Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Winter Whites & a Winter Wreath

I love to decorate with winter whites in January.  I try to pull out all my white wintery things and add in touches of silver and gold.  It just feels festive for this snowy time of year in Indiana.  I made a fun new wreath this year and loved how it turned out.  Today I have a little DIY wreath tutorial for you and some winter white spots in my house.

Winter White OUTSIDE:  DIY Winter Foliage Wreath

The process took a few days to collect all the supplies.

I found almost everything I needed in my backyard (aka FREE!).  My kids had the best time helping me pick up pine cones.  It was fast and we had a bucket full in no time.  I have had this straw wreath for years.  It's been several different wreaths.  I found it at goodwill for $2 and it was covered in fall leaves.  I peeled it all off and have used it for years.  So check out the wreaths next time you're at Goodwill and look for some good wreath bases.

We let the pine cones dry for a couple of days and I also grabbed some fun sticks and branches to add different textures to the wreath.  Everything dried out for a couple of days before I started assembling.

I attempted to hand paint a dozen pine cones and it took FOREVER AND EVER.  So I wised up and stopped that nonsense. I decided then that I'd just make the wreath and spray the whole thing white.  Best decision ever.  It was so much faster and the look was exactly what I was hoping for.

I sorted out my supplies.  Heated up my glue gun and started gluing.  It worked best if I glued from the outside and built up the pine cones.  I did a row at a time.  I'd add the glue to the pine cone, press it on the wreath and hold in it place for a couple of seconds.  Keep adding layers and layers until you get the desired look. 

I added in the branches towards the end and then a few more little pine cones on top.  I let it dry over night and sprayed it the next day.  Be sure to try to pull off any hot glue strings before spray painting your wreath.  Spray several layers of paint on from all angles.  Let it dry overnight.

I have a giant screw in my front door so my wreaths just sit on that.  You could easily add a ribbon loop or a bow or a wire loop on the back of this wreath for your front door.

Supply list:
50+ pine cones
interesting branches
fir tree branches
straw wreath
hot glue
white spray paint

Before the spray paint:


Winter Whites INSIDE:

My January mantel last year:
I think I liked it better than my mantel decor this year, but I wanted to do something different.  Live and learn :)

I think I'll use these metallic paper fans for St. Patrick's Day decorations this year.  Aren't they pretty??

Paper Fans -->
Fecedy Gold Paper Fan Flower Hanging Banner for Party Decorations 8pcs/Pack

I can't wait to pull this tassel garland out for Valentine's Day this year! 
Tassel Garland -->
Ling's moment 18 PCS Tassel Garland Banner Tissue Paper Tassels for Wedding Baby Shower Event & Party Supplies DIY Kits - (Tan+Ivory+Metallic Gold)

How do you decorate for January??

It's time to link up with my favorite Welcome Wednesday Ladies.
Be sure to join us a favorite post or two.

Meet Your Hosts! 

An InLinkz Link-up

 PS Affiliate links included.  Thanks for reading & supporting Polka-Dotty Place!

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Mexican Lasagna, French Dip, Apps and More!

I'm looking forward to Superbowl Sunday - are you??  We don't have any big plans, but I'm excited to make some delicious game day foods for my family.  My kids were SUPER sick last year so I am just hoping we are all healthy and happy for the festivities this year.

I wanted to share a new recipe with you today as well as share some of my football favorites from the archives.  Hope you find a new recipe to try for your Superbowl gatherings.

Mexican Lasagna would be the perfect dish to serve for game day.

It's delicious and you can customize it for whomever you're feeding.  I'll give you my recipe today and you'll see how easy it would be to add in your favorite ingredients.

Soft taco shells
taco meat
extra sharp cheddar cheese
spanish rice
diced jalapenos
sliced black olives
black beans drained
taco sauce
Serve with: lettuce, jalapenos and tortilla chips

Layer a greased pan with all of these ingredients.  Start with a layer of soft taco shells on the bottom and cheese on the very top.  I can usually fit 2 or three layers of taco ingredients into a pan.  There's not right way to do it.  I usually do taco shell, meat, veggies, salsa and cheese.  Then repeat until I run out of ingredients.  It won't slice like a traditional lasagna, but it scoops out perfectly.

Once you're done layering, bake for 30 minutes or so until everything is heated through.  Serve.  It reheats wonderfully and is full of flavor.

Here are a few more ideas from our game day favorite recipe collection:

(Recipe here)
I made this in a crock pot for the Superbowl last year and it was wonderful.

(Recipe here)
Probably my husband's #1 favorite dinner.  He'd eat it every single week.  It's easy and amazing.

(Recipe here)
These are so good.  They're a copycat recipe from Old Chicago Pizza Rolls and they're my favorite.  They're easy to make and feel kind of fancy.

(Recipe here)
These are another Old Chicago copycat recipe.  They're so good and an unexpected app to bring to a party because most people have never had them before.

(Recipe here)
It's my go to chili recipe.  I think I'll definitely have to whip up a batch of this.

What food are you fixing for Superbowl Sunday??

Monday, January 29, 2018

Cinnamon Roll Bread Pudding

I've mentioned before that my husband LOVES cinnamon rolls.  I love him so I try to make them regularly.  However, I also try to make cinnamony desserts that he'd love to change things up a bit.

I made up the a new recipe last week and just had to share it with you:


I'm not usually a huge bread pudding girl, but I was using what I had on hand to come up with a delicious dessert.  My kids LOVE Cinnamon Swirl Bread for breakfast and snacks.  I try to always have a loaf of it in our pantry.  Some weeks they don't finish it before the expiration date so I cut the bread into cubes and freeze it.  I ended up with a gallon size ziploc bag full of cinnamon swirl bread cubes and needed a dessert.  My whole family loved the recipe!!

1 loaf cubed cinnamon swirl bread
1 1/2 sticks of butter
1 c water
1 c brown sugar
2 t vanilla

1/4 t vanilla
1 T milk
2 c confectioners sugar (maybe more depending on how thick you like your icing)

Cube bread.  Heat butter, water, brown sugar and vanilla on the stove.  Bring it to a boil and stir with a wisk to combine.  Remove from heat and pour over the bread.  Stir until the bread is soaked.  Pour the bread mixture into a greased pan and bake at 350 for 40-45 minutes or until the top is browned.

Make the icing while the bread pudding is baking.  Let the bread pudding cool.  Drizzle icing on top.  It's best served warm so eat it pretty quickly!  We also at some the next day and it was still delicious.

Here are a few of our favorite cinnamon recipes:






I'm working on a few other cooking related projects this year:

1. I am excited to try as many new recipes as possible from Amy Hannon's Love, Welcome, Serve cookbook.  I just love following her on social media (she's got THE BEST Southern accent) and am looking forward to trying her Southern recipes.  They all look amazing - do you see all those orange post it notes flagging recipes I want to try??  And her mission of Loving, Welcoming, Serving is so encouraging.  I'd love to take a roadtrip to NW Arkansas to visit her store one day.

Love Welcome Serve link -->
Love Welcome Serve: Recipes that Gather and Give

2. I am hoping to get my recipe box updated and add sheet protectors to the recipes I've handwritten.  I have these on the way to my house right now so that's a step in the right direction.

Recipe Card Sheet Protectors -->
BigKitchen - Clear Vinyl 4 X 6 Inch Recipe Card Covers, Set of 48 - 2 Pack

3. I'd love to clean out, purge and reorganize my cookbook collection.  I have a lot of cookbooks I've collected over the years and I don't use them nearly as often as I would like.  So I'm going to clean them out and make more of an effort to use the ones I love.  I should probably do the same with my recipe boards on Pinterest.

Linking up with my friend Heather for Hello Monday!!

PS Affiliate links included.  Thanks for reading & supporting Polka-Dotty Place!

Friday, January 26, 2018

January JOY

Happy Friday, Friends!  Hope you've had a nice week.  We were busy with school, appointments, unexpected car issues, meetings, dinner meetings, and more so I'm ready for a low key weekend.

We squeezed in lots of fun in the midst of a busy schedule.  Here's our January JOY this week:

Brunching with Friends:
A group of my girl friends got together for a kid free brunch last weekend and it was amazing.  The food was delicious at this new local spot and the adult conversation was really nice.  The menu is always changing, the decor is darling and my food was outstanding.   We're hoping to make this a monthly outing.  Cheers to all the husbands who were home with the kids!

Winter White Wreath:
My DIY winter wreath came together beautifully!  I snapped some pictures while I was making it so I'll try to get a up a tutorial in the next week or so.  I gathered most of the materials from my yard and had all of the other supplies on hand.  It's exciting when a beautiful project is basically free :)

Wild Weather:
The weather has been really unpredictable this month.  We got snow and a few Spring like days.  The fresh air and sunshine was amazing.  It's also wonderful to head outside without having to bundle up in a million layers.  I organized and cleaned out the garage while they played.  It felt so good to get outside!

Icy Science Class:
Our science class had a chilly theme and the kids loved it.  They painted with ice cubes, went ice fishing and did an ice melting experiment.  We're huge fans of our children's museum.  I love that the kids are learning a ton through their programs, we get to go with friends and they come home wanting to recreate the activities that they enjoyed so much.

Cool dude:
This little man loves sunglasses.  We were walking out the door and he grabbed his shades and his puppy.  Then he posed in our picture spot and said cheese.  He definitely knows the way to my heart.  His blue eyes seem extra sensitive to the sun, so I need to get him some read sunnies for summer time.

Lunch Dates:
I've made a point to do start doing fun things with the kids for lunch.  I'll surprise them with lunch at their favorite Mexican spot, plan a lunch date with friends, pack lunches and go to the park, etc.  I'm feeling a little sentimental with Olive starting full day K this Fall so I'm determined to make the most of our days together.  My kids love Mexican & lemonade... can you tell??

Cooking for Others:
I spent a lot of time baking and cooking for others this week.  We gave cookies to Olive's teachers just for a fun treat, made dinner for a friend who'd recently had surgery and baked treats to share with our neighbors.  I love to bake so it's nice to have some fun treats to share with others.

Night Time Wind Down:
These two love to wrestle, watch movies, shoot Nerf guns and play in that hour after dinner and before bedtime.  We've been trying to unplug and just enjoy doing things together during this time.

That's Interesting:
It is so interesting to see what my kids find interesting.  Both of them are very interested in doctors right now.  My FIL is a cardiologist and they will take turns being Dr Grandpa or pretend they are our pediatrician.  It's hilarious.  They check the funniest things, have the funniest remedies (10 sips of ice cold water) and Fletcher insists that this is how the stethoscope must be worn.  I'm excited to see how their interests of things like dogs, firetrucks, doctors, experiments, music and more play out as they get older.

In case you missed it on Polka-Dotty Place:

Monday: Weekending in Bloomington
Tuesday: 10 Ways to Save
Wednesday: January Outfits

Do you have any fun plans this weekend??

Linking up with Beth for her JOY linkup