DIY: 50th Anniversary Shadow Box

20140607_161527My husband’s grandparents celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary last summer and when we were planning our wedding, I heard that they didn’t have a copy of their wedding certificate. Now, honestly, I have no clue where ours is and it’s only been a little over four years, but I was able to hunt theirs down at the local courthouse. For theirs, I created a nice shadow box to put it on display which also doubled as an anniversary gift. Really, I need to this for my own when I hunt it down. This gift can easily be created for a wedding, anniversary or really any other occasion and could easily be used for a birth certificate, diploma or any other piece of paper you wish to display.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • A 12×12 shadowbox (This may need to be bigger depending on the size of your certificate)
  • 12 x 12 scrapbook paper (Preferably two contrasting shades or patterns)
  • Decorative straight pins (Six came with the shadowbox)
  • Plain straight pins
  • Double sided tape
  • The certificate you wish to display
  • Other decorative items you wish to include (I used a photo and a little sign I created with Photoshop)

Start off by hunting down the certificate you wish to display. Birth and marriage records can be obtained from the local courthouse. Finding the marriage certificate I used was actually fairly easy. I had both of the names (important) and took them to the courthouse of the county that I knew there were married in. The clerk easily looked it up and helped my find the right one among the gazillions of paperwork they had on file. They made a photocopy and I was on my way.

20140607_155056Next, I picked up my shadowbox (I found mine at Target) and bought my scrapbook paper. I chose a gold patterned piece, since the 50th anniversary is typically the golden anniversary, and a piece of gold glitter paper.

Once home, I created a little sign using Photoshop and printed a photo that I had on file. I don’t love the picture, but it was the most recent one I had. I then used plain straight pins and affixed the patterned piece of paper into the back of the shadowbox, using one pin in each of the four corners.

20140607_160257I then trimmed my glittery paper using the sizes of my certificate, sign and photo as a guideline. I made the glittery paper slightly larger (about an inch and a half on each side) than each of the items to allow the glittery to create a contrast between the item and the background. Using my double sided tape, I affixed each item to its corresponding glittery paper.

Using the decorative pins, I pinned each item into the box, starting with the certificate at the top and then the photo and sign under it.

20140607_164432After adding back the piece of glass (this shadowbox worked like a photo frame and not like some that I’ve seen that open on hinges) I wrapped it in tissue paper, put it in a bag and was on my way.

So there you have it. A nice, personalized gift that someone is sure to love for their anniversary, birthday, graduation or more. 20140607_161527

Crockpot Pineapple Chicken

20141103_185027I’ll start off by saying I’m not a huge fan of pineapple, but this recipe wasn’t bad. It actually didn’t turn out that pineapple-y. My guess is the soy sauce mellows out the fruity flavor of the pineapple.

I found the recipe via Pinterest and it comes from “Moms with Crockpots:”

Crockpot Pineapple Chicken

Prep time
5 mins
Cook time
6 hours
Total time
6 hours 5 mins
Recipe type: Dinner
Serves: 6-8
  • 3-4 Chicken Breasts (about 2 lbs)
  • 1 can of pineapple in juice (tidbits, chucks, rings, it doesn’t matter)
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 TBSP soy sauce
  • ½ cup chicken broth
  1. Chop onion and place in crock pot.
  2. Place Chicken Breast on top of onion.
  3. Dump the can of pineapple (juice and all) over the chicken.
  4. Dump the soy sauce and the chicken broth on top of everything.
  5. Cover and cook on HIGH in the crockpot for 4-5 hours or on low for 6-8
  6. hours.
  7. Serve over rice and with a steamed veggie.

20141103_090341For my recipe, I used three chicken breasts from Wegmans. My husband and I buy the big club packs and freeze the breasts individually to cut costs. My pineapple was a can of the Dole Pineapple Tidbits and I used a white onion, plus gluten free soy sauce and Wegmans organic chicken broth.

20141103_090628Following the instructions, I hand chopped my onion and placed it in my crockpot that I had sprayed with Coconut Oil to minimize sticking. I then added my defrosted chicken breasts on top of the onion before adding the can of pineapple, soy sauce and chicken broth. I then set my crockpot on low for 6 hours which ended up being more than enough time. When finished, I served over Market Pantry White Rice. I skipped the vegetable since the chicken was fairy thick and I felt the starchiness of the rice would be too much to then add a vegetable.

The chicken was well-cooked and had a good flavor to it. I will say I’m finding out that I’m not a fan of soy sauce and chicken in the crockpot. It creates a strange flavor that I can’t really put my finger on. It’s a little heavy and with chicken, I would rather it be lighter. It could also be that this dish needs a little more seasoning or something extra. I can’t quite figure it out, but it was missing something. I’d love to hear what everyone else thinks after trying it. In the meantime, enjoy!

I do not own this recipe. This blog represents my own experience with it.

Less than 10-minutes, under $10 Valentine’s Day wreaths

20150214_150811I ended up working a lot this week and didn’t get around to making Valentine’s Day wreaths until today, yep Valentine’s Day. Luckily, they’ll make an easy transition to spring since they aren’t overly holiday-ish. To keep things simple and easy, being that I was on a time crunch and all, I combined pre-made embellishments with rustic-style wreaths.

20150214_150807 The wreaths I picked up in the dollar section of Target for $3 each. One was a little bent, but at $3 I can’t really complain. To go along with them, I also nabbed a pink felt flower for $1. The flower is attached to a clothespin which makes it easy to attach to the wreath.

20150214_150756I also picked up three-dimensional burlap floral stickers by Jolee’s Boutique. I had never seen them before, but I fell in love with them and the burlap matched the style of my felt flower. Plus, they were on sale for half off so $2.99 for each, with each containing two stickers. Score! In the floral section, I picked up some bright pink flowers for $5.99. Not on sale, but not horribly priced either.20150214_150842

For the first wreath, I used the pink flowers, pulling them into individual stems and then wedging those stems down into the grapevine wreath material. It took about five minutes and bam, I had a wreath.IMG_6408

For the second wreath, I attached the felt flower first, using the clothespin to hook onto the grapevine wreath material. Then, using the twisty tie attached to the back of each flower sticker to wrap around the grapevine, I added two cream flowers and two pink flowers. Again, five minutes later, I had a wreath. IMG_6401

And now both my front and back doors have a nice, festive pop of color on them all for less than $10 each. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Thirty One and cardboard equals genius!

20140930_221220If you’re like me, you have at least one Thirty-One bag. If you’re unfamiliar with Thirty-One, now is the time to check it out here. You’ll thank me later. Anyway, what is the most popular thing in Thirty-One’s lineup of products? Utility totes! I have the large utility tote, I have the deluxe utility tote, I have the zip top organizing utility tote. You get the picture. Now, Thirty-One is a smart company and they don’t just make the totes. Oh no. They make tops for the totes, attachable pouches for the totes, etc. etc. but there’s still an issue. A majority of the totes have soft bottoms. This is fine if you’re tote is maxed out full, but not so great if isn’t. So behold, I give you the life hack to end life hacks–a hard bottom for your Thirty One utility totes.

20140713_191357It’s fairly simple. You need cardboard, scissors and some waterproof tape. I used packing tape, but you could probably use duct tape, especially the super cute stuff with the bright colors or fancy patterns. I didn’t have that on-hand, so clear tape it was.

For my cardboard, I used the flaps off an Amazon box. I’m an Amazon junkie so it’s no surprise I had one of these laying around. Any cardboard will do, but this enabled me to re-purpose something I already had on hand.

Using your scissors, cut the flaps off the box. Then, take the flaps and push them into the bottom of your utility tote. This is to get a measurement for how long and wide the bottom will need to be. Make a mark on the flaps where they need to be trimmed. Taking them out of the bag, trim them in the necessary spot to ensure you get the proper length to cover the bottom of the bag.

For width, I found that I had to tape two flaps together, overlapping one slightly with the other, to get them to cover the bottom of my bag. This may not be necessary depending on how wide your cardboard is.

20140713_191341Once everything is cut and the two are overlapped (if necessary) tape everything together. Be sure to cover every inch of the cardboard, front and back, with tape to prevent them from getting wet in the bottom of the bag and bending.

When you’re finished, pop your new cardboard bottom into the bottom of your bag and voila, you now have a hard bottom utility tote.

20140713_191419Now you may be thinking, this is just cardboard and tape. It’s not going to hold up. I assure that’s not the case. I fashioned these bottoms for two of my totes right before I took them on a week-long beach trip. These bags were carried out to the beach everyday, occasionally became a home for wet towels and picked up a little sand along the way and they stayed perfect. I’ve since used the same bags, with the same cardboard bottoms, for a weekend beach trip, pool trips, moving, hauling Christmas presents and more. I have yet to have to remake a bottom or had any issues. Fabulous!20141225_122108

Fajita, fajita…

I’m a huge fan of naturally colorful food. There’s just something about it that screams healthy. Now note I say NATURALLY colored food. No, Cheetos do not count. I’m talking vibrant peppers and scallions, colorful fruit, green vegetables. Those kinds of things. So really, taking that into account, it’s no wonder that I love fajitas!

I usually choose to make steak fajitas with bright peppers and onions. They’re not my husbands favorite, but he loves me so he eats them anyway.

What you need to make Fajitas, Fajitas:

  • Steak
  • A variety of peppers (I usually use some combination of red, orange and yellow, sometimes adding in a green one here or there) 20140901_193611
  • Olive oil
  • An onion (I usually use a white onion, but really I’ll rock whatever’s on sale)
  • Fajita seasoning (I use Ortega)

1. I start off by cutting my steak into thin strips. I try to use organic steak, grass fed beef. I find it has a better quality and plus it doesn’t contain all the crazy things other beef does thanks to what the cows are fed and how the meat is treated.

2. 20140901_193425Once my steak is cut into strips, I put a small amount of Olive Oil in a skillet and add the steak. I cook it until it’s well done, but not burnt. I like it done, but not overdone.

3. Setting my steak aside, I chop my peppers and onions into large pieces and add them to the already hot skillet. Adding a small amount of oil, I sautee the vegetables until finished. I don’t like them too cooked, but I do like them a little soft. Usually, when the onions are being to take on a darker appearance I know my vegetables are done. It’s really up to you how you want them. I don’t think there’s a wrong answer here.20140901_195039

4. When the vegetables are finished, I add the steak back into the skillet and heat everything together adding fajita seasoning.

5. When done, I usually serve them on a corn tortilla with shredded cheese and occasionally lettuce and tomato, depending on the mood I’m in. I will say corn tortillas are an acquired taste, so flour tortillas work just as good.

Okay, now that I’ve made myself super hungry, enjoy your fajitas. Let me know how they come out. And if you wanted to send me some, I wouldn’t hate that either. Keep in mind if you’re in a rush or don’t feel like working with raw meat, you can also pick up preseasoned fajita steak strips that you just have to heat up. It’s an option.