April 23, 2014

BLACK+DECKER Pivot Vac–Handheld Vacuum Review and Giveaway

This post is sponsored by BLACK+DECKER but the love of the Pivot Vac is my own!

I don’t know about you but I am constantly sweeping or picking up messes after my three kids and husband. From dirt and sand to cereal and crumbs I pull out the broom and dust pan multiple times per day. Then the BLACK+DECER Pivot Vac arrived on my doorstep and I opened it up like a gift on Christmas! My husband and I have discussed things we could purchase to make cleaning up small messes easier but we had never thought of a handheld vacuum! In the six days I have had it my life has seriously been changed! Instead of pulling out the broom and dust pan (which always seems to leave bits of crumbs and dust behind) or heading out to the garage for the vacuum I just pull the BLACK+DECKER pivot vac out from under the sink and have the messes cleaned up in no time.

black-decker-pivot-vac

DSC_6473

There are the everyday messes like cookies under the couch cushions and cereal crushed underneath high chairs that are now quickly cleaned up. With the pivoting nozzle I was also able to use it before our company arrived on Easter to dust shelves and picture frames. I can’t wait to see how easy cleaning sand out of the car during our next beach visit will be!

The BLACK+DECKER Pivot Vac has -

•A high performance motor that provides superior suction capability when compared to other BLACK+DECKER cordless hand vacs.

• 3-stage filtration system with a pleated filter design offers the highest level of filtration to help prevent clogs and improve air exhaust.

• and a wide mouth design to scoop up large debris.

DSC_6477

Something I never do is make videos but pictures just couldn’t show how well the Pivot Vac works or how easy it is to use so I sucked up nervousness and quickly put together a video review for you! (Nevermind the little baby running around or the fact that I totally cut my own head off during the last part of the video). You will get the point!

Now that you have seen the awesomeness that is the BLACK+DECKER Pivot Vac I am giving one away to one of my readers! To enter all you have to do is check out the features of the BLACK+DECKER Pivot Vac and comment on this post with how you would use the Pivot Vac to make your life easier and cleaner! (Giveaway is only open to US residents and one winner will be choosen May 2nd using random.org) ((PS - If you comment as anonymous I will not have any contact info to notify you if you are choosen as the winner so please be sure to sign in or leave your email!!))

April 21, 2014

Tutorial: Fixing Photo Lighting Levels in Photoshop

Hey Photoshop-ers! Today I am sharing a simple tutorial for fixing lighting levels in your photos. This is one thing I do to nearly every single picture that I post to my blog or put up in my shop which is why I know it is a great first tutorial to share! I don’t use fancy expensive items to take pictures – just poster board, patterned papers and simple props. A few years ago I shared how I take pictures HERE using natural light. Once I take my pictures I sift through and find the photos I want to use and fix their lighting levels.

Fixing Photo Levels in Photoshop - Tips for bloggers and PS newbies

Fixing Photo Levels in Photoshop - Tips for bloggers and PS newbies

Fixing Photo Levels in Photoshop - Tips for bloggers and PS newbies

Fixing Photo Levels in Photoshop - Tips for bloggers and PS newbies

Fixing Photo Levels in Photoshop - Tips for bloggers and PS newbies

Fixing Photo Levels in Photoshop - Tips for bloggers and PS newbies

In Photoshop there is usually always more than one way to do things so you may have learned a different method for fixing lighting levels but this is the one I find works best for me. It is a simple all-in-one method that makes a HUGE difference in your photos.

Enjoy,

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April 18, 2014

Triple Chocolate Pudding Ice Pop

With Spring here (at least in Florida) and Summer quickly following my boys have been begging to use the popsicle molds we got at the end of last summer. After another begging session I went to the pantry and pulled out a package of chocolate pudding and we created triple chocolate pudding ice pops using things I had in the pantry. They were a hit!

Triple Chocolate Pudding Ice Pop Recipe

Triple Chocolate Pudding Ice Pops:

Ingredients
  • (1) 1.4 ounce package instant chocolate pudding
  • 1 1/4 cup of milk
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • chocolate sprinkles
Directions
  • In a small bowl whisk together pudding mix and 1 cup of milk for one minute. If needed add additional 1/4 cup of milk.
  • Add sprinkles and chocolate chips to the bottom of the popsicle molds and then fill halfway with pudding. Repeat until molds are filled. Lightly tap the molds onto the counter to get the pudding to settle between the sprinkles and chocolate chips.
  • Place ice pops in the freezer for 6-8 hours or overnight.
 
**This recipe makes enough for four popsicles - we used the Jelly Belly popsicle molds which you can find on Amazon.

Triple Chocolate Pudding Ice Pop Recipe

Triple Chocolate Pudding Ice Pop Recipe

They turned out so good and unlike regular popsicles the are a bit thicker and don’t melt as easily. (Although the boys did have chocolate mustaches and beards when they were finished.)

Triple Chocolate Pudding Ice Pop Recipe

Enjoy,

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April 16, 2014

No Bake Cheesecake with Berries and Chocolate Crust

Cheesecake is one of my favorite desserts! I haven’t found a cheesecake that I didn’t like. I enjoy making cheesecake (although not as much as eating it), but it can be time consuming so this easy, quick and delicious no-bake cheesecake recipe is the one I usually turn to.

This recipe is perfect if you are still looking for the perfect Easter dessert! You can make one cheesecake or 5 mini cheesecakes using half pint jars.

No-Bake Cheesecake with berries and chocolate crust - an easy dessert recipe

No-Bake Cheesecake with berries and chocolate crust - an easy dessert recipe

No-Bake Cheesecake with Berries and Chocolate Crust

Ingredients

Crust-
  • 1 sleeve of chocolate graham crackers - crushed (could also use vanilla wafers or regular graham crackers)
  • 5 tablespoons butter – melted
Filling-
  • 8 ounces cream cheese - softened
  • 4 tablespoons butter - softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 8 ounce tub of cool whip – thawed
Topping-
  • 1 cup of fresh berries
Directions
  • To make crust crush graham crackers in an airtight bag. Add melted butter and use your fingers to mix the two together. Spread into the bottom of a pie plate or to make individual cheesecakes add 2 tablespoons of the crust mixture to the bottom of a half pint mason jar and press down.
  • For the filling use a mixer to beat together cream cheese, vanilla and butter until smooth. Fold in half of the tub of cool whip. Spread over the crust or layer into the jars. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
  • Immediately before serving add a dollop of cool whip and fresh strawberries.
 
No-Bake Cheesecake with berries and chocolate crust - an easy dessert recipe

No-Bake Cheesecake with berries and chocolate crust - an easy dessert recipe

Enjoy,

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April 15, 2014

Easter Seed Starter Cup Place Cards

I host Easter at our house every year. We have my side of the family and my husband’s side of the family join us for brunch or lunch. This year we are doing an Easter lunch and I am in charge of the ham, infamous cheesy potato casserole (I’m sharing the recipe over at Tatertots and Jello tomorrow!), rolls and drinks. Everybody else will bring a side dish and a desert. My favorite part about hosting this year is that I actually had time to come up with a beautiful tablescape and place card baskets.

Just like most of the projects and recipes I share – I created these mini basket place cards on a budget. I used seed starter cups I picked up at the dollar store, a bag of Easter grass from Target that cost $0.50, the moss and paper doilies from Michael’s were 40% off and I used cupcake liners and twine I already had. The total cost was around $7 for 14 of them.

Mini Easter Basket Place Cards - Place Settings

Supplies Needed:
  • Seed starter cups
  • Cupcake liners
  • Easter grass
  • Moss
  • Twine
  • Paper tags/doilies
  • Scissors
  • Pen
  • Hot glue gun and glue sticks
Directions:
  • Start by cutting down the side of a cupcake liner and then cutting out the bottom round part. Each seed cup will require 1.5 cupcake liners. (See image below)
  • Use a hot glue gun to glue the cupcake liner to the inside of the seed starter cup.
  • Using a pen write all of your guest’s names on a paper tag or doiley and secure them the seed starter cups with twine.
  • Fill each cup with Easter grass and tuck in a small piece of moss.
How easy is that!?

Mini Easter Basket Place Cards - Place Settings
Mini Easter Basket Place Cards - Place Settings

Mini Easter Basket Place Cards - Place Settings

Mini Easter Basket Place Cards - Place Settings

I did a different version for the kids to keep things bright and fun on their table. I left the cupcake liner intact and glued it to the bottom of the seed starter cup, filled with paper grass and a plastic Easter egg with a bit of candy inside.

Mini Easter Basket Place Cards - Place Settings

Mini Easter Basket Place Cards - Place Settings

Mini Easter Basket Place Cards - Place Settings

Just so you don’t think I am going all crazy – I wanted to share that I am using paper plates and plastic silverwear on our Easter table. My pregnant butt doesn’t want to be doing dishes for the week following Easter so these name tags will really give the paper plate set table a richness and elegance!

Mini Easter Basket Place Cards - Place Settings

Enjoy,

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