It's here! It's here!After literally MONTHS of creating, the "50+ Top Blogs All Time Favorite Recipes" cookbook is HERE!!! You may have seen a sneak peek of this gorgeous recipe book this past month. We hope you have been anxiously awaiting it. :) Now, until the end of August, it's available for purchase. But wait, scratch that, it's not a purchase. The best part's a donation!100% of your donation will go to the American Red Cross to help the many people who have been affected by recent natural disasters around the world.After seeing the devastation in Japan, several top blogs teamed together wanting to somehow make a difference. More than 50 blogs donated one of their favorite … more

{teacher gift ideas} “mint” to be, an apple for the teacher

Teacher Gift |

 I love sending a little something for the teacher on the first day of school, and I'm excited to share with you some of my favorite ideas. {an apple for the teacher} Yummy caramel apples are always a huge hit! My kids love to decorate the apple for their teacher, and while they're not perfect, they're totally charming.   It doesn't have to be covered in caramel to be cute though--place a stick in an apple, and add your tag.  SO cute! What about a whole bag of apples? .....  {"mint" to be} Andes Mints are my son's favorite candy, and they were the inspiration behind this yummy idea.I put them in a Crystal Light container--which I LOVE.  The wrapping isn't … more

{giveaway} mixed bag designs

***GIVEAWAY CLOSED*** Who doesn't love a great bag? (me, me!)Mixed Bag Designs is the place to go to find a bag for any occasion, in tons of different sizes, colors, and patterns.  Each bag can hold up to 50 pounds (some of then over that), and is made from recyclable materials.                                                                  They have department store bags, … more

{weekend recipe edition} the most delicious thing you’ll ever eat

Okay, so my husband and son were off to Scout Camp this week.  Yes, I was alone for eight days with the four littles.  We had some really great times, but by yesterday, I was REALLY ready for something yummy.  With chocolate.I have a slight obsession for Food Network, and one of my favorites is Giada De Laurentis.  I was watching her show this week, and she made the most delicious looking and tempting chocolate & caramel bars that I think I've ever seen. I knew I had to make them. Right away.Let me just warn tell you, these are perfection.  The crust is exactly right, and complements the buttery, chewy caramel and rich chocolate so each bite just melts in your … more

{easy labels and tags}

1tag numbers on baskets

The cute Miss Tam from Sew Dang Cute asked me to do a guest post while she was enjoying her sweet new baby boy, and I was delighted to do so. I posted about one of my favorite ways to make tags and labels, and I thought I would share it here with you today! ..... I love tags.  And labels.  I adore how organized they make me feel, and how they look.  I'm excited to share with you one of my favorite ways to make labels for baskets, although this method could be used for luggage, bags, and a million other things. It's easy, cheap, and you can do it with just your printer, stamps, or whatever you like. Seriously, you will not get any easier than this!!! I really needed labels for … more

{photography with lei} how to shoot in manual mode

Hi friends! It's been a while! Hope you all have enjoyed your summer... we just got home from vacation, which we enjoyed immensely. But it is definitely time to get back into a routine!When we last interacted we discussed aperture, shutter speed and ISO, the 3 components required to achieve a proper exposure. We learned how to shoot in aperture mode, and shutter mode. I don't know how many of you tried it, but I was mistaken in saying that your camera will set the ISO for you automatically. You should have control over both the function you choose (aperture or shutter speed, AND your ISO). Sorry for that misunderstanding!Today we'll talk about how to shoot in manual mode. As you know, manual … more

{one fish, two fish}

We had a very informal birthday celebration for my boys this past weekend, and it was SO fun.  A backyard campfire, roasted hot dogs, lots of yummy food, playing in the yard--it was perfect.I really wanted to make just a couple of things to make the evening fun, and although I didn't have a lot of time to do much, it turned out just right. All of these are really simple, but I've found that it's the simple touches that make the biggest difference.  I chose the theme "1 Fish, 2 Fish", well, because there are two of them, and because they were turning two. :) The color combo was easy--red & blue of course, plus yellow, and a little green and orange. ShirtsThey have to have cute … more

{friday favorites}

Thank goodness it's Friday--I'm SO ready for the weekend. We are celebrating my babies' birthday, and I can't believe they are turning 2. *sniff sniff*Friday also means that I have some current favorites to share!  This week is all about food and cleaners.  (What does that say about me?)1.  Tony's Creole SeasoningI am in love with Tony.  It is so versatile, and can be added to just about anything from soups to meat to french fries.  It has a little bite to it, so you'll need to tread carefully in the beginning, but you will love it!2.  Breakstone's Zesty Blends Sour Cream I saw this at my grocery store last week, and since we are both garlic and sour cream … more

{ice cream sandwiches}

Ice cream sandwiches are a classic, and an absolute favorite of mine.  I love to make my own--they are super easy, and oh so yummy!(Sorry about the melty ice cream-it was frozen solid before I started taking pictures, but it was HOT outside!)It all starts with Black & White Chippers, a DELICIOUS chocolate cookie with white chocolate chips that I got from my bff Erica. This cookie is thick and rich, with a delightfully gooey center.  They are the perfect complement to the vanilla ice cream, creating a yummy summer treat.Ice Cream Sandwiches   Cookies:  1 3/4 cups flour 1 1/4 cups cocoa powder1 cup white sugar3/4 cup brown sugar2 tsp. baking soda1 cup butter2 … more

{guest blogger} DIY summer camp

Do I have a treat for you today!! I am so excited to introduce you to my friend Courtney.  She is simply amazing, and you're going to find out one of the reasons why as you read this post.   When I heard about the summer camp she did for her kids, I knew I wanted her to share her ideas with not only me, but all of you. ..... Thanks Kierste for inviting me to your blog! My name is Courtney and I am a stay at home mom to five kids (including a set of triplet girls) as well as a non-practicing CPA.As we were planning out our summer I wanted to provide some fun experiences for my kids but was overwhelmed at the costs. Because our older son was attending some sports camps, I … more