A Beautiful Fall Wreath DIY

I’m going to let you in on a little secret… this beautiful wreath only took me about 20 minutes to make, and cost about $10! What!? I know, RIGHT! I have been seeing similar Fall Wreaths popping up all over the place that retail for at least $40 each!

Last week the kiddo and I stopped into the Dollar Tree on a mission- ONE small plastic storage basket. Um, yeah… that mission was quickly derailed when I came across their humongous wall of new floral items for fall. It seems like the Dollar Tree has stepped up the quality when it comes to their faux flowers and floral picks. Needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised! So, of course I quickly grabbed a handful of these lovely fall flowers to make a new fall wreath for the front door!

(Quick side note: I have found very similar floral items at places like Kirkland’s, Joanne’s, Hobby Lobby, and Michaels that easily retail for at least $8 a pick/stem! The quality of the flowers I just purchased at the Dollar Tree is easily comparable, and only cost ONE dollar each!)


Here’s How I Made It!

What I used:

  • 2 Pumpkin picks/stems
  • 1 Mum pick (individual stems cut off)
  • 3 Deep Blue-Purple Hydrangea Picks
  • 1 Green-Yellow Hydrangea Pick (individual stems cut off)
  • Wooden embroidery hoop
  • Burlap Ribbon (appx. 12″-14″ inches)
  • Floral Wire
  • 1 D-Ring

I decided to go with a beautiful moody purple-blue Hydrangea, and accent that with a greenish-yellow Hydrangea. I love the contrast they have together! I also grabbed a couple of the pumpkin picks/stems with the rust colored pumpkins to add a bit of that warm fall vibe, as well as some creamy white mums.

To make the wreath, I took my pumpkin picks and secured them as my “base” on the outer part of the wooden embroidery hoop, anchoring them with floral wire.

Next, using floral wire to hold the stems in place, I added the deep blue-purple Hydrangeas around in a couple of spots. Then I used individual stems of the green-yellow Hydrangeas as well as the mums to fill in.

I didn’t want to fill the whole hoop with flowers because I really love that new modern wreath look where it actually looks a bit unfinished and sparse. So it was really quick and simple!

To finish, I took some burlap ribbon and hot glued one end around a D-ring, then I looped the rest of it around the bare part of the embroidery hoop, folded over the other end and glued it together at the top to hide the raw edges.

That’s it!

What’s so great about this is that you can add as much or as little as you want! Use whatever you have available on hand. I had originally wanted to do this with a wire hoop, but I happened to have an embroidery hoop from a previous project, so I used that instead and I really LOVE how it turned out.


I hope this inspires you to get creative and make something beautiful for fall!

Until next time…

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Delicious Spa Water To Beat The Summer Heat

The temperatures are soaring, the sun is intense, the world smells like sunscreen, and popsicles have become a necessary food group! It’s that time of year again- Summer! That also means it’s time for my now annual Spa Water/hydrate yourself post!

In our neck of the woods, the heat gets pretty intense early on, and stays that way well into fall, so it’s incredibly important to make sure that we are drinking plenty of water to stay hydrated! I always make sure to have a bottle of water close at hand wherever we go! Sometimes plain old ice water (while perfect on its own) just doesn’t satiate that drink craving for me. So to make regular water a little more fun, I like to add in fruits, veggies, and herbs like mint or basil to make a special Spa Water treat!

What’s great about a Spa Water “recipe” is that you can use whatever fruits, herbs, and veggies you like. I use the term “recipe” really loosely because I think of it more like a guideline. Really, put in as much or as little of each per your preference. There are TONS of “recipes” on Pinterest for pretty much any flavor, so go check it out! I recently tried a new “flavor” by adding in some Basil I had picked up at our local Farmers Market to my latest pitcher. It was super yummy!

Other “recipes” I’ve seen typically add Basil and Strawberries together, but I only had Persian Cucumbers and Lemon, so I that’s what I went with. I was pleasantly surprised! Spa Water is so flexible, inexpensive, and easy to make! Here’s how I made it:


Lemon Basil Cucumber Spa Water

For the “recipe” you will need:

  • 1/4-1/2 lemon, thinly sliced
  • Fresh Basil, washed and stems removed
  • 1-2 Persian Cucumbers, thinly sliced
  • Large jar, carafe, pitcher, or vessel to hold your Spa Water
  • 8-10 cups cold filtered water

To make your Spa Water:

First, slice your lemons and cucumbers into thin rounds or quarters. Wash your Basil and remove stems. Next, add your fruits, veggies and herbs into your pitcher and fill up with cold filtered water. Put into refrigerator and allow water to infuse for as long as you’d like- the longer you let it soak, the stronger the flavor will be. When ready, pour into a glass over ice and ENJOY often!

This will last in your refrigerator for about 3 days.


It’s so important to stay hydrated, especially when the weather gets hot! Make sure that you are drinking plenty of WATER and allowing yourself to stay cool during the days of intense heat! If you don’t have the ability to make Spa Water, at the very least drink plenty of plain water and stay hydrated!

Until next time…

Simple and Delicious Quinoa and Kale Salad

I decided it would be fun to start 2018’s posts with an amazing and healthy recipe! Nothing says “New Year” or “refresh” like a good resolution, and I am going to make healthy eating more of a priority than I have been. I don’t know about you guys, but I have been really struggling with my energy level and getting motivated to go out and do pretty much anything the last few months, and I realized a part of that was due to my diet. The cooler weather, shorter days, and cloudy skies may be a culprit as well.

We are relatively healthy eaters in our home and don’t often go out to eat- usually once a week on a Friday night (or for a special occasion), but mostly I cook at home and try to utilize lots of fresh and organic produce in all of our meals. Mostly.

I have to be honest though, I’ve been stuck in a rut. I haven’t been eating as much fresh fruits and veggies as I should be. We’ve been eating more pastas and delicious carbs than I care to admit. So I decided to change that up! I scoured my ever expanding boards on Pinterest, and found a handful of recipes that included kale and quinoa. Frankly, I’m not a big fan of kale, but I know that it’s really good for you, and so I decided to jump in and give it a try.

I am sure glad that I did!

I adapted my Simple and Delicious Quinoa and Kale Salad recipe from a handful of different recipes that I found, and used what I had in available in my fridge, and I am so pleased with the results!

What is so great about this Salad is that it is super versatile and can be adapted to whatever you have available! I do highly suggest keeping the kale and the quinoa as your base since those are the ingredients that are full of all the good stuff like Vitamins A & C, and fiber. But feel free to add whatever other delicious vegetables you’d prefer to have in your salad! Now go make one and enjoy!


Simple and Delicious Quinoa and Kale Salad
Prep time: 5-10 mins. Cook time: 15 mins-

Total Time: Approx. 30 mins (or less)

Serves: 2

This delicious, quick and filling salad is packed with vitamins A & C, fiber, iron, and calcium!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cooked Quinoa (for this recipe I used the Tri-Colored Quinoa from Trader Joe’s)
  • 1 cup fresh kale- rinsed, chopped and stems removed
  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped English cucumber
  • 2 Tbl cooked and sliced beets (I used the Cut Beets in Vinaigrette from Trader Joe’s)
  • 1/4 cup fresh grape or cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • A handful of sliced olives (Kalimata, Castelvetrano, or Green- whatever you prefer)
  • 1 Tbl lemon juice
  • 2 Tbl olive oil
  • A pinch of sea salt
  • Feta Cheese for sprinkling to taste

Directions:

Cook your quinoa per package instructions. I cooked mine in the rice cooker (1 cup quinoa and 2 cups water), but feel free to cook it on the stovetop if you prefer. The quinoa takes about 15 mins to cook and will make more than 1 cup of cooked quinoa. You can refrigerate or freeze what you don’t use in this recipe for another day.

While you’re quinoa is cooking, chop your tomatoes, cucumbers, olives, beets, and kale. Mix all your veggies together in a bowl and drizzle with lemon juice, olive oil and a pinch of sea salt. Once the quinoa is ready, mix all ingredients together in the bowl.

Serve immediately by separating the salad into individual bowls, and sprinkle with as much feta as you prefer!

**This recipe is so versatile- Try adding 1/4 of an avocado to your salad (it’s super delicious with avocado!), or sprinkle with shredded Parmesan cheese instead of Feta! You could even use white wine vinegar instead of lemon juice! There are so many options, make yours perfect for you!**


I hope that you’ll give this recipe a try! Do you have any favorite Quinoa or Kale recipes? I’d love to recipe share!

Until next time…

Finding Fashion-Kids Easter Edition! Spring 2017


Happy Wednesday to you! So, today I find myself stuck on the couch. Yet again. I injured my lower back, again, doing something… Unfortunately I don’t even know what I did to aggravate it this time! I have been struggling with back issues (spasamed muscles) since this last November, and when it hurts like this all I can do is take it easy & relax. On top of that, the kiddo is sick AGAIN. I swear this school year has been awful for illnesses to our family. So far this week we have missed church and school, and we can’t really do anything productive other than sit on the couch with the iPad, lots of juice & Popsicles (check out my super simple DIY Strawberry Lemonade popsicles), my heating pad and lots of cartoons & rest to let our bodies heal.

I thought to myself, today would be a GREAT day to finally write on my blog! This will be my first post this year, and I thought it fitting to start with a Finding Fashion: Kids Easter Edition since we are officially in Spring, and I’m sure we all will be looking for some cute new Easter outfits for the kiddos very soon!

I decided to find 2 different Easter outfits- one for a boy and one for a girl. Both outfits are priced right around $50 each. What a great price for an outfit that can be worn for multiple events through this spring and summer seasons!


Boys Easter Outfit:

I picked this outfit because it is a simple and classic outfit that can be worn for many occasions this spring & summer either dressed up, or casual (without the bow tie), and would look great on boys of all ages!

  • Boys Flat Front Chino Shorts- Target.com $12.99
  • Boys White Button Down Shirt- Target.com $6.98 (clearance)
  • Seersucker Bow Tie- Walmart.com $5.88
  • Boys Woven Navy Belt- Target.com $7.99
  • Boys Benton Boat Shoes- (not shown in Pinspiration photo, but I thought would look great with this outfit) Payless.com $19.00

TOTAL: $52.84 (before taxes)


Girls Easter Outfit:

I picked this adorable lace beachy/boho inspired outfit for the girls because it is super versatile and can be worn for lots of dress up or casual events in the warmer weather. Plus, I’m sure any girl would love to have this in her closet!

  • Girls Lace Babydoll Dress- Forever21.com $17.90
  • Flower Headband- Forever21.com $7.90
  • Girls Sandals- (Again, not originally shown in my Pinspiration photo. I picked these sandals because they exuded the same dressy/casual vibe as our lovely lace dress.) Target.com $17.99

Outfit Total: $43.79 (before taxes)


 I hope this inspired you to find an adorable Easter outfit(s) for your kiddo(s)! Maybe you’ll even find a cute Easter ensemble for yourself while you are at it!

Until Next Time…


**PLEASE NOTE: This blog is in no way affiliated with the above mentioned retailers. These retailers and their websites are used for the sole purpose of my Finding Fashion Challenges- finding high end clothing & looks at ready to wear budget prices.**

Seeking A Grateful Heart: My 30 Day Challenge

Today I feel like I need to be completely transparent, and maybe a little vulnerable. Sometimes I think it is important to humble yourself and lay it all out there- shine a light on those dark moments so God can come in and help filter out anything negative so that you can be a beacon for Him, instead of dwelling in those yucky and murky places of negativity and unhappiness.

I have been struggling with a lot of discontentment lately. I have been completely ungrateful for what I have been blessed with and focusing on all the negative that has been in my (our) life. It’s easy to do that when there is a lot on negativity upfront and in your face (thanks media! ;-P).

For us personally, we have been dealing with a handful of things that are really weighing heavily with us. My son, for example, is struggling with some behavior issues- especially in school. He has (for a while now) had a lot of trouble staying focused on simple tasks, and is easily distracted. What 5 year old isn’t?! He is only in Kindergarten, and this is completely new for him, and I understand that there is a learning curve with every child. But we are 10 weeks into school now and we are STILL really struggling with him. He is really struggling and is often discontent. Without going further into a long explanation (I could vent all day about this), we need something to change with him. We need to find that linchpin that will turn everything around, or at least help us find our footing on this rocky terrain. I know it will eventually change (in time), and I pray everyday that he will find his “groove” because he was made for something amazing! He already IS amazing! I need to be grateful for that…

Yet, I still struggle with an ungrateful heart- ignoring all the good that is in my life. So I want to change that. I AM changing my heart.

We have a beautiful new home, but all I can think about is how I don’t have all the furniture & art that I want to make it look like those beautiful pictures in the home decor magazines. I focus on the fact that we have been here for 4 months and are still fighting spiders/bugs like crazy even though we have had pest control come out twice, AND we have used the bug killer foggers. Yet we are still getting bitten.

I am struggling with my conductive hearing loss and tinnitus, and can’t seem to find a hearing aid that works the way I want/need it to, or a doctor who seems to genuinely care about me, only about whether I can pay the co-pay. So I struggle hearing AND I struggle not hearing with all of the ringing in my ears.

We own two houses, yet I dwell on the fact that our second home is currently empty with no renter in sight, and paying the mortgage on two homes is depleting our savings down to nothing.

I was blessed with the ability to pursue higher education, BUT I think about how I still don’t have my BA (almost 20 years after starting it). I think how different my life could be IF I just had that piece of paper that says I graduated- and really all I need to do is pay for, and take an “Exit Exam”, but that is extra money and time and a weekend trip out of town that we really don’t have available.

I focus on what I DON’T have instead of what God has so graciously given us. We are in NEED of NOTHING. We have closets full of clothes, a fridge and pantry full of food, strong healthy bodies, TWO! houses, two cars, friends and family who love us, educated minds, the ability to travel and see the world, we have our God, our faith and the ability to proclaim our beliefs without fear …the list goes on and on. For all of this and more, I am GRATEFUL. I am truly blessed.

So, I will end with this- There is always, ALWAYS something to be thankful for! It may not be apparent right away, but it is there. Just take a moment to reflect and seek out something positive- no matter how small it may be (HEY! I got to have a cup of coffee this morning!).  Actively find something to be thankful for- every day. We (I) must choose to be grateful, over dwelling in the negative.

Unfortunately, I have no true conclusion for this post other than to say that I have made a conscious decision to seek contentment and happiness. I know that wonderful and UN-explainable peace & contentment only comes from knowing and seeking God, but it must be done on a daily basis, and that is something I have forgotten to do. If we actively seek out the heart of God, we will find that happiness. BUT it has to be something that we choose to do EVERY DAY, continuously. I hope that is encouraging. It is for me!

 

Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”- 1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18

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I think this post was more of a reminder for myself to inwardly reflect every day on the things that I am grateful for, so this month I have decided to choose one thing to be thankful for EVERY DAY. How about you? I am going to post every day on Instagram for the next 30 days to encourage positive thinking, and help to remind myself (and hopefully others) that there is ALWAYS something to be thankful for!

 

Until Next Time…


Follow my Instagram here: https://www.instagram.com/jenybeansanchez/

Bits of Bliss: A Simple DIY Pumpkin Spice Coffee

I know what you are thinking- “OH NO, not another PSL hack- Jeny, haven’t you seen all of the recipes online?!”  Oh YES, I have definitely seen all those “hacks” floating around out there that boast they are just as good or even better than Starbucks most famous coffee drink: the Pumpkin Spice Latte. I’ve even tried a handful of them myself, and unfortunately every time I attempted to make the “recipe”, my DIY PSL always came out tasting unsatisfactory.

I honestly think it’s because all of these recipes called for actual pumpkin purée. Yeah, it makes sense, pumpkin purée for pumpkin spice. But for me, something always tasted a little off. It just wasn’t the same at all! But hey, at almost $5 for a cup of “specialty” coffee, I don’t blame those people for trying a dupe. Seriously! $5 for ONE cup of coffee!? Pocketbook Ouch!

I must admit I have been totally guilty of indulging in one or two (a week) of the delicious PSL treats when the season comes around. I have been an AVID fan since I discovered that warm, sweet, cinnamon-y, concoction years ago. My friends have even told me that my “signature scent” is pumpkin spice. Hey, I’m totally okay with that!

So, you can imagine how excited I got when I saw a YouTube video that utilized Pumpkin Spice Extract (WHAT!? They make that?!) to make a simple syrup you can add to your coffee! Of course I had to try it! The only bummer was the video didn’t really give a recipe. So, I went on a mission to recreate this coffee “dupe” to see if it was any good, especially since it did NOT use pumpkin purée! And you know what? I like it just as much as my prized Starbucks PSL! Plus, there are a couple of bonuses-

  1. It takes less than 10 mins to make, and the simple syrup will last in your refridgerator for at least a week- depending on how often you use it!
  2. It costs significantly less than my faved PSL! You get at least 5 drinks for the price of 1 (that’s $1 a cup!)

So I am excited to share this incredibly simple recipe with you, and I sure hope you enjoy it as much as I do!


DIY Pumpkin Spice Coffee

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Ingredients:

  • 1/2 C sugar (I used raw sugar, but you can use granulated white sugar as well)
  • 1/2 C water
  • 1-2 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice Extract (you can add more or less to your liking)
  • A container to store your Pumpkin Spice simple syrup in (I used a leftover Bonne Maman jam jar, but you can use a mason jar, or any air tight container)
  • A plain cup of your favorite coffee

Directions to make Pumpkin Spice Simple Syrup:

In a small sauce pan mix your water and sugar together. On a stove, over med-high heat bring the water/sugar mixture to a boil and boil until all the sugar has fully dissolved. Once the sugar has dissolved, remove from heat and stir in your Pumpkin Pie Spice Extract. Allow to cool before pouring it into an air tight container for storage.

Directions for your Pumpkin Spice Coffee:

Once your Pumpkin Spice Simple Syrup has been made, it’s ready for some coffee!

Brew your favorite coffee at home, and pour into your favorite coffee cup- then add 1-2 Tablespoons of your Pumpkin Spice Simple Syrup (or however much you want) into your cup. It also tastes great with a splash of milk, and a sprinkle of Pumpkin Pie Spice on top!

No go enjoy your very own Pumpkin Spice Coffee!

You’re Welcome! 😉☕️

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Until Next Time…

Adventure Awaits!- DIY Reclaimed Wood Sign

Dare I say it? Is it really true? I’m just going to go out on a limb and say…

Happy Fall Y’all!

I have seen that cute saying on SO MANY signs for fall decor everywhere recently, and it just seemed fitting now that the weather is FINALLY cooling off. (It’s October. Enough with the 90° days already Mother Nature!) Hey, speaking of signs, I am super excited to share my most recent DIY project with you! I am totally in love with it, and have been wanting to make it since we have moved into the house, but haven’t had the chance until recently. No surprise I was inspired by something that I saw on Pinterest. This is the sign I’ve been coveting for a while now in all its rustic chic glory:

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The “Pinspiration” image

It felt like the perfect piece to add to our still (mostly) blank walls. Especially now for fall! So, when I finally decided to purchase it, I was bummed to find that the size of the sign was only 10″x 7.5″ (that is just too small for me). I wanted a big statement piece for the mantle! So I thought to myself, why don’t I try to make it? YES!

That’s when I came across this tutorial on how to transfer fonts to wood using chalk. I realized making it would be incredibly simple, and I could totally do it! So I finally pulled out my blank/half finished wooden sign that I had put together from the scrap wood pile left over from my sons Pirate Ship sand box, and got to work! (Side Note- Mad props to my hubby who worked so hard on that sandbox, and it came together beautifully with a crows nest, a usable captains wheel, and its very own Pirate flag!)


LETS MAKE IT!

What You’ll Need:

  • a wood board of some sort
  • wood stain (I used Minwax Wood Finish in the color Provincial)
  • protective gloves (*optional- when staining your wood)
  • larger paint brushes (for the stain & sealer)
  • smaller paint brushes (for the letters)
  • acrylic craft paint (I used Apple Barrel brand in White)
  • chalk
  • your favorite font- printed on paper
  • Multi Purpose Sealer

I’d like to preface that I put my salvaged wood scraps together months and months ago. Then my blank wood sign sat unfinished until we moved into our *new* home, and we were happily reunited. I also covered all my surfaces with a protective cover- hence the Halloween & dinosaur table cloths!

How I Did It:

  • So, when I finally decided what I wanted to do with the wood slats, I stained it with wood stain. You can stain your wood whatever color you prefer, the color I used just happened to be a leftover stain we had in the garage from a previous project that we had done. (*Note the gloves on my hands! I didn’t want to stain my hands so I wore gloves- but you don’t have to.)

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  • Next, I found a font that I liked that was similar to the one used in the “Pinspiration” photo. (The font I used is called “Moonflower” and I sized it around 750pt-so 2 letters fit per page). Then I measured the size of my sign (appx. 29.5″ x 16″), and printed out my letters. To be honest, finding the right font size for my sign took a little trial and error. I ended up printing out a handful of different sizes before I found the exact fit for my board size. I also used Adobe Illustrator, which made it easier to resize in my opinion, but you can use Word or Pages as well.

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  • After my wood stain had dried and set, I traced and filled in the back (wrong) side of the letters/paper with a piece of chalk. I then flipped the paper over so the right side was facing up and positioned it on the wood where I wanted the text to be.

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  • Next, I took the non bristled end of my paint brush and traced/rubbed along the letter to transfer the chalk to the board. You can use any thing with a hard tip to do this, like a pen or pencil.

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  • Once I had transferred all of my letters to the wood, I used an acrylic craft paint in white to trace the outline of the letters.

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  • Once the outline was dry, I painted in the letters. I didn’t try to make it perfect and completely filled in, I liked that it looked a little worn and rustic.

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  • When the letters were fully dry, I drew out an arrow (with chalk) in the center with a ruler, and then painted on top of it with the white paint.

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  • Finally, I allowed the paint dry completely and then I used a couple of layers of a Multi Purpose Sealer on top to seal and protect it.

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  • VOILA! A lovely piece of home decor perfect for fall! (And I made it!)

I’m totally loving my gorgeous Adventure Awaits sign. This is most definitely one of my favorite DIY projects to date, not only because it is a great statement piece for fall rustic decor, but I love the message it evokes! It reminds me of the quote Every great journey begins with a single step” (by Lao Tze). I truly feel each day that we are blessed with is the opportunity for an amazing adventure, and that journey begins with a single step.

My sign was definitely fated to become a constant reminder of this amazing journey in life that we are on, AND that our own “Adventure Awaits” us just outside our own front door!

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding. Acknowledge him in all your ways, and he will make your paths straight.”~Proverbs 3:5–6


Until Next Time…

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