National Mac n’Cheese Day

I just found out that here in the U.S. we celebrate National Mac N’ Cheese Day! Who doesn’t LOVE mac n’ cheese? Nothing beats the creamy goodness of these delicious bite-sized portions. Celebrate the day with this homemade recipe. You won’t regret it!

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This is one of my favorite recipes for pleasing a crowd because everyone loves them! There is something about homemade mac n’ cheese that is hard to resist. These keep and reheat really well, but they don’t last long when served so you might want to whip up a few batches!

Mac N’ Cheese Bites

Makes about 4 dozen bites (when using a mini cupcake pan)

Ingredients:

1/2 lb. cooked whole wheat elbow macaroni (whole wheat makes a markedly superiour texture for these)

2 T. butter

2 T. flour

1 1/2 cups whole milk

2 cups shredded SHARP cheddar (plus about 1 cup for sprinkling on top)

2 oz. cream cheese

few dashes worcestershire and hot sauce

paprika, salt, and pepper

1 egg, beaten

Preheat oven to 400F

Whisk the butter and flour in a large pot over med-high heat until smooth. Reduce heat and slowly add milk; bring to a simmer to thicken. Add 2 cups of good aged cheddar and everything else but the egg. Remove from heat.

Add the cooked pasta and egg to the creamy sauce in your pot. Stir until evenly coated.

Spray mini muffin tins with non-stick spray. (This is enough for 2-24 cup pans if you have them).

Spoon the mixture into the pan and top with additional shredded cheese. Bake about 15 minutes or until desired browning (I like mine with crispy edges).

Allow to cool 5-10 minutes until they maintain shape when removed.

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Happy Mac N’ Cheese Day! Enjoy!

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Incredibly Easy DIY Unicorn Lanterns

I started feeling a little crafty while working on my latest Tuesday Trends article (spoiler alert: it’s unicorns lol). I love good dollar store hacks and these paper lanterns are just that. Not only are they inexpensive, but they only took minutes to make!

All you need is:

  • White or pale colored paper lantern
  • Markers
  • Craft paper
  • Assorted fake flowers

Unicorn party supplies

First, draw some simple lashes on your unicorn.

Unicorn party crafts

Make some unicorn ears and a horn out of craft paper.

unicorn horn

Attach those with a hot glue gun. I glued the horn to the opening of the lantern and made two little folded tabs on the back of the ears to help keep them in place.

Once those are done, add your flowers. Voila!

Unicorn lantern

Simple. Cheap. Quick.

I hope you enjoy your unicorn lanterns!

Love + Whimsy,

Sarah

DIY Unicorn Party Lantern

3 Easy & Refreshing Summer Salads

easy unique summer salad

I love summertime foods; all the fresh produce, vibrant colors, and juicy flavors. When it’s hot outside, I like to keep our midday meals light and easy. Here are some of my favorite unique summer salads. They are easy to prepare and very refreshing. Enjoy!

1. Twisted Greek

Take the cucumbers, black olives, and feta of a greek salad and add red peppers and krab. Drizzle with olive oil, balsamic, and oregano. I could literally eat this every day.

Krab and feta greek salad

2. Strawberry & Goat Cheese Salad with Roasted Peas

Skip the croutons and add roasted peas for some crunch in this salad. The tartness of the strawberries complements the goat cheese and keeps it tasting like summer!

strawberry goat cheese salad

3. Watermelon, Cucumber & Mint Salad

Now you may think watermelon is a strange addition to this salad, but I promise you this is an amazingly refreshing flavor combination. This salad is perfect as a standalone meal or with grilled meats.

watermelon cucumber mint salad

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cucumber
  • 1/2 small seedless watermelon
  • 1 T red wine vinegar
  • 1 t. minced garlic
  • 3 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 c chopped fresh mint
  • 1/3 c crumbled feta
  • salt & pepper

Cut the cucumber and watermelon into chunks (should be approx. 50/50 mixture). Gently toss with remaining ingredients. Served best at room temperature.

I hope you enjoy these recipes!

Sarah

On Trend – Geometric Shapes

As an artist, I have always enjoyed a balance between organic and geometric shapes. Repetitive use of geometric shapes in event design is trending right now and I LOVE it. One of the great things about this trend is that, with a little bit of crafting, you can easily create a stylish party on a budget.

Geometric shape backdrop

This innovative custom backdrop from weddingcolors.net is clean, but elegant in its simplicity.

Geometric centerpiece

Geometric shaped plates

Geometric shapes make an appearance on tablescapes in weddings and parties. Pastels colors and the use of greenery soften the hardness of the shapes and make it a perfect element for bridal and baby showers.

These plates from Amazon are adorable and totally affordable. Because of the colors and patterns you could use them for birthdays, showers, a playful picnic, or a tea party.

I also love these lights because not only are they beautiful, but they are battery operated which means you can easily incorporate them into you party decor. I can’t count the number of times I couldn’t make my lighting vision work due to the lack of an outlet!Geometric shapes can be tastefully added to cakes or used in paper decor to add further dimensionality. Often times it is used as a simple metallic accent which I find elegant.

Cake with geometric pattern

Geometric paper decor

Get crafty and play with geometric shapes by making your own terrariums, lighting, and home decor. Like this one from brit.co.

Floral geometric centerpiece

For more ideas check out my Pinterest page and please share your pics with me!

Sarah

 

Summertime Survival Kit

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Summertime is officially here which means pool parties, trips to the beach, barbecues, picnics, and all sorts of outdoor activities. Everyone remembers to bring the food and drinks, but items we usually forget are the ones that can save a summer party from being downright miserable.

Here is my list of summertime survival essentials that I take to every event. You can make your own kit and keep it by the door or in your car for simplicity. You’ll be glad you did!

1. Extra water

Because we all need to stay especially hydrated in the summer and you may need to give something a quick rinse. Please use re-useable water bottles! They are better for you and the summertime environments we all enjoy. I’ve been using my Nalgene bottles for over a decade.

2. Flame

You can’t light birthday candles, a campfire (unless you’re more skilled that I), or all those festive fireworks and sprinklers without a lighter.

3. Small first aid kit

You can buy one or just throw a few bandaids, wipes, and antibiotic ointment into a tin.

4. Sunscreen

For my husband and I, anything will do, but for the kids I really like the Babyganics products. You can purchase a great combo pack of the sunscreen and insect repellant here.

5. Insect repellant

In addition to the Babyganics repellent, my other favorite product is the bug repellant bracelets. Unfortunately for me, the bugs love me but these bracelets are AMAZING and they last for hours, even days!

6. Hand sanitizer

It’s not uncommon to find yourself at a summertime hotspot without running water. In a pinch, hand sanitizer will suffice!

7. Wet wipes

Baby wipes are my life! Seriously, I use them for everything. They are so handy to have in your summertime survival kit (or anywhere for that matter).

8. Hair care

Tangles and strays are part of outdoor activities so adding a detangling brush, large tooth comb, a few bobby pins, and some ouchless hair ties to your kit will make life a little easier for everyone. I love this set!

9. Instant Stain Remover

Barbecue sauce and clothing do not make great friends. Keeping some on-the-go stain remover is a great way to protect your threads from summertime stains.

10. Corkscrew/Bottle Opener/Multi-tool

A good multi-tool will include a corkscrew and bottle opener, but you can opt to have separate items in your kit. Nothing beats the standard Swiss Army Knife for functionality and durability, but this one comes in all kinds of cute colors!

11. Extra bags

Extra garbage bags aren’t only useful for trash and recycling, but are great for transporting wet towels and placing under wet swimsuits in the car. Throw in a few medium or large ziplocs too!

12. Dental floss or toothpicks

Because corn on the cob and ribs are summertime favorites. 😉

13. Solar phone charger

This really should’ve been closer to the top of the list, but I didn’t put them in any order. Definitely worth spending a little extra to have a decent solar phone charger. You won’t regret it.

14. Snacks

Kids are pretty much always hungry, but there are those times when adults need a little something to tide them over. Throw a few high-protein snacks that will stay good in the heat (granola bars and jerky are in my kit).

15. Sharpie

This may seem a little silly, but trust me it comes in handy. Especially when you’re trying to keep track of cups.

16. Baby powder

If you plan to frequent the beach or anywhere sandy, keep a small shaker of baby powder with you. It works wonders for removing sand from your skin!

17 & 18. Extra sunglasses and flip flops

If someone forgets to bring either of these or their’s break during a get-together, you’ll be their hero! I just grab extras from the dollar store to keep on hand.

19. Pain relief

Aspirin or anything that can relieve a headache. Nothing kills a good time like having a bad headache.

20. Umbrella

Finally, don’t forget to keep a small umbrella in your kit. Even though the sun is shining, summer rains can make an unexpected appearance.

Hope you all have a wonderful summer!

Sarah

 

Colorful Eggs for the 4th of July

Without fail, if I show up to a barbecue with deviled eggs they disappear within minutes. For July 4th, make your deviled eggs into red, white, and blue eggs that are really cool looking.

eggs

First, hard boil your eggs. As soon as they are done rinse them in cool water and tap the shells with the back of a spoon gently enough not to break them. I like to really bang them up so they have a great pattern.

Place the eggs in bowls with water and food coloring. Place them back in the fridge for 4 hours or so. Remove the shells carefully to reveal the colorful pattern underneath.

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Slice eggs in half, scoop the yolks into a bowl and mix with desired amount of mayo. I divided mine in half and added blue cheese, or gorgonzola, to the filling for the red eggs and smoked paprika to the filling for the blue eggs.

These deviled eggs are fun, colorful, and make for great presentation. Enjoy!

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