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The Beados Starter Kit Is a Fun Way to Spend an Afternoon

Posted on Oct 29, 2014 by No Comments

Remember those kits that had the plastic beads that you had to place on pegs and then heat in the oven so they’d all stick together? I used to play with those at a friend’s house, but my mom wasn’t too crazy about the idea of having the beads all over the house and having to get the oven involved.

Beados remind me of those, but better. No heating (or burning!) is involved.

When you get the starter kit, you get a selection of 400 Beados in a variety of colors. You also get design trays, charts to follow to create certain Beados designs, a pod pen that makes placing the Beados easier, four pods, a spray bottle (since you set them with water), and more.

My daughter got this set for her birthday and spent the rest of the afternoon hard at work, creating cute little characters. She liked it so much, she bought a refill kit with more Beados with a gift card to the toy store someone gave her.

The only bad part for her is the waiting time. You spray the finished projects with water and then you have to wait for them to dry so all the tiny pieces will be stuck together and able to be removed from the design trays. There’s a drying station set you can buy, but for now, we’re just practicing patience.

Kids can also make their own designs instead of following the ones in the kit. However, if they do get bored with the available designs and don’t feel like creating their own, there are themed refill kits that look pretty fun.

Photo credit: Beados

Link Round-up: Gratitude, a New Shirt, Spider Crafts, and More

Posted on Oct 28, 2014 by No Comments

Today’s link round-up has ways to bring more gratitude into your life, how to make a cute new top for yourself, spider crafts, “healthy” brownies, and more.

A Beautiful Mess showed us how to make breakfast cereal popcorn balls.

Mind Body Green shared nine simple ways to bring more gratitude into your life.

Create Craft Love taught us how to make a cute gathered back t-shirt.

Oh She Glows shared a recipe for flourless thumbprint breakfast cookies.

link ru superhero checkers

Crafts by Amanda showed us how to play checkers with superheroes and buttons.

I Should Be Mopping the Floor posted a recipe with spinach brownies with pumpkin frosting.

Crafts ‘n Coffee showed us some DIY spider crafts to squeeze in before Halloween.

Photo credit: A Beautiful Mess and Crafts by Amanda

Greek Gods Honey Vanilla Kefir Is a Delicious Drink with Additional Benefits

Posted on Oct 27, 2014 by No Comments

I love drinks that contain probiotics. It’s so much more fun to drink them than to swallow a pill, and a lot of times, they’re delicious!

I can’t find the coconut one I used to drink, so I’ve glanced at the offerings over the past few months. I never bought anything until now. The honey vanilla flavor was intriguing enough to make me want to pick up a bottle. The sweetness mixed with the tart flavor of the yogurt is delicious.

If you’ve never had kefir, the texture is like that of a smoothie. It’s definitely not like a regular drink but it’s not quite as thick as yogurt either.

If you’re sensitive to dairy like I am, you may still be able to drink this since it has lactase inside. Lactase is the enzyme that helps break down the lactose. While my stomach tolerates the coconut version better, I still felt okay after drinking this one.

The only negative I can think of is the small number of servings in the bottle. Each serving is a cup, and there are only three in the bottle. I opened it one night, and my family and I drank almost all of it at once (my daughter only had half a serving). If you want to drink it daily and share it with your family, that could get to be a pretty expensive habit!

I like to use this one as a treat instead. It does have some evaporated cane sugar in addition to the honey, so if you’re trying to consume less sugar overall, you probably wouldn’t want it every day anyway.

Photo credit: Greek Gods Yogurt

OMghee Is a Delicious Alternative to Butter

Posted on Oct 24, 2014 by No Comments

I found OMghee because I stumbled across a trick to make coffee creamy, frothy, and delicious without adding extra milk and sugar (lookin’ at you, Starbucks lattes I also love).

The trick is to blend up a little grass-fed butter or ghee with a cup of black coffee. I was using the Kerrygold butter, which is delicious, but when I found out ghee was a lactose-free option, and that OMghee was the best, I had to try it out.

Ghee is clarified butter. It has effectively had all the offenders—milk solids, lactose, and casein–to those who suffer from lactose intolerance removed (at least that’s how it has worked out for me). It has a gorgeous golden color and a rich flavor that’s reminiscent of both high-quality butter and caramel, but not sweet at all.

It’s not just for coffee—you can cook meals with it just like you would butter (I’m not sure about baking with it, however).

Ghee is a good source of CLA, which is a fatty acid shown to improve your immune system and even lose weight (yep, eat fat and lose weight). You can see the list of benefits at the OMghee site.

I’ve heard over and over again that this is the best ghee out there, which is why I went straight for this one. I can’t compare it to others, but I have no desire to try a different brand.

This is creamy, delicious, and has a lot of perks other brands may not have. It’s 100 percent organic and non-GMO. It’s made from milk that comes from grass fed and pastured cows. This is probably true of all quality ghee, but it’s a source of A, D, and K, too.

Photo credit: OMghee

Link Round-up: Treats, a DIY Planter, Relationship Tips, and More

Posted on Oct 23, 2014 by No Comments

Today’s link round-up has lots of treats, a colored planter, and tips for relationships and parenting.

Chocolate Covered Katie showed us how to make an avocado chocolate cake.

Mind Body Green shared seven relationship tips that can do more harm than good.

Pint Sized Baker showed us how to make acorn brownie pops.

link ru diy pvc wall planter

A Beautiful Mess showed us how to make a colored planter from PVC pipe.

Hungry Happenings taught us how to make Halloween Oreo cookie pops.

Life a Little Brighter showed us how to make a two-ingredient chocolate hazelnut braid.

Play Dates on Fridays shared some wisdom picked up over a decade of parenting.

Photo credit: Chocolate Covered Katie and A Beautiful Mess

Giorgio Armani Sí Perfume Makes the Transition from Summer to Fall Delightful

Posted on Oct 22, 2014 by No Comments

I wasn’t even looking for a new perfume, but when I was in Sephora with my mom, I found Giorgio Armani Sí.

We were there because she wanted to buy me a birthday gift, so buying it was an easy decision. I’ve loved it since. I feel like it has the lightness and brightness of summer in the top notes (I detect freesia and something like grapefruit, though I haven’t seen anything listed in the notes about that one).

This is a complex scent that seems to pull from several fragrance families. There are florals, blonde woods, patchouli, vanilla, cassis, and hints of amber and musk.

The top notes (the citrus and freesia, from what I can tell) last longer than most, but I’m always sad to see them go within about an hour. Then there’s a mix of warmer florals as the vanilla starts to creep in. I don’t even notice much patchouli in this, though I suspect it’s supposed to be present in the drydown.

This is a feminine scent without being “girly.” It’s mature without being “old.” I’d say it’s perfect for a woman in her mid-20’s and beyond.

There are a few different scents it reminds me of—Viva La Juicy by Juicy Couture (which felt a little too “young” for me when I wore it, so if you liked that one but felt like it wasn’t quite the best fit, Giorgio Armani Sí could be a good substitute), Viktor & Rolf’s Flowerbomb (but not as cloying), and a little bit of Lancome’s La Vie est Belle.

This is a scent that seems to do a little bit of everything, yet it still does them all well. Sephora had this one listed as a “Woods” scent, and though I wouldn’t go as far as to say it’s a “Gourmand” it definitely leans toward the sweet end of the perfume spectrum.

There’s a rollerball option for $28. If you prefer to spritz it on, the one-ounce bottle is $70, the 1.7 oz bottle for $90, and the 3.4 oz bottle for $115.

Photo credit: Sephora

Link Round-up: Happiness, Introversion, Halloween Treats and Crafts, and More

Posted on Oct 21, 2014 by No Comments

Today’s link round-up has tips for work happiness, introversion, Halloween treats and crafts, and more.

Chocolate Covered Katie shared a recipe for pumpkin pie chocolate truffles.

Mind Body Green shares tips for finding happiness at work even if you don’t like your job.

Hungry Happenings showed us how to make pumpkin spice jack-o-lantern Rice Krispie treats.

link ru felt masks

A Beautiful Mess showed us how to make woodland creature felt masks for dress-up.

Mommy Snippets offered a homemade sore throat remedy.

Life a Little Brighter gathered 10 easy dinner ideas.

Play Dates on Fridays had a guest post that discussed what it’s like being an introverted parent.

Photo credit: Chocolate Covered Katie and A Beautiful Mess

Want to Give Your House a Makeover? Look to the Young House Love Book for Ideas.

Posted on Oct 20, 2014 by 1 Comment

Confession time: I really don’t like my house. Besides the fact that I’m not thrilled with its location or the (lack of) yard, it’s stuck in the 90s, the rooms all flow into one another so changes in one area almost demand more changes in other areas, and the layout is just not my cup of tea.

I can’t change the layout, but I can make some smaller changes that make it feel more like home, which it doesn’t now and hasn’t for the past eight years.

I went to the bookstore looking for a different book, but decided that one wasn’t really what I was looking for. I was about to leave when I saw the Young House Love book by John and Sherry Petersik on a low shelf. I remembered running across a blog with that same name before, so I picked it up and looked through it, and I was instantly impressed.

The fixes are relatively simple in most cases. These are practical, cute ways to update your home without going broke, and they’re cute without coming across as if they’d seem a little silly if you were to try to use them in real life.

The instructions are always clear and they don’t just assume you know how to do parts of the projects. You get a total walk-through of whatever it is you’re looking at doing.

The photos are high-quality, the instructions are clear and concise, and the projects are creative. As I went through the book, I made a list in a notebook of all the changes I want to make in my house, and I can’t wait to dive in.

I was so inspired as I went through the pages, it’s going to take me a while to check everything off of this list!

Photo credit: Amazon

The Banana Nutmeg Bread Pudding Candle Is a Must for Fall

Posted on Oct 17, 2014 by No Comments

I’ll admit it: I have a candle problem. The bar in my kitchen is lined with them, and 88 percent or so are fall scents. I love the spices, the baked good scents, the pumpkin, etc.

Every now and then, there’s a standout scent, though, that gets burned down before the candles from the previous year are even done. This year, it’s the Banana Nutmeg Bread Pudding scent.

The throw on this thing is incredible. (I have the three-wick version, which was on sale at Bath & Body Works during one of their 2/$22 sales they have all the time.) My whole house smells amazing—sweet, a little spicy, like baked goods I’m not really talented enough to actually make—within just a few minutes of burning it.

I don’t really notice a strong banana scent when I burn it. It doesn’t smell fruity—just comforting, with its notes of nutmeg and brown sugar, with maybe a little bit of a creamy banana undertone there. If you got last year’s Pumpkin Carving candle (my ultimate favorite in the fall selection last year), it smells a lot like that one.

This candle is burning evenly, and it’s lasting longer than it probably should! I’ve burned it so much over the past couple of weeks, and though it’s beating out some of my leftover fall scents from last year (since I kept going back to my favorites and didn’t burn them as much), I’m surprised by how much I have left.

Bath & Body Works says you should get 25-45 hours of burn time. That sounds about right.

Photo credit: Bath & Body Works