Poofy Cheeks

July 22, 2014

Thin Mint Popcorn

This post is sponsored by Pop Secret but all opinions and ideas are my own.

My husband is a movie guy. His idea of a perfect family night is when all of us are snuggled on the couch watching a movie with a big ole’ bag of Pop Secret. Personally popcorn brings back lots of memories of time I spent with my grandpa. When I was a little girl my grandparents would occasionally watch me overnight and my grandpa would always pop a bag of popcorn and melt extra butter to pour over top while they watched Law and Order or 60 Minutes. We never seemed to finish the whole bowl and the next morning we would sit at their table and eat the old popcorn before breakfast. I will always remember the opaque green Tupperware bowl they used and the taste of slightly stale popcorn that left a film in your mouth.

Thin Mint Popcorn - a sweet and salty snack

Now popcorn is a staple in our house and we always have it in the pantry. If we run out the kids are sure to let me know. For them it is a treat to pair a movie with popcorn or just to munch on as an after school snack. My husband and I like to mix things up every now and then though. My husband makes his famous savory popcorn with a mix of seasonings and parmesan (recipe coming soon!) and I like to make sweet and salty snacks using candies or sweet toppings.

Our family favorite sweet and salty popcorn is Thin Mint Popcorn. We always pop two bags because it is gone almost instantaneously.

Thin Mint Popcorn - a sweet and salty snack

Thin Mint Popcorn Recipe::

Pour popcorn onto wax paper and remove any unpopped kernels. In a small bowl melt mint chips by microwaving for 30 second intervals and stirring in between until the chips are melted and smooth. Use a spoon to drizzle the chocolate over the popcorn and allow to harden (about 5-7 minutes). Place popcorn in a large bowl and enjoy!

Thin Mint Popcorn - a sweet and salty snack

Of course the worst thing that can happen to a bag of popcorn is for it to burn! The whole bag is ruined and your house smells for hours. To make sure you pop your bag of popcorn to perfection Pop Secret has a new app called Pop Secret Perfect Pop to help! (There is an app for everything these days!) Thanks to the app you can say goodbye to burnt popcorn for good. All you have to do is download the free app, put a bag of Pop Secret in the microwave for the suggested time on the package. Turn the volume on your iPhone up and place it within 3 feet of your microwave and start the app at the same time you start the microwave. The app will listen to the popping and alert you when to stop the microwave.

pop-secret-app pop-secret-pop-app

Thin Mint Popcorn - a sweet and salty snack

Enjoy,

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July 21, 2014

Summer Reading with Judy Moody and Borden Dairy

With my oldest son Wyatt heading from Kindergarten to First Grade this year I see the importance of keeping up with sight words and reading over summer break. We spent many nights practicing through the school year and I would be sad to see it go to waste. At the beginning of summer break I made flash cards for their sight words and a calendar to keep track of all of the reading programs at our local library. I have allowed both of my oldest boys to play learning games online as well as encouraging lots of reading at home.

This summer Borden milk is encouraging reading too by featuring Judy Moody from the Judy Moody children’s book series. Judy and her brother Stink are joining Borden’s Elsie the cow on the label of all Borden half gallons of milk. When you purchase a half gallon of milk it will have a code which can be entered online to unlock prizes and stories about Judy and Stink.

With more than 17.5 million books in print the Judy Moody book series, targeted at 6-9 year olds, is about a feisty and independent-minded girl who finds herself on a new adventure in each book of the series. This makes these books perfect for my two boys who are in that age range and enjoy any book with a bit of adventure or mystery.

- DSC_3907

Borden dairy produces best-in-class milk products for foodservice and retailers. There are a total of nine codes to be found on the Borden half gallons which can be redeemed for downloadable prizes. There is also a ‘Way Cool’ sweepstakes you can enter to win prizes! The grand prize winner will receive a complete library of Judy Moody and Stink signed by the author/illustrator! Join in on the ‘Moo-dy Summer Mania’ fun and encourage reading habits without your kids even realizing!

What books are you reading with your kids this summer?

Find out about more fun from Borden by following Elsie the Cow on her Facebook page or Pinterest boards!

I have been compensated for this post. This post is sponsored by Scholastic and Borden but all opinions are 110% my own.

Enjoy,

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July 18, 2014

Banana M&M Ice-Cream Sandwich

My best friend from high school Evey and I are still very good friends. She lives in Illinois so we don’t get to talk or see each other very often but when we DO talk we can instantly pick up right where we left off. When I moved to Florida she helped me drive down and move my stuff and then stayed for a week before flying back home. During that week we hit up the beach, the pool, a few beachside restaurants and a movie. The night we went to the theaters to see the movie we stopped into a store to pick up candy (because everyone knows they charge 10x more for candy at the theaters!) but what we ended up with was Ben & Jerry’s Chunky Monkey ice-cream. If you would have asked me up until that point how I felt about banana ice-cream I would have probably given you a disgusted look but it is SO good! While home with the kids the other day I made banana M&M ice-cream sandwiches and they were so darn delicious! They were the perfect treat for a hot and humid day.

Banana M&M Ice-Cream Sandwiches

Now whenever I see Chunky Monkey ice-cream I think of Evey and we occasionally text each other to let the other know we are eating some!

Banana M&M Ice-Cream Sandwiches

Banana M&M Ice-Cream Sandwich Recipe (serving size: 3 sandwiches)
Ingredients:
  • Vanilla ice-cream (about 1.5 cups)
  • 1/4 cup M&Ms
  • 1/2 of a banana (sliced)
  • 6 graham cracker halves

Directions:
  • Scoop vanilla into a bowl and allow to soften. Once softened stir in banana and M&Ms and return the bowl to the freezer for about 20 minutes to harden back up.
  • Scoop ice-cream onto three graham cracker halves and top with the remaining halves to create some darn good banana M&M ice-cream sandwiches!

**Note:: When you pull the ice-cream mixture out allow to soften just long enough to press graham crackers without them breaking. When I tried the first time I broke a few graham crackers because the ice-cream was too hard.

Banana M&M Ice-Cream Sandwiches

Enjoy,
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July 15, 2014

How to Apply Jamberry Nails + GIVEAWAY

Have you heard of Jamberry Nails? A few months ago my friend Aleisha hosted a Jamberry Nails party and I bought a few different nail wraps from her. I had already been using store brand nail stickers but the thing about Jamberry Nails was that they came in TONS of different prints and colors. If you can imagine it then they probably have it! I started using nail wraps because they lasted so much longer than nail polish. With polish I would apply it in the morning and have chips by the evening. Jamberry Nails are the bomb because I can apply them in the morning, go swimming, do dishes, give the kids baths and they are STILL perfect. I am one of those that has to see things to believe them and even then I am a skeptic so when I say I am passionate about Jamberry Nails I completely mean it!!

I admit that the first few times I used my Jamberry nail wraps I did them wrong and had creases as well as peeling sooner than I thought I should have. After finally learning the right way to apply them with some help from my girl Aleisha I wanted to share the tips and tricks for a perfect Jamberry manicure with you! Oh and guess what!? Aleisha sent me a set of nail wraps to giveaway to one of you lucky ladies so don’t forget to enter the giveaway below!!

Step by Step Instructions for properly applying Jamberry Nail wraps.

See my poor nails? They are FARRRR from perfect! Not to mention it looks like my hands could use a bit of lotion! Disclaimer:: I am not a hand model!
Before you start you will need to gather a few things::
  • Jamberry Nail Wraps
  • Nail File
  • Cuticle Stick
  • Rubbing Alcohol Pad (or rubbing alcohol and cotton balls)
  • Blowdryer or mini-heater
**Jamberry Nails do require some sort of heat in order for the adhesive to work properly. I use my hair blowdryer with perfect results.

Step by Step Instructions for properly applying Jamberry Nail wraps.

Now if you want your Jams to last here are the fail-proof instructions!

1. Start out by taking off any nail polish and washing your hands with soap and water to remove any oils or residue from your finger nails.

Step by Step Instructions for properly applying Jamberry Nail wraps.

2. Shape your nails with a nail file, push back your cuticles and then rub each nail down with alcohol to be sure they are free and clear of any oils. Having clean nails is one very important step so don’t skip it!!

**If you don’t have rubbing alcohol you can use nail polish remover but I still suggest using alcohol for best results.

Step by Step Instructions for properly applying Jamberry Nail wraps.

3. Jamberry Nails come with multiple strips in different widths to fit all of your nails. They are on a clear sheet so that you can hold them up to see which width is right for each nail without having to peel them off. Working one finger at a time hold the wraps up and decide which ones fit the best. Cut the wrap slightly longer than your nail.

**Unless you have super long nails you should be able to get two nails out of each wrap. In theory one sheet of wraps should get you two manicures and then still have a few extra for a pedi.

Step by Step Instructions for properly applying Jamberry Nail wraps.

4. Use your cuticle stick to lift the wrap from the clear backing. Be sure not to touch it with your fingers. Then heat the backside of the wrap  (the silver side) in front of your blowdryer or mini-heater for 3-5 seconds.

Step by Step Instructions for properly applying Jamberry Nail wraps.

5. When warm, press the wrap onto the prepped nail. Apply firm pressure all over the wrap, paying special attention to the edges. Use your cuticle stick to then smooth across the entire nail.

Step by Step Instructions for properly applying Jamberry Nail wraps.

6. Once cool, file off the remaining wrap at a 90 degree angle. Run the file down the edge of your nail.

**Never file up or back and fourth or you will rub the wrap off or loosen the bond at the tip of your nail.

Step by Step Instructions for properly applying Jamberry Nail wraps.

Step by Step Instructions for properly applying Jamberry Nail wraps.

7. Apply heat and pressure one more time after you have filed off the excess. Again – pay special attention to the tips!

Step by Step Instructions for properly applying Jamberry Nail wraps.

Have I sold you on these awesome wraps yet? I love doing my nails and getting numerous comments on them PLUS going chip free! I even put them on my toenails. These are the ones I sported on Fourth of July. If you want to get some of your own you can order them HERE and pick ‘Kelsey Poofy Cheeks’ party at checkout or try your luck in an awesome giveaway below!

Step by Step Instructions for properly applying Jamberry Nail wraps.

So here is the deal – I am hosting a giveaway for a sheet of Jamberry Nails sent from my friend Aleisha (because I love them), the July/Aug issue of HGTV mag (because hey Poofy Cheeks Shop was featured on page 68) AND a cup which I embellished with ‘I’m so Fancy’ (because if you win this giveaway and do your nails with the Jams then flip through your magazine you will BE so fancy!)

giveaway
 
Enjoy,

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July 14, 2014

The Journey Behind the Blog–Part 1

Happy Monday friends! Since I know there are quite a few new faces stopping in to read my little ole’ blog and there are those of you who have followed Poofy Cheeks for a while I wanted to give you a glimpse at the girl and the journey behind the blog. A lot of times I write blog posts and don’t make much mention of my family or what is going on in my personal life so I wanted to start from the very beginning of my journey as a handmade seller and blogger. Since starting this blog in 2010 I have grown and gone through so much! There are many times when this blog has kept me sane or the relationships I have made through blogging have helped me through!

Let me start out by introducing myself – I’m Kelsey – a wife to my husband Mike and a mom to our four kids (Wyatt 6, Mason 5, Delilah 1 1/2, and Emmett one month). For the past year and a half I have worked from home running my blog and shop and in between I keep my household up and running. I could live off of Peach Snapple, A&W Rootbeer and Haribo gummy bears! Target is my favorite place to shop and it is also the closest store to our house so I am there a few times a week (It is a Super Target -- SCORE!). I grew up in Rochelle, Illinois and moved to Florida the month before I turned 18. Almost a year after I moved to Florida I met Mike and a year later he proposed to me…. about a month later we found out I was 4 weeks pregnant. Everything moved so quickly but from the first day Mike and I met we instantly clicked and I couldn’t ask for a more supportive husband or a better best friend!

The story behind Poofy Cheeks

{Left: Emmett // Right: Wyatt, Mike & Mason}

The story behind Poofy Cheeks

{Left: Me & Delilah // Right: Mike & Delilah}

And so the story begins - I have been creative for as long as I can remember. As a young girl I spent lots of time with my grandma who has a passion for sewing. She was always buying my brother, sister and I art and craft supplies or sending craft books home with us (things grandmas did during the days before the internet and pinterest). All through school I loved art class and when I was able to start picking my own classes during Junior High and High School I took as many art classes as possible. I would always come up with craft ideas (one year I made popsicle stick Christmas trees with bead ornaments) and gave them to my family as gifts. When I was in High School I would rearrange my room on a monthly basis, use money I made at my waitressing job to buy décor for my bedroom and even repainted it and started all over a few times. As a High School student preparing for college I wanted to study something where I could use my creativity but I didn’t quite know what that was. My mom told me a lot of times artists didn’t make much money and although I was interested in architectural degrees they also seemed a bit boring. I spent my first semester at Northern Illinois University undecided and after I moved to Florida I found myself at a community college that offered a Web and Graphic Design program.

My love for art and creativity was followed by a passion for technology so the Web and Graphic Design program seemed to be the perfect fit. I loved going to school and homework didn’t seem like work so I knew I was onto something. I made it almost entirely though the program when the school notified us that they were discontinuing all graphic design related programs. They would be offering the classes for one more semester but only one time option would be available. Here I was now a mom of two with a full-time job I couldn’t quit (because I had a family and bills), we couldn’t afford daycare and I couldn’t finish my classes because the one time they offered them was during the daytime when my husband worked.

I had started selling on ETSY as ‘Poofy Cheeks’ in 2009, right around the time I had my second son Mason and it was in 2010 when I found out what a blog was and decided to start my own. I shared pictures of things I created, updates on things I made for my ETSY shop, a lot of personal day-to-day stuff with my boys and it was more like a journal to me. I started exploring other blogs and soon it seemed like blogs were popping up everywhere. I remember reading Tatertots and Jello, I Heart Naptime and Censational Girl and I was so inspired by what those ladies were doing. I was already sharing recipes and crafts just not in the same format and I wasn’t sure what I wanted to make of my blog yet. It took me quite a while to find my spot, my passion and my voice but eventually I found it!

The story behind Poofy Cheeks

Wyatt and Mason in 2010 – a picture I used in a Halloween post.

By 2011 we were a family of four, I had been going back to school taking online classes through DeVry University and working full-time at a resort on the beach. I spent as much of my free time as I could crafting, creating, blogging and trying to grow my online shop. My husband and I were young and still learning the ropes on budgeting, money and spending wisely. Looking back we shouldn’t have been struggling as bad as we were financially but we made poor choices with our money. We took trips and vacations we shouldn’t have which left us with little spending money. The small amount of spending money we had lead me to do a lot of home décor projects and thrift store/garage sale upcycles (like this one) as I tried to make our house a home. I think learning about money management and spending is something most of us go through as we transition into being adults and parents. By doing a lot of DIY décor it taught me how to make something from nothing - which I still continue to do today.

On my blog I look back at some of the projects I did in 2011 and laugh because they weren’t the best, the photos weren’t great (certainly not Pinterest-worthy) but those were the carefree days of blogging. Towards the end of 2011 I found myself learning and using social media. I created a facebook page for Poofy Cheeks, took the twitter plunge and started using Pinterest.

2011 was also the year I shut down my shop on ETSY and started selling on Storenvy. Once again here is where I look back and laugh. Some of the things I sold or the pictures I had just make me chuckle (again – far from being pin worthy). Regardless of what I was selling – I WAS selling and I really started to learn a lot about marketing my online business, advertising and all of the things that worked and didn’t work. I thought giveaways would drive traffic – but they usually just spiked short-term traffic and little to no sales. I thought advertising on bigger blogs would work – but it usually did not. It took a lot of trial and error to find what really worked for my shop and items.

The story behind Poofy Cheeks

With everything happening with school, work, my family and then my blog and shop I started to get burned out towards the end of 2011. I found myself once again so close to having a degree (this time my bachelor’s degree) but not able to pass one of the required classes. After receiving a couple of poor grades (which was very unlike me) and not able to pass the required class I was told I had also reached a limit on financial aid assistance. Once again here I was… now buried in student loan debt, no degree, struggling to pay our bills and completely depressed (which I wrote more about here and here) because I knew at this point in my life I wouldn’t be able to finish school. I felt like I couldn’t do anything, nobody cared or supported me, like I was the ultimate failure and I feel so horrible for what a crappy mom I was during the dark days. I yelled at my boys who were 2 and 3 and didn’t know better for the things I would get onto them about. I put on a fake facade and did my best to smile through everything but that only worked for so long. That November I found myself face to face with a psychologist and then a psychiatrist. I was finally able to talk about things that I had buried all the way back to my childhood and found relief from anger and jealousy that had been plaguing me for quite some time.

on that note this story is to be continued… luckily after having a rough start in 2012 it ended up being an awesome year in so many ways!

Enjoy,

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