoes Casserole – Five Ingredient Dinner! #sponsored by @Simplypotatoes

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Simply Potatoes
The opinions and text are all mine.
#ad Pesto Chicken and Potatoes casserole

One of the things that I love doing here at Raising Dick and Jane is creating and sharing fun, new recipes like this one for pesto chicken and potatoes. This simple, five ingredient dish was recently inspired by a little sub restaurant that I visited for the first time the other day and a new recipe creation contest over at the Simply Potatoes website. Yes, sometimes I do get paid to create new recipes (such fun!) and you can too! If you’ve ever wanted to try out creating recipes for money then today is your day! Right now, over at the Simply Potatoes website you can submit an original 5 ingredient recipe for a chance to win cash! Sounds like fun, doesn’t it?

In order to show you how easy it is to create a recipe using only five ingredients I have created my own dish that you can use as an inspiration to start working on your own. My dish is quick, easy and super tasty! Plus, it includes pesto! I just love anything with pesto, don’t you?

#ad Simply Potatoes 5 Ingredient Recipe

PESTO CHICKEN & POTATOES

Ingredients:

1 bag of Simply Potatoes – diced potatoes with onion
1 lb. chicken breast
3 TBS. pesto
1/3 c. Italian dressing
2 c. shredded colby jack cheese

Directions:

Begin by preheating your oven to 400 degrees.
In a large mixing bowl combine your pesto and Italian dressing. Whisk to combine.

#ad Chicken and Pesto Potato Bake

Pour your frozen potatoes into the pour and toss to coat. Pour the entire bowl’s mixture into a 13×9″ glass baking dish. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until the potatoes are to your liking. Remember to stir every 10 minutes or so.

#ad Simply Potatoes 5 Ingredient Recipe Contest

While the potatoes are baking, cook your chicken in a large skillet until done. Cut the chicken into medium sized pieces.
Once the potatoes are to your liking, add the chicken to the baking dish and cover with shredded cheese.
Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake 10-15 minutes more or until the cheese is bubbly.
Remove from oven and serve warm.

#ad Pesto Chicken and Potato Bake

Now it’s your turn! Let’s see what you can come up with for this five ingredient challenge. If you enter be sure to come back and share your recipe with us. I would love to give it a try!

For rules on how to enter the Sweepstakes click here.

<3 Dick and Jane

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

The Leprechaun’s Visited Us Last Night!

St. Patricks Day fun - Leprechauns
Those sneaky little leprechauns! Every year on St. Patrick’s day eve the leprechaun’s come out to play. This is their night of partying. They flip over the furniture, create chaos and hide a small pot of gold somewhere in our house, all while the kids sleep at night.  
In the morning our house erupts with laughter as the kids spring from their beds to find the mess that awaits them. They giggle at the funny things the leprechauns did as they rummaged through our house in search of treasure. Things like turning our computer monitor upside-down, putting all of the dining room chairs on the table and turning the morning milk and toilet water green. 
St. Patricks Day Pot of Gold - Raising Dick and Jane


The highlight of the morning is the pot of gold that was left behind, hidden, somewhere in our home. It is filled with treasure (gold wrapped chocolates, mint M&M’s and jelly beans the color of the rainbow). Remember, those leprechauns are a bit tricky so figuring out where they hid their pot of gold can sometimes be hard. . . just remember to first look for a rainbow, then follow it to the end. 🙂

Have you ever had leprechauns visit your home? What fun did they bring to you and your kids?

Like it? PIN IT for later. —> http://www.pinterest.com/pin/165225880053925635/

<3 Dick and Jane

Let’s Discuss It – Coffee

Coffee – you either love it or hate it. I would consider myself somewhere in between. While I like drinking coffee and the little buzz that it gives me in the morning I can honestly say that I am still undecided.

You know when you ask a coffee drinker how they like their coffee and they immediately pipe in with their order? They know exactly how they like it and what they like in it. Me, I am not yet sure. I have tried several different brands, combinations and I still look a deer in headlights when someone asks me that almost too easy question.

There is also the question of fair trade, organic and “shade-grown”. What does all of this mean?

Just a little info:
The Fair Trade Label means that the coffee meets certain standards such as being produced without child labor, that it is produced using restricted herbicides and pesticides and that the final exporter is paid a minimum price and a premium. However, much like the organic trade, these labels cost the producer extra money to be added to their product. This is something not every company can afford to do even if they are producing their coffee under the same regulations.

So what do you think? What is the best way to have a coffee? Whats your secret combination?

What are the best brands?

Do you look for the “Fair Trade” or “Shade-Grown” label before you buy?

What are your favorite coffee gadgets?

What are your thoughts on the coffee industry as a whole?

I know that there are a lot of opinions about this so if you comment, please keep it informational and helpful. I will be moderating it. No mean comments please!

Spill your thoughts in the comments below.

The BAKE IT don’t BUY IT diet

A few months ago I adopted a new way of thinking. It’s not really a “diet”, but I will call it a diet anyways because it is simply a new way of eating. My “diet” I have named the Bake It don’t Buy It diet. Really, its quite simple. If I want to eat sweets, which is something I regularly crave, then I don’t rush out to the store or the bakery and buy something pre-made. Instead, I refrain from ever buying pre-made sweets and bake my own at home. 
If I want something sweet and decadent, that’s fine, but I must first head to the kitchen and bake it. 


This way of thinking has completely changed my sweet eating habits. I have given up candy bars and cupcakes at the retail level and am baking better (and healthier) sweets at home. Not only do I now have control of whats going into my sweets but I am also eating less of it. . because frankly I don’t always have the time (or desire) to whip up cookies or cakes from scratch. If I want something sweet bad enough then I will get it made, if not. . then I probably didn’t need it anyways.

Now if you think that baking sweets from scratch is hard, it really isn’t. I have put together a few of my favorite sweet treat recipes. Some are from me and some are from my favorite foodie bloggers and I will link to their posts. 
Before you go thinking that this make believe “diet” is going to make you loose weight, I am not claiming that. I merely use it as a way to eat better foods in my diet while helping myself cut down on the amount of sugars and sweets I consume. Convenience sweets are just too easy and readily available. That’s it. 
Yogurt Sugar Cookies
via Raising Dick and Jane blog
Chocolate Coconut Popcorn
via The Untrained Housewife 
Whole Wheat Chocolate Banana Cupcakes
via I’m Not the Nanny Blog
Caramel Cocoa Latte Cookies
via Raising Dick and Jane blog
Cinnamon Sugar Apple Roll Up’s
via Raising Dick and Jane Blog
Dark Chocolate Zucchini Cake
via Raising Dick and Jane blog
Molten Chocolate Cake
via Mindfully Frugal Mom
Homemade Nutter Butters
via Chocolates and Carrots blog
Five Minute Vegan Strawberry Sorbet
via Groovy Green Living blog

Enjoy!
If you know of a made from scratch treat that you love, leave a link to it in the posts! The more options I have to soothe my sweet tooth the better. 

Creating an Open Art Space for Kids with @Crayola #ColorfulCreations #shop

I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for Collective Bias and its advertiser. #ColorfulCreations #CollectiveBias
#colorfulcreations #collectivebias #shop
This post is something I am super excited to share with you. For one thing, I had so much fun putting it together and secondly the colors in this post are amazing! Don’t you agree? 
#shop #ColorfulCreations #CollectiveBias

Creativity and art are something I am passionate about and I wanted to create a space in my home that was available to my kids at any time and would allow for them to find their own creativity in an open way. I wanted to create a place that was stocked with open ended toys such as Crayola crayonspaintssidewalk chalk, paper and anything else they would need to create. (When I say open ended I mean toys that don’t have a definite purpose or a specific way to play with them.) Luckily for me, I already had a space that I created for them awhile back out of their old crib. All it needed was some organization and inspiration; so I headed over to Walmart and picked up the goods. 

#ColorfulCreations #CollectiveBias #Shop

First, I started off by stocking the table with things the kids could use to create. However, I also wanted to make sure everything was organized and had a place. It is much easier to create when you don’t have difficulty finding the utensils. To keep organized I found some amazing hanging metal buckets that the paints and chalk fit into perfectly. I also bought a three drawer container to keep all of the paper in place and put away. The crayons were already perfect in their own little box and a mason jar now sits on the desk to hold the paint brushes and pencils. 
Organization is a big part of being creative! 
#shop #ColorfulCreations #collectivebias

#shop #ColorfulCreations #CollectiveBias
Get free coloring pages for your kids at Crayola.com
I wanted the kids to create the art that would hang around the table on the walls so it would forever inspire them. To do this we pulled out the newly purchased craft supplies and got to work. First we used the washable Crayola paints and crayons to create works of art on raised canvas. We also used paper and created even more drawings and paintings to accompany the canvas on the walls.
As we created our art we were able to talk about how different mediums create different looks and textures on different canvases. The paint for instance covers smoothly while the crayons leave a textured look on the canvas. We also found that they created different looks when used on paper. 
#colorfulcreations #collectivebias #shop

#colorfulcreations #collectivebias #shop

After the works of art were complete we decided to hang them on the wall. Dad helped us with this to make sure everything was level and secure. 
#colorfulcreations #collectivebias #shop

#shop #ColorfulCreations #CollectiveBias
We used clipboards to display our paper drawings that way they can be easily changed out as inspiration strikes.
#Colorfulcreations #Cbias #shop
The art supplies and creative space have been an amazing addition to our household. The kids have loved to use their free time playing and creating. Today we decided that, since it was still cold and snowing outside, we would play with our sidewalk chalk indoors. We rolled out some craft paper on the floor and had a great time! No mess, easy clean up!
#colorfulcreations #collectivebias #shop

#colorfulcreations #collectivebias #shop
There is so much fun to be had when you make open ended toys available to your children. There is never an end to what can be created. 
#colorfulcreations #collectivebias #shop
Please Note: Crayola Washable Paint is Not for use as body/face paint. Please also see age recommendations on products prior to using them. 
Thanks for joining us!
<3 Dick and Jane