Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Healthier Ranch Dip

I've long been a fan of substituting yogurt for sour cream to make recipes healthier. My husband, not so much. He swears he can always taste when I "healthify" a recipe. That's why I was so surprised the other day when we were watching an episode of Dr. Oz that suggested substituting Greek Yogurt for sour cream for making ranch dip. Ben actually wanted to give it a try! It was a-mazing!

Greek Yogurt is much thicker and creamier than regular yogurt, and it's much more similar to sour cream as well. We've loved Greek Yogurt for breakfast for quite sometime, and I can't believe I haven't used it in recipes before! And the added benefits? Probiotics, more protein, less fat and less calories!
Tonight, I'm going to try it in a new recipe. I'll let you know how it goes!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Easy Cheesy Shepherds Pie

Actually, the way I used to make it was easy. I've since adapted the recipe to make it a bit tastier and preservative-free. The Easy Version involves using the refrigerated tub mashed potatoes. I did make it this way a few times, but I don't think the potatoes tasted as good as homemade. Also, the refrigerated tub mashed potatoes have preservatives that I'm not totally cool with anymore.

So, if you're going for the Quick and Easy Version, skip the steps involving actually making the mashed potatoes.

Here are the ingredients you will need:

1 lb. ground beef
One-third cup ketchup (or catsup if you're fancy)
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
8 oz. frozen bag mixed veggies
1 oz. cheddar cheese
*1 tub refrigerated mashed potatoes- OR-
3 medium size potatoes
cream (or milk) to taste
butter (to taste)
sea salt (to taste)

We ate this last night, and there were barely enough leftovers for lunch today! Enjoy, and let me know how it turns out!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Cute Moccasins Giveaway!

I fell in love with these moccasins when I first saw them a few months ago on one of my favorite blogs, Freshly Picked. Today, she is giving away a chance to win NINE pairs (a pair for each stage of your little one's life!) They come in all sorts of cute colors. If you want your baby to win a pair of these "so hip it hurts" moccasins, click here!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Anyone Else Ready for Fall? (Or: How to Make an Inexpensive Fall Wreath)

These 100+ temperatures we've been having here in TX this summer are making me long for Fall. I'm ready for Pumpkin Spice Lattes, pretty scarves, cozy sweaters, and long cool walks in the park! Maybe that's why I got a hankering to make this pretty fall-inspired wreath. I think I feel that if I hang something that reminds me of my absolute favorite season on my door, it'll hurry up and get here! I've seen so many of these cute DIY wreaths around lately, and I've been dying to make one!

I had a 40% off coupon to Joann's, so I used it to buy this 12" grapevine wreath. The fabric flowers are made from scraps of fabric that I scored from my last trip to Ikea. I tore the fabric into one inch wide strips and made fabric flowers. (
If you're looking for an easy fabric flower tutorial, click here.) Then, I hot-glued them onto the wreath. Does not get any easier than that. In all, this craft cost me $2.

Let's recap:
Grapevine Wreath- $2
Fabric- $0

Total- $2
That's right people, Two. Dollars.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Cloth Diapering- It Isn't Just for Hippies Anymore!

So, I'm new to the cloth diaper game. I've always been interested in it, but until I recently became a stay at home and lovin' it mom, I just didn't have the time or patience. We've been using cloth diapers for about 3 months now, and I have to say I am really liking it. It's not perfect, but it is definitely working for our family.
Starting out cloth diapering can be a little overwhelming. There are so many different types of cloth diapers, and so many brands! Where does one go to get unbiased info? I wanted to offer a post that takes into account all the pros and cons that I have encountered so far.
Before we begin, I feel that I should mention that we do not strictly use cloth diapers. At night, Gibson sleeps in a disposable. The kid pees. A lot. Maybe a cloth diaper would last him the whole night, but I'm not brave enough to test this yet. Also, when we travel or have a day out and about, I use disposables. You can use cloth diapers while traveling, but I just don't want to impose on anyone by washing my kid's dirty diapers in their washing machine. Lastly, I've only tested two brands thus far. We use Dream Eze and Sunbaby. Both brands work fine. The Dream Eze are my favs, but they are more expensive than the very cheap Sunbaby brand.
So, here we go...

*We are saving money! (Woop Woop!)
*We are helping save the environment. (I couldn't get a solid number, but it may take hundreds of years for a disposable diaper to decompose in a landfill.)
*They make my son's tush look sooo cute! (Well, it's already pretty cute on its own, but cloth diapers come in the cutest colors and patterns.)

*They can be expensive on the front end (unless you register for them and your peeps hook you up!) Most cloth diapers are going to run you around $15- $20 each. However, you can find some deals on Craigslist, Ebay, and
*They are time consuming. (I do an extra 3 loads of laundry per week, on average.)
*Washing poop off the diaper in the toilet can be pretty gross.

*We invested in Nappy Liners. They look like dryer sheets, but they are little liners for the diaper. Your kid poops. You peel the liner and poop off of the diaper and flush. Pretty simple.
*We also invested in a diaper sprayer that hooks up to your toilet. It was a little tricky to use at first, and we did spray poopy water all over the bathroom floor initially. But we got used to it, and can now spray poop off a diaper with the best of them.

Okay, so my review ended up being a little biased. Obviously, I'm enjoying cloth diapering. But hopefully I'm not one of those annoying, pushy cloth diaper moms who makes you feel like it is the only way to go. Because it's not. It just works for us.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Well, speak of the devil!

No sooner did I post about the new bird nest necklaces I made this weekend, then did I jump over to Sarah Ortega's blog and saw her awesome giveaway! She has a lovely necklace to give away to one lucky reader. If you would like a chance to win your own bird nest necklace, check out the giveaway Sarah Ortega has on her blog here! Hurry, the contest ends tomorrow!

Bird Nest Necklace

I found a great tutorial on how to make a bird nest necklace. I made a few this weekend, and it was such a fun, easy, and inexpensive project! All you need is a few pearls or glass beads, some jewelry wire, and a pair of needle nose pliers. It also helps if you have a wire cutter. These would be so cute as mothers day presents! Click here for the tutorial!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Pin Cushion Mason Jar

I have a new home for my pins, needles, buttons, beads, wire, or other crafty things I decide to stash! This is no doubt the easiest craft I have ever made and maybe one of the cutest! I'm thinking friends and family will definitely be getting one of these from me for Christmas this year! Click here for a pretty easy to follow tute.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Who Likes to save moneeeeyyyy?! (Said in my best Oprah voice)

I came across this awesome site today called It gives you points for recycling and other "green" activities. You can cash in your points for coupons on food, clothing, paper products, or gift cards. Some of the great companies offering deals include Kashi, Aveeno, McDonalds, Olive Garden, Ruby Tuesdays, Dick's Sporting Goods, and Macy's. If you would like to participate in this offer, click HERE!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Forgot One!

Here is a pic that I forgot to include on the last post. It is one of my favorite handmade items in the room. My SIL painted this for a shower she threw for my husband and me. It comes from a poem that John Piper wrote for his granddaughter. We took out her name and substituted our sons name, Gibson.

Nursery Tour

Here are some pics of the nursery I decorated for my son. The walls are painted a dark gray and I used yellow and white accents. The dresser is my absolute favorite find. I payed a wopping $50 for it at a garage sale. I don't think its original owners knew what they were giving up! The fabric embroidery hoops are made from fabric I bought at Ikea and a local fabric shop. I've seen these all over the web and thought they looked easy enough to make. Turns out they are! I promise to post a tutorial on these soon! We found the yellow mirror in our house when we moved in. It was originally gold, my husband painted it red and it lived in our dining room. When I decided on the colors for the nursery, he graciously agreed to paint it for me again!

The bunting on the wall is made from fabrics I found at Ikea and a local fabric shop.
The crib sheets are a yellow and gray damask print that I found at a local fabric shop. Crib sheets are surprisingly easy to make! I found the tutorial here at Made.

My Owlet (My Outlet for all things creative)

Hi! Welcome to my blog. My name is Ashley and up until a few months ago, I was a Kindergarten teacher. I recently resigned teaching in order to stay at home with my crazy, funny, sweet little boy. This blog is where I will share crafty ideas, tasty meals, informative reviews, and anything that inspires me.