{Guest Post} Peppermint Cake-In-A-Jar Recipe

Betsy’s back today with another delicious recipe for you!  Just in time for the holidays!  I had one of these the other day…and it was the highlight of my day!  Delicious!  Take it away, Bets!
Hey there! With the holidays suddenly super close, I thought I’d share a quick and easy homemade gift perfect for teachers, neighbors, etc. I started making these when one of my closest friends moved to Texas to be a traveling nurse and said how she missed my cakes and cupcakes. I wanted a way to send her a cupcake from time to time without having to worry about the frosting getting all messed up and the cake drying out. Thus, the cake-in-a-jar was born!

Cake-in-a-Jar Tutorial: The perfect neighbor or teacher gift! Palmettos and PigtailsI first saw these mini mason jars when Shara gave me a little jar of honey butter when she was up in Maryland this fall. It was delicious, and when I finished it off I wanted to send her back the jar with something in it (one of my favorite little niceties to practice!). I had been thinking about trying to cake-in-a-jar thing for my Texas friend, so I decided to use Shara as a guinea pig for sending these in the mail because the little jelly jars were a great size. I went out and bought some extras so that I could make more than just the one going to Shara. I found them in a 4 pack at Target in their small canning area. Hobby Lobby {on sale for .99 each this week!} and craft stores also have them.

Cake-in-a-Jar Tutorial: The perfect neighbor or teacher gift! Palmettos and PigtailsSo, to start off I just made a batch of cupcakes. I made sure not to fill them too full with batter because I wanted them fairly level to the wrapper and flat not domed. I used a box mix because I wanted to do red velvet for a Christmasy look and red velvet is a pain to make from scratch and knew Shara wouldn’t judge me anyway.

Cake-in-a-Jar Tutorial: The perfect neighbor or teacher gift! Palmettos and PigtailsAs they cooled, I made a batch of vanilla buttercream. My buttercream recipe starts with these below and then I add things to customize the taste:

1 cup butter
1 cup Crisco
1 2lb bag powdered sugar
1 Tbsp vanilla extract

For this batch, I added peppermint extract and a handful of peppermint chips {I found these at Target in the baking aisle}.  For chocolate, omit the vanilla extract and add about a cup of cocoa powder {to taste}.

Peppermint and Red Velvet Cake-in-a-Jar Tutorial: The perfect neighbor or teacher gift! Palmettos and PigtailsI also made a batch of chocolate ganache for an extra special touch. Here’s the super easy chocolate ganache recipe I found online a few years ago:

1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup heavy cream

Microwave heavy cream for 1 minute, stir, then again in 30 second increments until it bubbles. Add chocolate chips and stir, stir, stir, until you have delicious thick ganache. I could eat this by the spoonful!  And added to chocolate cake and chocolate frosting, it’s decadent!

Chocolate Cake-in-a-Jar Tutorial: The perfect neighbor or teacher gift! Palmettos and PigtailsOk, so I got too excited by the ganache while I was working on Shara’s cake-in-jar. I knew I needed to let it sit for a bit to set up, so I left it alone while I cut each cupcake in half and started laying the bottom layers into each jelly jar.

Peppermint and Red Velvet Cake-in-a-Jar Tutorial: The perfect neighbor or teacher gift! Palmettos and Pigtails

Cake-in-a-Jar Tutorial: The perfect neighbor or teacher gift! Palmettos and PigtailsThen I poured in a layer of ganache. It was great that it was still liquid enough to pour, but I really should have waited longer for it to set up because it made for a less attractive side view of the jars as you will see in the pictures.

Cake-in-a-Jar Tutorial: The perfect neighbor or teacher gift! Palmettos and PigtailsNext I took some of my vanilla peppermint frosting and piped it into the jar on top. If you don’t have a piping bag, I’d recommend using a large Ziploc baggie with a 1/2″ hole cut in one corner to help make sure you get a nice clean, even layer in each jar.

Cake-in-a-Jar Tutorial, with bonus recipes for ganache and buttercream! Palmettos and PigtailsThen I layered the top half of each cupcake on top and squished it down in a little bit.   Some were a little shorter than others so any that had a little extra space before putting the lid on I layered one more thin layer of frosting and sprinkled a few extra peppermint chips on top. The rest I lidded just as they were.

Cake-in-a-Jar Tutorial: The perfect neighbor or teacher gift! Palmettos and PigtailsFor Shara’s I made sure to get it in the mail right away. I packed the box with blankets I was sending to Lincoln anyway, and she said it made it just fine! Yay! For some of the others and other batches I’ve made since, I got cute and decorated the jars with a little ribbon and flower sticker. These would be great Christmas gifts with a little Christmas ribbon on them!

Cake-in-a-Jar Tutorial: The perfect neighbor or teacher gift! Palmettos and PigtailsI’ve also since made these with scraps from larger cakes I’ve made instead of a batch of cupcakes. After leveling a regular round cake that I had made for another occasion, I just cut holes in the excess cake using the jar lids as a guide.

Use scraps from homemade cakes to create Cupcakes-in-a-Jar: The perfect neighbor or teacher gift! Palmettos and Pigtails

Use scraps from homemade cakes to create Cupcakes-in-a-Jar: The perfect neighbor or teacher gift! Palmettos and PigtailsIt’s a fantastic way to use up cake scraps {without eating them yourself!}, and show a little love to your mailman.  Or your bus driver.  Or your favorite blogger. {Just sayin’!}

Cake-in-a-Jar Tutorial: The perfect neighbor or teacher gift! Palmettos and Pigtails

Palmettos and Pigtails Signature

{Guest Post} A Very Little Bookstore

I recently had the pleasure of meeting Shara in person, and I connected with her instantly. I think partly I was a little star struck by her. She seemed to so easily manage her three children, and I’m honestly as terrified at the idea of baby number three as I am excited. I think I spent that first encounter begging her for tips and taking super detailed notes. :)  I’m so happy she asked me to join her today on the blog. I enjoy reading Palmettos and Pigtails, checking out her amazing craft ideas, and pinning her meal planning posts (don’t miss the recent freezer meals). And, I especially love her posts on where to go with children, whether it’s Disney World or closer to home at the Children’s Museum.

Lately, I’ve written a few posts about loving the place we live, which, to be fair, is not hard to do when you live in Charleston. So today, I thought we’d venture a little farther out of town, to quaint, downtown Summerville. On picturesque Main Street sits one of my own favorite places to go with my boys, and I’d love to share it with you.

But first, indulge me in a little reminiscing. I’m the sappy, sentimental type.

My mom read to my brother and me when we were younger, and she really encouraged us to read too. She would let me check out piles of books at the library, and she took me to the bookstore, no matter how tight our budget must have been, especially back then. I can even remember visiting a bookstore as early as 3, maybe 4. We lived in Turkey at the time, and were only there for a couple of years, so I can be confident that I was that young. I remember that this bookstore carried the Mr. Men & Little Miss books, a personal favorite. And, I loved Dr. Seuss at this age.

Naturally, reading is one of my most favorite things to do with my own boys. I want them to remember reading with me, just as I remember doing with my own mother.

So, just as my mother did with my brother and me, I take my boys to the library and let them check out the 25 book maximum. I try to select a few books while we’re here, but for the most part, I let Harrison pick the books that he wants. Sometimes, that means that I have to settle for a series of character books I’d rather pass on, but lately, it’s meant that I’m learning new things about dinosaurs. Did you know that the Brontosaurus is now called Apatosaurus? Or, that there is no such thing as a Pterodactyl? There is a Pterodactylus, but technically, it’s a Pterosaur and not a Dinosaur.

And, again as my mom did with us, we go to the bookstore. Here, I do make an effort to guide their selections, but I always let Harrison make the final decision. I’ve enjoyed slowly curating the boys’ library. Right now, we’re in a wonderful stage of picture story books, of books I loved from Reading Rainbow and books I remember my own librarian reading to us from her rocking chair each week in the school library. In the past, and out of convenience, I’ve picked up books at Barnes & Noble or on Amazon. More recently, though, I’ve discovered a little gem in an independent children’s bookshop.

Last week, Harrison and I made a trip to A Very Little Bookstore. We’ve been several times before, but always with baby Whitt, who has more fun pulling books off the shelf and making a general ruckus than he enjoys reading. I think it’s important to take my little one, but I wanted some one on one time with my oldest.

The Maypop Guest Posts about A Very Little Bookstore over at Palmettos and Pigtails

The owner, Natalie, is  passionate about children’s literature and about children, and her enthusiasm is apparent in every aspect of her shop. She’s incredibly knowledgeable about the various authors and illustrators. So, her recommendations are always exactly what we need. She doesn’t recommend books in a “one size fits all” manner either, meaning she doesn’t simply recommend her own favorites and assume your child will love them too. She gets to know you and your child, and then she suggests books you’ll like. For example, her suggestions for my little boy are always very different than her recommendations for his bestie, Farris, even though they are both four. The more often you venture in, the better her recommendations. And, she hosts a children’s book club for older children. So cool, right?

The Maypop Guest Posts about A Very Little Bookstore over at Palmettos and Pigtails

Not only is Natalie wonderful, but the shop itself is a special, magical place too. The walls are lined with individual and unique book shelves that look collected, rather than matching book cases you typically see in chain stores or libraries. And, her own children are often at the shop, which I love. It feels cozy and homey and very family-friendly. It’s the kind of place one can comfortably grab a book of the shelf and read on the carpet or at one of the low kids tables. It’s truly a place a mom can feel comfortable letting her kids be kids and dive into books (sometimes literally). And, that’s what makes this store so unique. It is truly a children’s bookstore – designed for children.

The Maypop Guest Posts about A Very Little Bookstore over at Palmettos and Pigtails

This store may be little, but it is the gateway to a big, wide world. If you’re local to Summerville and haven’t been, it’s a must. And, if you’re in Charleston or Mt. Pleasant, it’s worth the drive. I promise. While you’re downtown, I suggest you finish your bookish afternoon off with a root beer float from Guerin’s Pharmacy or a hot cocoa from Single Smile Cafe.

The Maypop Guest Posts about A Very Little Bookstore over at Palmettos and Pigtails

The Maypop Guest Posts about A Very Little Bookstore over at Palmettos and Pigtails

Photos by Gray Benko at the quaint A Very Little Bookstore (with the exception of the last two).

Thanks for having me, and come visit me over at The Maypop!

The Maypop Guest Posts about A Very Little Bookstore over at Palmettos and Pigtails

{Guest Post} DIY Painted Rug

Howdy, y’all! I’m Olivia from DIY Mother and I’m excited to be able to share one of my DIY projects with you, thanks to Shara being a bit busier lately!

I’ve been wanting to take a stab at the painted rug trend that’s been happening for quite some time now, but I was never confident enough and was kind of afraid I’d ruin a decent rug. But then I found an amazing deal on a simple, solid color, low-pile rug at the hardware store and I knew that even if I messed it up, I could at least use it outside.

While I’m not LOVING the rug on its own yet, I will admit that it looks pretty good around furniture in a clean room. I might end up moving it to our deck, but for now, it’s staying in the nursery. If you want to see any of my other projects, visit DIY Mother! Also, I’d love to know if you’ve successfully done a painted rug.

Materials you’ll need:
Low-pile rug
Acrylic paint (I actually used a combination of acrylic paint and spray paint and preferred the spray paint.)

I was on a budget, so I managed to find a 6×8 ft. indoor/outdoor rug for less than $30. It’s probably better suited for outdoors, so I’d recommend looking at others if you’re looking for strictly indoor use.

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I have a 6-month-old daughter with a pretty bare room, so I wanted to do a fun geometric print for the rug. I measured where the center of the rug was, and spaced my triangles out from the center. I used regular painter’s tape to mark off each triangle.

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Then, I started painting inside of the triangles. Don’t worry about purchasing textile medium-unless you don’t like the stiffness of dried paint. I, personally, don’t mind the stiffness.

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When they were finished, I wasn’t completely satisfied with the end product. Even though I love simplicity, I thought it needed something extra. So I decided to turn the triangles into “banners” running across the rug.

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That required me to connect the triangles to one another, which proved to be much more difficult than taping off the triangles.

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When it was all said and done, I was pleased with the final result. IF I could have done anything differently, I probably would have been more mathematical when measured out the banner part of the design. I tend to do everything by eye, but this isn’t one of those designs you should eyeball. Lesson learned. The baby loves it!

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Olivia from DIY Mother

Olivia GlendaleHowdy! I’m Olivia. I’m a 20-something year old mother to two rambunctious little girls, and wife to a handsomely handy contractor. Our family purchased our first home last year, and since then we’ve been embarking on any DIY renovation project we can dream up; I’ve also become a bit of a decorating nerd.

Somehow through all of the madness happening in our home, I still manage to find time to blog about our DIY and my personal decorating experiences. When I have 30 minutes to myself, I’m usually listening to 60’s girl groups (The Crystals, The Ronettes, you name it) or looking up pictures of Ryan Gosling. I take my free time very seriously.

{From the Archives} Tips for Doing Disney While Pregnant

Doing Disney While Pregnant: Tips from Palmettos and Pigtails

 Good morning!  It’s hard to believe that it was exactly a year ago that we took our family vacation to Disney with our best friends, Betsy and Jay.  So in the spirit of all of you spring breakers headed to Mickey-Land in the next few weeks, and for all of you preggos out there, I thought I’d revisit Betsy’s guest post about traveling to Disney while pregnant.  There are some great general tips about some of the lesser known aspects of the parks, as well as some essential info about doing Disney while pregnant!

Without further ado….here’s Bets!

Tips for doing Disney pregnant from Palmettos and Pigtails

My Disney vacation may be atypical from most and certainly from Shara’s in that my awesome husband took the reins of planning!  We discussed everything we decided, but as you read my recap, know that I don’t take credit for the plans he came up with or our schedule.  We both tried to be flexible with plans and just have fun because that’s all you can do with a 2-year-old and your in-laws in tow!

We rode with my in-laws in their RV so we were able to save money on food and stay at a campground overnight on the way to and from Florida {4 days total of travel to/from Disney from Maryland, and 6 days of Florida}.

Accommodations

We chose to stay at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Campground for a few key reasons.

We were making this trip with my in-laws and wanted to be near them to make plans to meet up and eat meals together as easy as possible.  We could have all squeezed in their RV all week, but Fort Wilderness has cabins, so the three of us opted for one of those for everyone’s sanity.  It was great!  We really liked everything about it.

Fort Wilderness is a really nicely laid out campground that has spoiled me for campgrounds everywhere.  Disney just knows how to do things right.  It is expansive, interspersed beautifully with trees and wildlife so you don’t see a million RVs everywhere you look, and there is bus transportation to help you get all around, though most everyone ends up splurging on renting golf carts for the week (including my father-in-law!  Even after we had planned not to splurge on renting one and sticking to the bus transport, he decided it would be well worth it for the ease of getting around, so we were fine with that!).  Two great pools, several playgrounds, two well-stocked shops with lots of food and drink essentials as well as gifty Disney stuff, pony rides, a delicious buffet, and easy free transportation to all of the parks plus Downtown Disney all made it a great choice for our family. Pool at Fort Wilderness Campground at Disney WorldThey also had an awesome campfire sing-a-long featuring Chip and Dale every night with marshmallow roasting and a movie under the stars.

  • Note 1. Bring your own marshmallows/s’mores stuff.  They sell everything there, but its pricey!
  • Note 2. Go during the weekdays.  We went on Wednesday night and again on Friday night (though I think some people go every night, hey its free entertainment) and Wednesday was nice and calm and peaceful while Friday was packed and slightly chaotic!Fort Wilderness Campfire at Disney WorldFort Wilderness Campfire at Disney WorldCampfire at Fort Wilderness Campground at Disney WorldThe cabins can sleep up to 6 people total, so our little family of 3 was able to spread out quite nicely.  The cabin had a full kitchen and one full bathroom, one bedroom with bunkbeds and a double bed, and a livingroom with a Murphy bed.  Jason and I chose to sleep out on the Murphy bed so we could put Lulabelle to bed at bedtime and stay up to watch TV for awhile without disturbing her.  It worked out really well.  Plus we had the luxury of housekeeping everyday… that’s my kind of camping!  We researched ahead of time and found that RV lots are not really intermixed with cabins in their layout, but you can call ahead to request specific areas if possible, so we so did that and got loops next to each other……ended up within walking distance to my in-law’s but not so close that we got on each others’ nerves.Fort Wilderness Cabins at Disney WorldParks

We also opted for the 4 tickets and got the 5th day free, but to save money we forewent the park hopper option and just did straight days.  The hopper would have been beneficial to some extent, but we didn’t really miss it.

Magic Kingdom notes:

-Be Our Guest restaurant

  • Ridiculous line just to get inside to eat, but I’ve decided it was worth it!  Disney made the Beast’s castle look so realistic and amazing, it was really a treat to get to sit there and eat!  A delicious feast for the tummy and for the eyes.
  • I was frustrated by the ordering process – touchscreen computers each party orders on themselves are a bad idea when a Disney staff person has to run from computer to computer helping all the people figure out how to take the accidental extra beverages off their total or swipe their credit card!  But my note to poor starving preggos or people with toddlers would be to just have a little snack while in line so you’re not dead or ready to kill someone by the time you get to the ordering screens.
  • The meals were pricey, but in reality quite comparable to the other restaurants in the parks – 4 adult meals with drinks and one kid’s meal with milk came to $55 – and the food was really quite good – I got a quiche that came with a good-sized spinach salad and champagne vinaigrette, mmm….
  • The other pretty cool thing to note was the servers bringing out your food using some method of GPS or tracking to figure out exactly where your party is seated.  It was done via a little red, circular rose that you take with you after ordering and set on the table you’ve chosen, and then within a few minutes a waiter comes wheeling out a fancy food cart directly to your table.  When my husband asked how he knew where we were, the waiter just said “magic,” we were in an enchanted castle after all.  Anyway, we sat in the main ballroom, in fancy chairs, under gorgeous chandeliers, with computer-generated snow falling outside beautiful windows – I absolutely loved it.Be Our Guest Restaurant at Magic Kingdom in Disney WorldEpcot notes:

-Nemo ride + big aquarium afterwards!

  • We knew about Turtle Talk with Crush after the Nemo ride, but I did not know there was a full-fledged aquarium to check out in there as well with manatees, dolphins, turtles, fish!  We ended up staying in that one building for close to 2 hours even with no line to get on the Nemo ride at all!
  • Note: bring a snack in if you’re pregnant and hungry every half an hour.Aquarium by the Finding Nemo Ride at Epcot at Disney WorldHollywood Studios notes:

-Disney Jr. show

  • This was pretty much the main thing we thought Lu would want to do so we got in line early on and excitedly got front row seats inside the theater.  Terrible idea.  We could not see anything from the front row because they have you sit on the floor (my other bone to pick with that show – I don’t get up and down all that easily these days!) and the characters are all puppets.  Most times we could see just the tops of characters’ heads, but sometimes we couldn’t see them at all when they were talking.
  • We also had a Disney staff member who kept making little Lu sit down when she tried to see a little better (even though in the middle rows all the kids were standing up and even though the only people she could have been blocking were her dad and grandpa).  SO, aim for the center of the theater, maybe even towards the back.
  • And warn the grandparents and preggos in your family they’ll be sitting on the floor.

Tips for doing Disney while Pregnant from Palmettos and Pigtails

And finally, a shout-out to my shoes!  I researched good, supportive sandals for walking before we left, and these are what I decided on.  They are Spencos http://www.zappos.com/spenco-kholo-straw-java~1 I ordered from zappos.com, and they did a great job supporting me in all of our walking.  According to the reviews, they run a little wide, which was great for me as I have slightly wide feet on a normal day and was very worried my pregnant lady feet might swell especially in the heat.  They have great arch support, and I never had a day of discomfort with extended walking every day we were there.  Yay!

How to do Disney while Pregnant from Palmettos and Pigtails

Overall, it was a magical Disney vacation!  In a nutshell, if you choose to do Disney while pregnant, make sure you wear good shoes, bring lots of water and snacks, and stay in the shade.  We can’t wait to go back, or at least go on vacation with Shara and Dave again soon!  Thanks for reading!

Betsy

Betsy is the cake creator over at Betsy’s Cakes, the Godmother of Jayna and Amelia, and the Mommy of Lullabelle.  She’s also the wife of Jay, and lover of all things Disney.  She’s also Shara’s best friend, and can be found in this post, this one, and this one.  Oh yeah, she also is the mastermind behind the Super Popular Dr. Suess Party post!

{Guest Post} DIY Crafts That Brighten the Room

Good morning!  My name is Naomi and I’m thrilled to be guest posting on Palmettos and Pigtails today.  I’ve been a stay-at-home mother for several years, and in my free time, I do a bit of blogging on the side.  I enjoy creating DIY and crafts for home, but I also love writing about the realm of business, more specifically retail design.

DIY Crafts That Brighten the Room

Are you moving into a drab dorm room? Is your office feeling a little dreary? Whether your home, bathroom, bedroom, or dorm need some sprucing up, these crafts will get you on the colorful path to brighter days.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.com

Instagram Photo Collage

Do you have a drab wall that needs decorating? Create a colorful masterpiece using your photos from Instagram.

  • Print out your instas from a computer at instagram.com or simply use polaroids or any other type of square photograph.
  • Use painters tape to mark a level base for your wall collage. Measure from the floor on each end to guarantee its level.
  • Cut out your square pieces and tape them to the wall in a grid pattern. Before you know your wall will be a colorful masterpiece of … lattes?

Faux Frames

Washi tape originates from Japan and comes in tons of different colors and patterns that can make any dull design pop. Craft a few small frames to make any picture on your wall seem perfectly placed.

  • Hang a few different sized photographs on the wall using four small pieces of tape (painters tape or masking tape).
  • Cut different sizes of Washi tape for different sized frames. Think square, rectangular, octagonal, and so on.
  • Check out this detailed blog post from Design Sponge on how to make your frames truly unique.

 Image courtesy of Shutterstock.com

Doily Wallpaper

Layering different colored doilies together can give a dorm room wall a personalized feminine touch.

  • Starting from the bottom, use about two pieces of tape per doily and start creating rows.
  • You can use the painters tape level method (mentioned above) to make sure your doilies are lined up.
  • Make sure each doily overlaps so that you can’t see the wall behind them.

Shutter Organizer

Perfect for hanging kitchen supplies, office supplies, or anything else needing a place to go, an old shutter can hold just about anything.

  • Find an old shutter and paint the top half yellow for a bold color block. Check out this great example from C.R.A.F.T., a blog dedicated to “creating really awesome free things.”
  • Over the door hooks, a magnetic knife strip, clear caddies, or even a bike basket are all storage tools you can hang on the shutter.
  • Lean the shutter against the wall close to your bedroom door or anywhere convenient in a small kitchen and whalah, DIY decoration and organization at its finest!

Paint Swatch Scallops

Paint swatches are free and can be used to brighten up any small corner, large wall, or dull space in need of excitement.

  • Use a die-cutting tool and cut as many circles as you need from your paint swatches.
  • Using the protective cardboard found in a frame or simply the back of the frame, tape or glue the circles in rows (like the doilies) so they layer each other in a neat pattern.
  • Secure inside your frame, then hang this quick piece of art on any wall or lean it on any desk for a bright pop of color.
  • Here are several great examples of paint chip art from event planning blog, Social Graces.

Scalloped ArtImage courtesy of Social Graces

Get creative spicing up any space with these DIY crafts. Add furniture and other displays and whalah! Maybe these ideas will inspire you to come up with some of your own!

 

Naomi Shaw is a stay-at-home mom in Southern California. After being a stay-at-home mom  for seven years she now works full-time as a freelance writer. She enjoys blogging about mommy tips and DIY crafts providing insight, advice and more. 
 
 

{Guest Post} A Life Without Borders

A few years ago, my husband and I realized there was something wrong with the life we were living. We were living what was supposed to be the American dream, successful corporate careers, the big house in the suburbs, two adorable kids, but something was missing. In the quest to make the “perfect” life, we had created a nightmare. We were stressed and exhausted. Worse yet, each day seemed to blend into the one before it. Life had become both stress-filled and ordinary. We needed a changea big change. We sold our house, gave away most of our stuff, bought a sailboat, and took our six-year-old daughter and ten-year-old son on a four year adventure in search of a life less ordinary. This is what we found. A Life Without Borders-Traveling for 4 Years with Kids {guest post on PalmettosandPigtails.com}First stop the Bahamas, where the beaches are incredibly white, enormous starfish abound,A Life Without Borders-Traveling for 4 Years with Kids {guest post on PalmettosandPigtails.com}and stingrays are so tame they will eat fish from between your toes.A Life Without Borders-Traveling for 4 Years with Kids {guest post on PalmettosandPigtails.com}Down the Caribbean island chain we sailed on our catamaran sailboat, Alegria, A Life Without Borders-Traveling for 4 Years with Kids {guest post on PalmettosandPigtails.com}exploring ancient Spanish forts, A Life Without Borders-Traveling for 4 Years with Kids {guest post on PalmettosandPigtails.com}digging for pre-Columbian artifacts on the island of Carriacou.A Life Without Borders-Traveling for 4 Years with Kids {guest post on PalmettosandPigtails.com}

A Life Without Borders-Traveling for 4 Years with Kids {guest post on PalmettosandPigtails.com}We explored remote, deserted islands off the coast of Venezuela,A Life Without Borders-Traveling for 4 Years with Kids {guest post on PalmettosandPigtails.com}and enjoyed life in the slow lane.

We included a side trip to South America, to Peru,A Life Without Borders-Traveling for 4 Years with Kids {guest post on PalmettosandPigtails.com}to see the mythical Machu PicchuA Life Without Borders-Traveling for 4 Years with Kids {guest post on PalmettosandPigtails.com}and baby condors at an endangered animal rehabilitation center.A Life Without Borders-Traveling for 4 Years with Kids {guest post on PalmettosandPigtails.com}From Peru, we took a bus south to Chile,  where we saw penguins on a remote island.A Life Without Borders-Traveling for 4 Years with Kids {guest post on PalmettosandPigtails.com}

In the beautiful country of Ecuador we hiked up a glacier covered volcano named Cotopaxi.

We had more incredible adventures including rappelling down waterfalls, exploring the Amazon jungle, stargazing in the Atacama Desert, and an RV trip across the US before we returned home, four years later.

 Of all the things we experienced though, the best was seeing how close we became as a family. You can read all about our trip in my new book A Life Without Borders.A Life Without Borders-Traveling for 4 Years with Kids {guest post on PalmettosandPigtails.com}Life moves quickly and it is up to each of us to make the most of it for ourselves and for our loved ones. My motto will forever be “Never trade time for money.”

Is there anything you are longing to do?

A Life Without Borders-Traveling for 4 Years with Kids {guest post on PalmettosandPigtails.com} Carla and her husband knew there had to be more to life than climbing the corporate ladder. They sold their house, sold and gave away most of their possessions, bought a sailboat, took their two young children and sailed away. For 4 years they sailed through the Caribbean, backpacked through South America, and RV’d across the US. You can read all about their adventures in her new book, A Life Without Borders . Her website is ALifeWithoutBorders.com

{Guest Post} Homemade Hair Curlers

Hi, I am Brenna and I share about all things crafty over at Life After Laundry . I am so glad to have met Shara earlier this year at a blog conference. Although I didn’t met her until the end of the conference, we hit it off instantly, and I so enjoyed talking to her about life and blogging. We have very similar blogs, and it was neat swapping stories and comparing notes. Of course, we promised to keep in touch when we left that day, but also made plans to write guest post for each other. So, here I am today, happy to be sharing with you a little about me and a project that was so much fun to do.

Do you ever have the desire to make a project that you had no need for? I don’t know, like maybe you only have one child, a son, but think making homemade hair curlers would be the cutest thing ever. I thought about making them a years ago, but talked myself out of it of it, since I really don’t have a need. But, then I needed a guest post for Shara, who happens to have cute little girls, who I am sure would look adorable in little hair curlers. So, thanks Shara, for giving me an excuse to try these out.

Unfortunately, my niece, who I will send this project to after I am done, doesn’t live close enough for me to show you these little curlers in action. I did test them on my hair and was shocked by the nice, tight curls that resulted.

I have seen a few tutorials for these types of curlers, and they all included hand sewing or sewing a buttonhole, which seemed like a lot of work when you are trying to do 12 of them. I mean, they are hair curlers. This project shouldn’t take days. I also decided to use Velcro instead of tying the curlers. I was afraid that the Velcro might pull at the hair when putting them in and taking out, but I tried it several times and never had that problem. Not only is the Velcro easy to sew on, but it made the curlers stay in a whole lot better.

Homemade Hair Curlers, a Guest Post from Life After Laundry on PalmettosandPigtails.com

What You Will Need:

  • 12- 3 in x 10 in pieces of fabric
  • Fiberfill
  • Velcro
  • Marking tool (chalk, water soluble pen or pencil)
  • Something pointy to help with turning fabric and stuffing
  • Sewing machine and basic sewing supplies

To Make:

  • After you have your fabric cut to 3 in x 10 in, draw a line 3 1/2 inches from the each end. That will leave you a 3 in space in the middle of your fabric between each line.

  • Fold fabric in half long ways. Sew along one short side and the long side. Clip your sewn corner so that there is less bulk when you turn.

  • Turn right side out. Using some kind of pointy object to help push your corners out.

  • Sew along the line closest to the closed end.

  • Stuff with fiberfill until you almost come to the next line. A pointy object will help you again here with getting the stuffing in and push down where you need it to be. I use a pair of hemostats, but a pencil would work too.

  • Sew as close as to the second line as you possibly can.

  • Fold under your unfinished end, and sew in 1/8-inch from the end to close.

  • Sew Velcro to the backside of one flap and the front of the other. The piece on the backside will be sewn about an 1-inch from edge and the piece facing you in the picture will be a 1/2-inch from edge. It really isn’t critical that you line your Velcro up like mine, I just found that worked best for me.

Thank you so much for letting me share this project with you. I hope that you have a little girl in your life that you can try these out on. For more Sewing and Craft tutorials be sure to visit me at Life After Laundry.

Brenna

{Guest Post} Go Dansker Mom, A Transplant Story

You may have figured out  by now, that I am a transplant.  I moved from from the DC area down to the Lowcountry back in 2005, thus making me what locals call, “a transplant.”  There are lots of us {the south is a lovely place to live!}….and it seems like I meet more and more each day!  Allison is one of my bloggy friends and writes over at at Go Dansker Mom.  She’s guest posting here today to tell you all about how her transition to being a “southerner” is going!

Go Dansker Mom - Guestpost on PalmettosandPigtails.com

I grew up in Maryland, near the Chesapeake Bay, and while that’s not up there with Maine or anything, it is still what I consider “northern.”  Over my life I have slowly moved further and further south and now I am raising 2 sons in “the Paris of the Piedmont” – Carrboro/ Chapel Hill, NC.

I love it here – the culture, the people, the pace, the opportunities – it is a great place to live.  HOWEVER, the northerner in me is noticing some differences here in the South that become more evident as my children grow up here.Go Dansker Mom's Guest Post about raising boys in the South- PalmettosandPigtails.comThe first thing, of course, is that my 4 year old is noticing accents.  It is hysterical to watch since he doesn’t really understand it all yet.

“Mom, Bryce drinks wuh-ter.”
“No, he drinks wAter.”
“No, he doesn’t.  He drinks wuh-ter.  We drink water.  Water and wuh-ter are different.”

So many conversations like this occur.  He thinks that my husband and I are saying entirely different words than his friends are, even though it is just an emphasis and pronunciation difference. I will watch with curiosity as he ages to see which pronunciations he adopts as his own.

He also cannot understand me many times as I speak much faster than most people in the world.  It seems like northerners speed up on the rest of the world in general.  I say something and my son will just blankly reply, “Pardon me, what did you say?”  I say I have about a 50% success rate of being understood the first time through.  If I slow down, though, no problems…although you know, it might all be a ruse of his to test me.  Hmmm.  Note to self: look in to this theory.

Another quirk my 4 year old does not understand is the use of “Y’all.”  I still say “you guys” and I have heard my son correcting his buddies at the gym nursery.  Not that either of these sayings are proper English but it cracks me up that he notices.

But it is fun being here, I wouldn’t trade it. For although my boys don’t have regular crab feasts as part of their upbringing and they won’t ever truly understand the importance of Old Bay seasoning, they are learning to call women “Ma’am,” and getting all the vinegar-based pulled pork barbecue they could want.

Folks here in the South are so warm and welcoming.  I’m still going to skip the Jell-O salads but all y’all should know I am proud to be considered a Southern gal.  Now excuse me as I am headed out to get some seersucker suits for my boys.  Best thing ever.

Go Dansker Mom, A Guestpost at PalmettosandPigtails.com

Allison is a freelance writer who lives in Chapel Hill, NC. She wants you to come visit her at Go Dansker Mom, but she also spends a lot of her time managing her popular local parents’ guide Mom in Chapel Hill. She and her husband have a 4 year old boy and an 18 month old boy so she spends a lot of time yelling, frantically, “BAD IDEA.” She wouldn’t have it any other way.

 

{Guest Post} Best EVER Smoothie Recipe

Hello There!!  Thanks so much for having me!  My name is Kristen and I blog over at http://3monkeysmommy.blogspot.com.  I’m a busy mama, I have a hubby, three little boys and a full time job.  I LOVE crafting, creating, cooking, and sewing.  I’m happy to share our favorite smoothie recipe.  We are constantly looking for healthy alternatives and better choices.  Hope you’re inspired to try these delicious smoothies!

This week my mission has been to make a good smoothie.  I should clarify that the ones I have been making are delicious… but they are chunky, seedy and most of the time too thick.

Last weekend a friend and I were discussing smoothies and how its impossible to make them the way that places that sell them do.  It’s impossible to get rid of all the seeds & chunks… It’s impossible to make that perfect consistency…. until today.


This morning I made the most perfect smoothie ever. I mean EVER.  Even my son commented that I should make them this way all the time because they are sooooooo good!!
 

Best EVER Smoothie Recipe:

(And when I say EVER I mean by me)



1/2 banana

7-8 frozen peach slices

1/3 cup frozen raspberries

1/2 cup milk

1 individual yogurt, frozen (I used a pineapple mango greek)

Add all ingredients & blend until smooth.  Enjoy! 

Best Ever Smoothie Recipe from 3 Monkeys' Mommy - PalmettosandPigtails.com
Best Ever Smoothie Recipe from 3 Monkeys' Mommy - PalmettosandPigtails.com
Best Ever Smoothie Recipe from 3 Monkeys' Mommy - PalmettosandPigtails.com
FYI: I froze the yogurt in the individual container, and then just ran a little hot water over it to pop it out.  I think this is the key to getting the perfect consistency. 

This amount will make a large smoothie.  Large enough that I shared with my boys. I add 2-3 tbsp of ground flax seed every other day for breakfast.  It certainly changes the consistency of the smoothie, but its delicious all the same.

Hope you enjoy!  I’ll be making this again tomorrow morning :)

Kristen


{Guest Post} 10 Signs You Are NOT a First Time Mom

Christine and I each have 4 children.  There was a point after the first one where the list of all the things we read in books and solemnly swore we would always follow and all the things we judged other moms for doing that we would NEVER do as parents started to have little “did it” check marks beside it.   You learn that things are a little (not always a lot) easier when you only have 1 child.  The transition from 1 to 2 is truly an eye opener.  I thought people were nuts when they said that going from 1 to 2 was harder than going from 2 to 3 . . . but they weren’t.  The truth is that a lot of the reason it is easier to go from 2 to 3 is because you already realize that you aren’t going to be perfect by the time you reach child #3 and it was probably child #2 who helped you to REALLY realize that.

So . . . I give you this list, that Christine and I came up with together while waiting outside a dance class:   Ten Signs You are NOT a First Time Mom!

1. You’ve come to accept the fact that you are only REALLY in control about 25% of the time and in that 25% of the time you are never truly 100% in control.

2. You say, “CRAP!!  NOT YET!!!” instead of “How Wonderful!” when your child takes their first steps.

3. You go from swearing off TV entirely to Only 1 hour a day to . . . Please, just no Spongebob or Caillou.

4. You no longer feel guilty about taking a little time for yourself because you understand that you need that time in order to be a better mom.

5. You know in your heart that the saying “God made dirt and dirt don’t hurt” was most likely first uttered by a mother defending herself when her 3 year old boy was covered head to toe in mud . . . when she looked away for only a minute.

6. You truly understand that your pediatrician wasn’t just blowing sunshine up your LaDeeDa when she said that they will eat when they are hungry and you should relax a little.

7. You know that, unless they are sleeping, silence is NOT a good thing.

8. You no longer question if you will have enough love to go around because you have realized that your love can grow exponentially.

9. You learn the difference between an I NEED you cry, a FIX THIS cry and an I JUST WANNA CRY cry.

10. You’ve come to accept that the biggest struggle you will go through as a parent isn’t bedtimes or getting them to eat but learning when to say “yes”, when to say “no”, when to hold on and when to let go.

 


Janene and Christine have been blogging together as More Than Mommies since February 2012.  They were both born and raised in Western Pennsylvania (about 20 minutes outside of Pittsburgh).  Happily married to their husbands, Jerry and Jim, they each have 4 children.  Christine is Mommy to 4 beautiful girls born between 2003 – 2010.  Janene is Mommy to 1 girl and 3 boys.  Nate was born in 2005, Danika 2007 and then her twins, Dean and David, in 2009.  Their hobbies include, cooking, photography, reading and of course BLOGGING!