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brown paper packages: July 2011

Friday, July 29, 2011

{friday favorites}

Thank goodness it's Friday--I'm SO ready for the weekend. We are celebrating my babies' birthday, and I can't believe they are turning 2. *sniff sniff*

Friday also means that I have some current favorites to share!  This week is all about food and cleaners.  (What does that say about me?)
Read more »

Thursday, July 28, 2011

{ice cream sandwiches}

Ice cream sandwiches are a classic, and an absolute favorite of mine.  I love to make my own--they are super easy, and oh so yummy!

(Sorry about the melty ice cream-it was frozen solid before I started taking pictures, but it was HOT outside!)

It all starts with Black & White Chippers, a DELICIOUS chocolate cookie with white chocolate chips that I got from my bff Erica. This cookie is thick and rich, with a delightfully gooey center.  They are the perfect complement to the vanilla ice cream, creating a yummy summer treat.

Ice Cream Sandwiches
1 3/4 cups flour
1 1/4 cups cocoa powder
1 cup white sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 tsp. baking soda
1 cup butter
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. salt
2 cups white chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar and white sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well with each addition. Add the salt and vanilla.

3. In another bowl, combine the flour, cocoa and baking soda and gradually add to the creamed mixture. Fold in chocolate chips. Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto the prepared cookie sheet.

4. Bake for 8 minutes until fluffy but still soft. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

 To make sandwiches:

Soften a carton of vanilla ice cream on your counter until it's easily scoopable but not melted.  Scoop it into a 9x13 baking pan, and smooth it out flat.  Cover with plastic wrap, and place back in the freezer until solid.  
Lay out cookies two by two.  To scoop out the ice cream, I use a biscuit cutter to cut out round pieces of ice cream the size of the cookie.  Heat your cutter in warm water first, or it will stick to the ice cream.  Layer the ice cream between the two cookies.  

Wrap sandwiches individually in plastic wrap, and freeze until ready to serve.  



Tuesday, July 26, 2011

{guest blogger} DIY summer camp

Do I have a treat for you today!! I am so excited to introduce you to my friend Courtney.  She is simply amazing, and you're going to find out one of the reasons why as you read this post.   When I heard about the summer camp she did for her kids, I knew I wanted her to share her ideas with not only me, but all of you.

Thanks Kierste for inviting me to your blog! My name is Courtney and I am a stay at home mom to five kids (including a set of triplet girls) as well as a non-practicing CPA.
As we were planning out our summer I wanted to provide some fun experiences for my kids but was overwhelmed at the costs. Because our older son was attending some sports camps, I wanted our girls to be able to attend camp too but didn't want to spend $400-$500. Plus, my girls are only 7 and wanted more of a craft/play experience than anything. My husband suggested I have a camp for them, and this was the beginning of Camp Courtney is Crazy.

The first thing I did in designing the camp was to pick a theme. I considered picking different countries or holidays but in the end chose children's books.

The following is a summary of the activities and treats for each day.
Read more »

Monday, July 25, 2011

{big silhouette news and sale}

The Silhouette Team just returned from the CHA show in Chicago where they officially launched the Silhouette CAMEO! It is their brand new 12 inch cutting tool. (More details coming on that.) 

With the CAMEO on its way they have discontinued the Silhouette SD.  The good news? You can get the SD for $175 (while supplies last). Supplies are EXTREMELY limited, and once they're gone, they're gone.  

You can also get  20% off ALL Silhouette products, including the new Silhouette Starter kits (excluding the download cards and machines). 

Act now, and act fast!  This is a great deal on not only the Silhouette, but all the product as well.

Just use the promo code bpp now through July 31st to take advantage of this great offer!

*IMPORTANT NOTE:  Silhouette will still carry and support all Silhouette SD products, so for those of you who have a Silhouette SD (myself included) you will still be able to purchase supplies.


Friday, July 22, 2011

{berries for jam}

When Miss Allison from Oopsey Daisy asked me to participate in her Summer Camp series revolving around children's books, I was so excited to be a part of such a fabulous idea!  Reading is a big part of life at our house, and being able to create a project and post from one of our favorite children's books was really, really fun for me.

Here is the post and project I shared with her readers...

One of our family's most-loved books is Jamberry, by Bruce Degen. 

It's nearly impossible to read this only once through per sitting.  The words are utterly charming and delightfully irresistible.  I simply cannot tell you how many times we've read this book!  Every one of my kids loves it, and I have to admit, it's a personal favorite of mine too. I knew it would be the perfect book for this post.

What is this book all about?  Berries, berries for jam! So, what did we make?  Jam, of course!

Freezer jam is super easy to make, and oh so yummy.  In less than an hour you can have your very own homemade jam! It's also a really fun way to get your kids involved in the kitchen and enjoy an afternoon together. When you're done, share some with the people you love.  It makes a great thank you, thinking of you, or a sweet just because.

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Thursday, July 21, 2011

{cracker jar and mason jar lanterns}

I'm kind of obsessed with mason jars.  I use them all the time, for a lot of different things, and I simply cannot get enough!  I absolutely love lanterns made out of mason jars, and I finally made some of my own. Can I tell you how fast and easy they are to make?  You must put this on your to-do list!  

Hang a bunch of them in a tree for fabulous outdoor lighting, put several in different sizes as an outside table centerpiece, or even use them inside on your kitchen table/other table, on the mantel, or even on your kitchen counter. They would also make a darling gift..with a cute little tag (you light up my life or something equally as cheesy :) ) tied around the handle.


I also wanted a lantern larger than even then quart size mason jar, so I used a large cracker jar.  {LOVE} It's perfect by itself, or grouped with the smaller mason jars.  I used a larger candle instead of tea lights, and it's perfect.  (I'm not loving the candle that's in there--it's just the only one I had that size, lol.)
Here's how I did it...

Read more »

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


I've resisted Pinterest.  Until now.  

At first it was just one more thing to keep me on the computer, but from a purely organizational standpoint, it is fabulous, and I finally gave in. See a project you really want to do?  Love a kitchen that you see? Find gift ideas you want to remember?  Instead of bookmarking a link, you "pin" the picture (and link) to one of any boards, or categories you've set up.  I {LOVE} it. It even rivals pages torn from magazines and placed in a binder--which I still do and love--but it's just one more way to have everything in front of your eyes, nice and neat.-

  Many times I've bookmarked different things, and than I've totally forgotten they are there. Not with Pinterest--it's all laid out right in front of you, and is so easily accessible.  You can do your own thing and set up your own Pinterest account, or you can also follow others' accounts--see what they've pinned, and then repin them to one of your own boards. 

I've only been pinning for a few days, but it's already easier to find things I love...




Want to get started? You'll need an invitation.  Request one HERE.

Follow me HERE.

Happy pinning!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

{sNeak pEEk}

After the tremendous devastation in Japan, I really felt like I wanted to help in some way, but I wasn't quite sure how to do it.  So when the opportunity arose, I jumped at the chance.

And guess what, so can YOU!

The ladies over at How Does She? had a wonderful idea, then teamed up with the American Red Cross to make it a reality. The talented Heather from Chickabug did all the design work, and all of them volunteered 100% of their time.

What is it you ask?

50+ Bloggers’ All time FAVORITE recipes combined into a BEAUTIFUL recipe e-book! I am feeling so lucky and honored to be a part of the book, and I shared one of my most favorite recipes ever!!!

100% of the proceeds from the sale of this recipe book will go to the American Red Cross so they can do what they do best. Devastation has occurred all over the world and in our own nation, and they will be able to take all the money earned from this book and HELP where it is needed most.

Okay, so here are the details so far.

The book will be on sale for only 1 week in August. It is an e-book, which you can either utilize on your computer, print a hard copy, or both!  I've seen the book, and you do not want to miss out!  It's full of delightful and mouth-watering recipes from your favorite bloggers--yum!  The price for the book has not yet been determined, but it will most likely be between $10 and $15. I'll share more information as I receive it.

Here's a sneak peek...

When is goes on sale, we HOPE you will buy one and tell all your friends about it also.

Together we can make a difference.

*The American Red Cross name is used with its permission, which in no way constitutes an endorsement, express or implied, of any product, service, company, individual or political position.  For more information about the American Red Cross, please call 1-800-HELP NOW or email


Thursday, July 14, 2011

{a place for everything} portable toy baskets

We have a perfectly good basement playroom. The only problem?  I'm not always down there.

If you have little ones, you can probably relate to the fact that they want to be where you are, and that usually means they bring all their stuff with them.  Toys get dragged from the basement to the main floor up to a bedroom, then back down again, with the end result being toys scattered everywhere (and no one wanting to pick them up).

My darling friend Emily gave me the greatest idea--she bought a cleaning caddy for her little boy, and he could carry around his toys in it as he went from room to room.  With a handle that's easy to hold, it's a brilliant idea to keep toys together, and then easier to pick up and put away.
I knew I wanted to give it a try, so I went on the hunt.  I did find them at just about each store that I went to (not Walmart, which surprised me), at all around the same pretty reasonable price ($5-$8). Since I needed four of them, the cost added up fast, and I didn't want to spend that much.

My favorite store came to the rescue. I found the perfect rectangle baskets with handles for only $1 in the one spot at Target! Can't beat that! And since I simply can't resist, I added their names in vinyl on the sides of the baskets.  {LOVE} them!


So whether you use a cleaning caddy or another basket, hopefully it will help keep the toys in your house under control too!


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

{love at home} subway art


I've had problems with the site I was using to download these from.  If you would like one, please e-mail me at, and I'll happily send you the file you want.  Thank you!


I was playing around in Photoshop last night (at 1am--couldn't sleep), and decided to try my hand at subway art.  Can you believe I've never done anything with it before? I'm not sure why, but I thought it might be fun to see what I could come up with.  I think I might be hooked.  :)


These files were created as 16x20 images, but you can easily print them in 11x14 or 8x10.


P.S.  If you really want a different color than I have here, let me know, and I'll see what I can do.  :)


Monday, July 11, 2011

{free slurpee day!}

Is it as hot at your house as it is at mine? 

Well, it's your lucky day, thanks to 7-11!  Today marks the day of their 84th birthday, and they are celebrating by giving away free 7.11 ounce Slurpees.

I know where we're going tonight!  Perfect for a Family Night treat!


Friday, July 8, 2011

{favorite fonts}

 I have hundreds of fonts of my computer, and I use many of them, but there are a few that are my clear favorites--ones that I use over and over again.  


This is my go-to font, and my overall favorite.  It's clean, simple, with just enough rounded lines to make it interesting.  I especially like it for any kind of labeling.  It came loaded on my computer when I bought it (Windows 7), so check to see if you already have it.  If you don't, it's a purchase-only font; you can't download it for free.
Similar to century gothic, but not quite as plain. It's a little bit thicker, so it works well for larger projects (vinyl in particular). Download it HERE.


Oh, how I love this font! I use it a lot when doing things for my kids.
Download it  HERE.

This one speaks "little girl" to me, so I use it quite often on projects for my girls.  
Download it HERE.


This one is just fun! I incorporate it into a lot of paper projects.
Download it HERE.


You can't go wrong with this one! From vinyl, to paper, to heat transfer, it makes everything cuter!
Download it HERE.


I {love} this font, and it's my favorite fancy font. If you're doing a quote in a plain font, and want to highlight a few key words in a different font, this is a great one to use.  
Download it HERE.


Hope you love these as much as I do!  I'll share a few more favorites soon---enjoy!


On another note...the Shabby Apple sale is in full force!
This 20% Off Sale Includes SALE ITEMS and their PRACTICALLY PERFECT SECTION!  So all you deal finding girls out there, this is a great in!  That makes some of their dresses as low as $40! Seriously...what a STEAL! 

I absolutely love their new set sail collection...darling.


Don't miss it! Just enter the code summer20!