Blissful and Domestic - Creating a Beautiful Life on Less

Friday, July 31, 2015

Kitchen Hack: Saving Hard Cookies



So here's the scenario....you get up the urge to make some delicious chocolate chip, nut cookies....you throw in the flour, eggs, sugar, and all the other goodies...anticipating the chewy goodness when they're finally are ready to eat. You bake them to a perfect lightly golden brown and allow them to cool on cooling racks....trying to hold off as long as you can before you sample the sugary goodness. 

Now right off you know they are exactly what dreams are made of. Semi-sweet goodness in a little circle of baking delight. Then the next day happens....you know when one of the kids tried to sneak a cookie, but accidentally left the tub open and your perfect little circles of chocolate have now become a bit on the hard side. Anyone have this happen? It is a total bummer when it does....but I am here to share some happy news with you lovelies. All is not lost! You can win back the chocolate goodness you've been dreaming about.....oh and it's pretty simple too! Place two slices of bread into a tub with your cookies. Put the lid on tightly and allow the magic to happen. The cookies will pull the moisture out of the bread and the cookies will become soft, chewy rounds of happiness again :)

This is a no fail trick. I learned this from my mominlaw years ago and use it all the time when my cookies are on the hard side. Have you tried it out? What other kitchen hacks do you have to share? 

XO Danielle 

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Win a Copy of My Book...



Guess what guys?! Tai from His and Her Money​ is giving away a copy of my book this week on her youtube channel. Hop on over and enter to win! While you're there, check Tai and her hubby out. They are so awesome and share some amazing frugal tips and tricks! I so heart them! :)

XO Danielle 

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

5 Tips For Buying Budget Friendly Dog Food with Kibbles n' Bits...

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Kibbles 'n Bits® and Dollar General
All opinions are 100% mine.


We all love our little four legged friends right? They are not just pets, but a part of the family. They are there when we need them, whether it be a wagging tail when we return home from a day of errands or when we just want to lay and veg on the couch..they are there to offer their furry support and let us know they love us. With all of the love our furry friends constantly show us, it is only right to be able to return that love by feeding our littlest members of our family something healthy and budget friendly. Today I have compiled a list of five tips to help you when you are looking for dog food.

1) Look for Quality- We all worry about what we put into our own bodies and our pets should be no different. There is an insane amount of dog foods out there, but as your dog's mama you need to find a food that is the best fit for your furry guy. Kibbles n' Bits is a favorite! It's dry food that is a 100% complete and balanced nutritional meal. It provides a food option that both dog and dog owner can feel good about because it is packed full of antioxidants and 23 essential vitamins and minerals.

2) Keep Your Wallet in Mind- Once you have found the type of food you would like to buy your dog, you need to make sure it fits into your budget. Dog owners know it is not always easy to find a pet food that is great tasting and healthy at an affordable price. It's a dynamic duo, but one that is hard to come by. Thankfully Kibbles n' Bits has delivered a quality product, without making our wallets cry. 

3) Look For Coupons- There are coupons out there for everything and dog food is no different. Dollar General has you covered when it comes to food for your pets. Not only do they offer dog food at a great price, but you can combine it with online DG coupons. Score! Right now you can purchase Kibbles n' Bits at Dollar General and can save up to $3. Dollar General is offering two digital coupons, $1 off when you buy any bag that is 3lbs or larger, $2 off when you buy a bag that is 13lbs or larger on your next Kibbles n' Bits purchase at Dollar General.com


4) Don't Forget The Breed- You want to make sure that you buy a dog food that is appropriate for your animals specific breed. 

5) It's All About Taste- With quality and budget covered, you now only have one more obstacle to get through...taste. You want to make sure you have a dog food that your dog will actually eat. Finding a dog food that comes in a verity of flavors is a great win because then you are more likely to find a dog food that your furry pal will eat. Kibble n' Bits has a wide range of flavors, from American Grill Beef Steak to Bistro Chicken Flavor. Your pal is sure to find something scrumptious!



Make sure to take advantage of the digital coupons Dollar General offers on Kibbles n' Bits. It will help you feed your pouch and save money at the same time. I love that!!

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Happy Shopping!'

XO Danielle

Visit Sponsors Site

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

5 Ways to Make Science Come Alive This Summer For Your Kids...


Alright Mamas, it is the end of July and you still have about 6 more weeks till school starts up again. Whether you are counting down till the kiddos return to school or are savoring the time you have with them..or maybe a little bit of both...I am sure you are racking your brain, trying to think of some fun things to do with those kids to pass the hot summer days we've been having. Well I've got you covered lovelies! Today I am sharing 5 ways to make science come alive this summer with your kiddos because we all know when we get those little minds thinking, amazing things can happen :)



1) Get Out in Nature- Go outside. I know it is hot....trust me I know! I live in the desert where the sun is always present. I swear it feels like it never sets some days.....dramatic yes....a bit, but I am serious too! Getting out in nature is a great way to get little minds thinking...and big minds too! Go for a hike, collect bugs, make a bird feeder and hang it, etc. Think outside the box and be creative. There are tons of ideas for outside fun on the web. Search for ideas with your kids and find something fun you can all enjoy!

2) Enjoy Science in the Kitchen- One of my favorite things to do with my kids is get in the kitchen to cook/bake. When you are cooking or baking, you are doing science and the cool thing is that neither parent nor child is realizing that science is being done. Bake something, make a meal together, or try something new. Let your kids be involved in the planning of food in your home. When I include my kiddos in the creation of meals, something magical happens. Little hands are busy, which means they are less likely to poke each other out of boredom - please tell me I am not the only one with a brother sister combo who strive to annoy each other! They are also more likely to eat what was prepared because they had a hand in making it. They always want to try out their handiwork :)


3) Explore a Museum- exploring museums with my kiddos is an all time favorite of mine. I love sitting back and seeing where their curiosity takes them. Kids are naturally curious and want to create and ask questions. They are naturally question askers and want to figure out the world around them. Taking them to museums, specifically hands on ones, allows them to feed that curiosity and get some energy out as well. Win! Win! Look up what museums are available in your area and plan a trip. Your kids will love it!


4) Make a Family Fun Calendar- I am a planner. It is printed in my DNA...for real people. Because I like to plan, I have rubbed that characteristic trait off onto my kiddos. They like knowing what the plan is for the week. Come up with a game plan for your kiddos. Think of ways you can get out and explore. It you can't get out, try to plan a few experiments you can do at home. Bayer Making Science Make Sense® has a toolbox of fun ideas you can do with your kids. I have already found a few I want to try with my own muchkins. Some science fun is surely happening in my house this summer!



5) Have fun and set a budget- When it comes down to it, you simply need to have fun. be creative and listen to your kids. Listen for the ideas they share and the things that they want to do this summer. Set a budget, so you can find things to do that don't break the bank. No matter what you do though, have fun. Your kids are only this little once. When they grow up, they won't remember how much money you spent on them, but they will remember the time you spent with them.



You can find more kid friendly science fun ideas HERE on Bayer Making Science Make Sense® :) Have fun! #SummerScience

XO Danielle

Monday, July 27, 2015

Sunday Weekly Meal Prep....

Yesterday was Sunday, which meant it was meal prepping time. I don't do this every week, but I really should. When I am good about making time on Sunday to get some weekly meal prep done, our week is so much better. It took me about four hours to get everything done. That was with interruptions of making dinner and spending time with the family. We were having a double feature of Night at the Museum, so I watched that as I did our weekly meal prep. 

The first thing I did was pull everything out of my fridge that could be used...fruits, veggies, hummus, etc. These are all things that make yummy, healthy snacks, but if they are not already cut up we sometimes don't snack on them as much as we should. 

Once I pulled everything out, I got to chopping. I chopped up three mangoes to have in a bowl for breakfasts and snacks. We actually had some mangoes and hard boiled eggs for breakfast today. Super quick and easy, since the chopping part was done ahead of time. It also allows those kids to get their own food too, since the prep work is already done. 

I also chopped any veggies I could use in lunches and dinners this week. Mushrooms, carrots, bell peppers, etc. These are all veggies that can be quickly tossed into casseroles, soups, crock-pot meals, and skillet meals. Having the washing and chopping already done, makes dinner prep time during the week so much easier. I am more likely to use those healthy additions, when I make it more convenient. 

When it comes to humus, I like to put it in small tubs, so that the serving size is already figured out. It also makes for a quick snack when you need to grab something and go. It goes perfectly with the cherry tomatoes and baby carrots I bagged as well. The kids have already started snacking on these :)



I also made about a dozen hard boiled eggs. These are a staple in our weekly prep. We use them as a great protein boost for a snack...add a bit of salt and pepper and you are good to go. We also love to throw them into salads, use them to make egg salad sandwiches, etc. Having hard boiled eggs in your fridge gives you more options throughout the week. If my dinner plans ever go awry, I know I have eggs in there I can make a quick salad or sandwich with. Quick and easy is my motto!

I also pulled three cans of tuna and three cans of chicken out of my pantry that needed to be used up. I made a big batch of tune salad and a big batch of chicken salad. Add a little mayo, Lawry's salt, and chopped celery and you have the makings for a yummy salad. Perfect solo or with whole wheat bread for a sandwich.

We also have string cheese, grapes, and yogurt for snacking this week as well. The string cheese I bought at the beginning of the month at Costco and we are just now getting to the end of it. Oh and I pulled out bread, English muffins, and bagel thins from my freezer. I purchased these also at the beginning of the month at Big Lots. They sell discounted breads (like $1.80 each). I stock up at the start of each month and freeze them. Then I have bread items all month long. These will be eaten up this week as well. I love going shopping in my pantry and freezer chest when it comes to the end of the month.


In our veggies and fruits drawers I have apples, tomatoes, collard greens, and spinach. I love to use collard greens raw on sandwiches, instead of lettuce. Seriously so yummy and it is an easy way to get my kids to eat more greens. The apples we love to have solo or with a bit of peanut-butter to dip in. If it is close to dinner time and the kids are begging for snacks, I have them grab an apple. It is a healthy way to hold off that hunger and save me a bit of sanity, while I cook dinner. 

I also made a big batch of Italian pasta salad. I used one box of tri-color cooked pasta, 1 cup Italian dressing, 1 cup feta cheese, and 3 roma tomatoes chopped. This salad is one of my favorites. It is simple to throw together and makes enough to last us throughout the week. 

Oh on a side note, see that big red water jug in the fridge? I keep that in there all the time filled with water...that way we always have cold water on hand. This helps the family keep their water intake up. 

The last thing I did was make a big batch of cookies for the week. These are whole wheat chocolate chip cookies, with peanuts added in. I used this recipe, but did half and half with my flour...half white and half whole wheat. I also threw in some chopped nuts. These will make a great treat during the week. 


Meal prepping is actually fairly simple. Use what you already have on hand and make things a bit simpler for you. You can also do this when you first come home from grocery shopping. It helps you to cut down on food waste, since you are prepping everything ahead of time and making meal time easier. It also saves you money because again you are using what you have and cutting down on food going uneaten and wasted. Give it a try this week and you will see that your week will have so much less stress! I am all about lessening my stress level :)

XO Danielle 

Oh and I made some flavored water too! Here's my recipe :)

Friday, July 24, 2015

Confidence is Your Greatest Accessory...

This past week I have been thinking a lot about the accessories we put on. Every once in a while I post outfits of the day on my instagram account. I love sharing how you can create so much beauty from the things you already have on hand. Often I pair my outfits with a great pair of earrings or a fabulous statement necklace. Statement necklaces are like my weakness when shopping. I resist as long as I can and then when I see them finally at that got-to-have-it sale price, I snag it up. Like this chunky necklace I got for $1 at Wal-Mart. These started out at $10 and I patiently waited. It was a happy day when one Saturday I noticed that my dream necklace was finally on sale. I did my own little happy dance in Wal-Mart. Don't worry only a few people stared :)

Now as I sat and thought about accessories this week, I started letting my mind drift to those accessories we can put on that aren't bought in the jewelry section. What I thought about was confidence. Isn't confidence really the greatest amount of bling we can put on? When we allow our confidence to show through, we become a whole other person. We become strong and fierce. We gain a strength that is untouchable. Having a confidence from within is something I have seen grow and build as I have been changing the way that I eat and live. I have become reacquainted with a girl I hadn't seen in a really long time. I use to look back at pictures of myself and it wasn't that I wanted to be thinner like she was, I really just wanted her confidence. The other day I looked in the mirror and I saw a glimmer of that girl. I am finally getting my confidence back and that is an amazing thing! I have been reminding myself now, when I get ready for the day, to put on my confidence because no matter the dress....no matter the hair, makeup, shoes, etc....no matter what I have on, if I don't feel confident....it won't be the same. When you're confident in your day to day, something amazing happens. You're more creative....you believe in yourself more because you are constantly cheering yourself on..knowing you got this.

I hope this day we can all put on our confidence. Have that confidence from within. Be awesome and know how amazing you are! Look for those nonscale victories every single day and be confident in them. Who cares if you aren't whatever size or number on the scale you think you should be. Love you and be confident in who you are....because you are pretty gosh darn amazing!

ok now that I am done with my rant for the day, I have two videos I wanted to share with you. One is from GLP Fitness on non-scale Victories and the other is a vlog from me. I posted it earlier this week and it is all about failure. I think it is something we all deal with and something I have felt very inspired to share. I hope you like it!





Thank you for always putting up with my ramblings. You guys are the best!!

XO Danielle 

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Why Decluttering is Great for our Budget...



Clutter happens and it happens fast. It could be a stack of paper that you need to sort through or it could be all of the knick knacks that you find on clearance that would look super cute in your kitchen.
You may think you have it under control,  but how many times have you lost something or misplaced a bill? Have you ever bought duplicates of something because you have no idea where the original was? Do you go out to eat because your kitchen is a mess and you cannot handle the stress? Do you have more clothes than you need just because you find them at a great deal?

The truth about clutter is, it is all consuming. Clutter consumes your time, your money and this means it controls you. We live in a time that it is okay to accumulate stuff, but the reality is, this stuff is costing us a lot more than what it is worth.

Time
We are told by marketing campaigns that more is better but when you look into your closet and spend even just 10 minutes looking for that one flower patterned button down shirt you are in over your head. When you are constantly avoiding company because you know there is a layer of dust on all of those cute knick knacks you are in over your head.

Time is not a renewable resource. It is limited but you can reclaim it by decluttering some of the excess. You'll spend less time cleaning and looking and more time living the good life.

Budgets

Clutter affects our budgets long after the item is bought. It is taking up space that is valuable in our home and even worse, if the clutter starts to get so bad you buy a storage unit. Trying to find ways to organize and hide clutter within the home is also another way that clutter requires money. You have to look at storage boxes and bookshelves but wait, we can make it look just as pretty as we see on Pinterest! Remember that blouse you spent 10 minutes looking for and couldn’t find; having a full closet and not knowing what is there can waste you money. You can easily buy items that are so similar or in my case the exact same top in a new color! No matter how you spin it you are either spending money on upkeep and maintenance or you are spending money to try and make it look pretty which eventually turns into another thing to clean. This cycle can be never ending!

Declutter

Decluttering is not only good for the soul but it is good for your pocketbook! Decluttering may be intimidating but the time spent getting rid of the excess will save you time later. I do not care how much you spent on the item; if it is not fulfilling a purpose or bringing you instant joy then why pay to upkeep it? When you declutter, you do not have to fill the space back up; in fact, once you declutter, you can save yourself more money by not investing in any more stuff until you need it. You need to find your why for decluttering; for me the adventure started because I realized just how much money we were spending to house all of our extra stuff in a storage unit.

For some, it is just a way to cut back spending, make sure you are paying your bills on time or just wanting to simplify your life. You cannot completely organize your home in an effective manner when you have stuff everywhere. Getting rid of some things may be painful, I finally donated 150 porcelain dolls that sat in totes since I was a kid. These were given to me from my Grandmother but honestly they never saw the light of day. I kept the three I loved and took some pictures of others. Then they went to a donation place and I will have the memories of them.

Keeping things out of loyalty is just silly. One piece of advice I always give is to never buy more space. If you cannot fit everything on that one bookshelf then it is time to start clearing out the old. If you are having to buy an item then start thinking of something you can get rid of. Designate time to start clearing out your clutter; and do this more than once. It may amaze you what you save the first round but donate the next!

Do you have any decluttering tips to share in the comments to help others get started?

XO Rebecca





RebeccaLynn Bologna is a freelance writer for hire with a background in accounting. With a change of pace you can find her helping others get organized with their office and budgets. She is a wife and mom of three girls all under the age of four. You can also find her future writings at her Contently page.

Photo Credit: Jef Harris via Compfight cc

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Back to School Haul...

Today I am sharing my back to school haul. I scored some goodies at Staples over the weekend and wanted to share the deals and tips I used to buy back to school supplies on a budget. Enjoy! :)



XO Danielle
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