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brown paper packages: August 2012

Thursday, August 30, 2012

{pin-tastic!} easy granola squares

School is now in session!  I really want to thank you all for your kind comments, understanding, and support for my little "sabbatical" the last couple of weeks.  I know I have the best readers anywhere around, and I really consider you my friends.  Thank you, thank you!

I don't know about your kids, but mine always think they should have a "treat" in their lunch.  I'm all about a little something sweet, but I don't really want to pack cookies for them each day.  When I came across a recipe on pinterest for No-Bake Chocolate Chip Granola Bars that were supposed to be easy and healthy, I decided to give them a try.  If you are a fellow pinner, you've probably tried things that you've loved, and others that have totally failed.  Well, I'm giving this one my "pin-tastic" stamp of approval, because we all loved them, and they were perfect for tucking into lunches and for snacking on at home.  They're also great for an on-the-go breakfast!

They are SUPER easy and fast to make--we're talking five minutes, people!  This recipe only makes about 10 bars, so I would definitely double or tripe the recipe, at least.  The original recipe called for cutting them into bars, but I cut them into squares. I also used big chocolate chips, instead of mini ones.  This can serve as a base recipe, and you can add anything you want!  Raisins, coconut, peanut butter/white/butterscotch chips, nuts...the sky is the limit.

{Easy Granola Squares}

1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup honey
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 cups quick cooking oats {not old-fashioned!}
1 cup crispy rice cereal
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup chocolate chips
In a large bowl, stir oats and rice cereal together. Set aside. In a small pot, melt butter, honey and brown sugar together over medium high heat until it comes to a bubble. Reduce the heat and cook 2 minutes. Pour in vanilla and stir. Pour over dry ingredients and mix well to moisten all ingredients. The original recipe calls for pouring into lightly greased small jelly roll pan and pressing out to be about 3/4 inch in thickness. If your pan isn't small enough, push them to one side and pack down--so you can cut them into bars. Instead of a jelly roll pan, I used a 9x13 pan, which was perfect for cutting into squares.  Either way will work!  Sprinkle with mini chocolate chips and press down lightly. Cool on a countertop to room temperature for two hours or until the chocolate chips are set before cutting into bars. Wrap in parchment or plastic wrap and store at room temperature. 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

{cameo giveaway & vinyl promo!!!!}


I LOVE that my first post back is a giveaway, and a FABULOUS one at that!

One very lucky Brown Paper Packages reader is going to win a Silhouette Cameo!  But that's not all.. you'll be winning the whole promotional bundle, which includes 2 rolls of vinyl (black and white), and a roll of transfer paper!!!  Woot!
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Monday, August 13, 2012

{on a personal note}

You may have noticed that I haven't been around as much this summer, and posting fresh ideas less frequently than normal.  I've never explained the frequency of my posts before, because with a lot of young children at home, I've always posted when I was able to, and that's just how it needed to be.  However, after being asked about it (very nicely, I might add), I felt that I wanted to put some minds at ease. :) I consider all of you my friends, and I love and appreciate all the support I've received from you, and I felt like an explanation in this circumstance was warranted.

This summer has been an incredibly busy and emotional summer for our family, as we moved cross country to a new home, in a new state.  Many of you have probably done the same thing, and know how stressful and crazy it can be.  Once we arrived, I realized that due to the different school schedules of the two states, my kids got out late in the summer, and would be starting much earlier than they would have.  My family has always come first, and always will, but suddenly it hit me even more strongly that I needed to enjoy my time with them as much as possible, because I wouldn't have them for very long. So, instead of spending afternoons crafting or building, I'm playing games, going swimming, baking treats, going for bike rides, and watching movies--and loving every minute of it.

You may even see less posts over the next two weeks, but...

When school starts on August 27th, I will be back in full force!  I am in the process of switching over from Blogger to WordPress, so there may be a few kinks over the next week or two while that is being done.  It's an exciting change, and I'm looking forward to it.  September will also bring back the popular Back 2 Basics series, featuring favorite bloggers' back to school projects. I've also got a long list of projects to share, and I can't wait for my favorite time of year...the fall, and then the holiday season.

Thank you for your patience and understanding...I appreciate each one of you!

Friday, August 10, 2012

{fit friday}

Hi everyone! Hope you are all enjoying these last few weeks of summer! I can't believe how fast it's gone - sad to say goodbye to lazy days but also looking forward to welcoming new adventures !

Although summer is almost over I don't think these hot temperatures are over quite yet! One of my favorite things to have for breakfast, lunch, or an afternoon snack when the weather is scorching are smoothies.

With the internet and blogs and an interest in health these days different smoothie recipes are all over the place right now. Here are a few reasons why I can't get enough of them:
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Wednesday, August 8, 2012

{shopping info cards}

It's almost time for school to start, which means back-to-school shopping has probably commenced around your house--or will soon.  Isn't it exciting?  I remember planning out my first day of school outfit for weeks! Did you do that, too?

Sometimes I take kids with me to shop, but when I don't, I like to have a reference card for each child that includes all of their pertinent shopping information.  I also carry one for my husband, and it always comes in handy.  I just tuck it into my wallet, and then I know it's there when I need it. If you ever shop for clothing gifts for grandchildren, other extended family members, or friends, this is a great way to keep track of their information.

I wanted to share it all with you, too!  Just print it out on white cardstock, cut to size (2x3), and tuck it in your wallet! I've also included the pdf file, in case you want to type your text instead of write it. 

Donwnload pdf file HERE!  (eight on a page)
Download single jpg file HERE! (or right click on image above and "save as")
Download psd file HERE! (you'll need photoshop or elements)

Friday, August 3, 2012

{the BEST peanut butter chocolate chip cookies}

What makes these the best?'s the perfect consistency--soft but with a little bit of crunch from the now crispy sugar they were rolled in, the richness of the chocolate chips complements the smooth peanut butter exactly as it should, and quite simply, they melt in your mouth!  These have been our family's favorites for a long time, and anytime I serve them or take them anywhere, they're always immediately snapped up.  I like using Guittard or Ghirardelli chocolate chips (I'm a milk chocolate girl ☺), because I like their large size. The more chocolate, the better!  

{The BEST Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies}

1 c. sugar
 1 c. packed brown sugar 
1 c. peanut butter 
1 c. butter, softened
 2 eggs 
2 1/2 c. flour
 1 tsp. baking soda
 2 c. chocolate chips (I use the large Ghirardelli milk chocolate chips) 

 Preheat the oven to 325. Cream together the butter, peanut butter, and both sugars; beat in eggs. Stir together flour and baking soda; add to creamed mixture. Beat just until well mixed. Stir in chocolate chips. Roll into balls, then roll them in granulated sugar. Place on cookie sheet about 1 inch apart. Use two fingers to press them down slightly. Bake 12-15 minutes, or until lightly browned. Cool slightly before removing from pan and transferring them to a cooking rack.


Thursday, August 2, 2012

{chore chart on a ring}

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Astrobrights Papers by Neenah Paper. All opinions are 100% mine.

My girls just turned six, and will be starting 1st grade in the fall.  It means that they will now be gone all day for the first time (sniff, sniff), which will be an adjustment for them, and for me, as we try to fit everything in during the day in less time.  

They love anything "cute", and love to carry everything around with them in their bags, and are always wanting "to-do" lists like mine, so I came up with a darling chore chart just perfect for them--a chore chart on a ring!  Because they're laminated, they can make a check, star, heart, or whatever design they want to on each page with a dry erase marker, and easily wipe it off for the next day.  I love that it's portable, and they can carry it around wherever they go!  It can also be hung on a hook on the fridge, magnet board, cork board, etc.  

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