No-Bake Chewy Granola Bars

granola bars

The other day whilst perusing the aisles of Target (sans grocery list), I began grabbing random items from the grocery aisle, and tossing them in to my giant, red shopping cart. (Clearly I cannot be trusted without a grocery list.) In addition to my usual, aimless home-goods browsing,  I was looking for a few easy on-the-go snacks for Ayden.  I am not one of those perfectly raw, organic moms (although I wish I was), but I do read labels. My typical shopping guidelines are as follows:

  • If it grows out of the ground, I try to buy organic.
  • No sugar in the first 3 ingredients.
  • No high fructose corn syrup (to the very best of my ability.)

Like I said, I do this imperfectly. However, these guidelines are what matter to me most days, when it comes to feeding my family.  Anyway, back to Target. I was walking through the snack aisle, about to throw a box of granola bars in my cart. I checked the label, like I do, and noticed all sorts of disturbing corn syrups, ‘modified this’, and ‘modified that’. I thought to my self, ‘Self, I bet we can make this from scratch using real food’. So I did, and here’s how. 

Stuff you will need:

  • 1/2 cup raw or brown sugar
  • 1.5 cups honey (After making this recipe, I would cut it to 1 cup of honey)
  • 1/3 cup real butter or coconut oil
  • 1/4 tsp salt (sea salt if you have it)
  • 1 cup 100% crunchy peanut butter
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 cups rice crisped cereal
  • 2 2/3 cups old fashioned oats
  • 2/3 cup ground flax seed
  • 1/2 – 1 cup chocolate chips

ingredients

How to make it:

In a large bowl, combine oats, rice cereal and ground flax. Stir until well combined, and set aside.

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Measure out sugar, honey, Butter/coconut oil and salt into a sauce pan. Heat over medium, and bring to a boil. Stir the entire time, and let boil for one minute so sugar dissolves.

Take off heat, add vanilla extract and peanut butter, stirring until smooth.

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Pour wet mixture over the dry ingredients that you set aside earlier.

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Stir until well combined.

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Set mix aside for 5-10 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare a large cookie sheet (12.5 x 17.5 x 1 inch) with parchment paper. (Trace bottom of pan on to paper, cut along lines and it should fit perfectly in the bottom of the pan).

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Pour the granola mixture on to the lined cookie sheet.

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Make sure you distribute the mixture evenly. Then get another piece of parchment paper and another cookie sheet, place on top of mixture, and press down to help set the bars.

Sprinkle chocolate chips on top, and repeat pressing technique.

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Allow bars to fully cool, (either in fridge or on counter).

Cut bars to desired size, serve and enjoy!

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***Original recipe was found on the Happy Money Saver blog.

xo, Em

The Best of Pinterest

Best of Pinterest

Alright crafty friends, (and wannabe crafty friends). It’s a new year and the DIY possibilities are endless. So let’s talk about Pinterest. Pinterest offers an infinite abyss of clever DIYs, beautifully styled homes, delectable-looking recipes, insanely cute outfits and pretty much anything else your inner idealist could hope for. Let’s be honest, it’s fun to lay in bed, scrolling through images of ‘ideas’ (or ideals). In fact, one could even argue that it is like a virtual vision board, helping you to manifest a life you desire… Am I pushing it? Regardless, it is fun and a great place to get ideas for projects.

When I joined Pinterest a few years ago, I made a non-spoken agreement with myself, that if I was going to play in this perfect little fantasy-land, I had to at least attempt to execute some of these projects. Otherwise, it seemed like a huge waste of my time. Through a lot of trial and error, (and a few epic fails), I have selected what I believe to be the best DIY projects of Pinterest. Some I have recreated, and some are still on my to-do list.

My criteria for this are as follows:

  1. Easy to execute and emulate.
  2. Fun.
  3. Functional.
  4. Realistic.
  5. Within a reasonable budget.

Button Magnets

Hey you! Yeah you, the one with the pizza delivery and taxicab magnets (that you got for free in the mail), adorning your fridge; this one’s for you! It really doesn’t get much easier than this, and the finished product is nothing short of adorable. All you need is some buttons, magnets and your hot glue gun.

magnets

Scrabble Art

I am a bit of a self-admitted word-nerd, so obviously I love me some scrabble art. Wouldn’t this make for a cute gift? I made a piece of art like this, but I used an actual scrabble board as my canvas. It included my family’s names, with words like ‘family’, ‘love’ and ‘home’ woven in perpendicularly. It currently resides in our humble abode.

scrabble art

(We also used my scrabble creation as wedding decor)

(We also used my scrabble creation as wedding decor) Photo cred: Sarah Field Photo

Earring Holder

Here is another genius idea, and happens to be one of my very first successful Pinterest DIYs. I love a functional craft! To spruce things up, (and because I didn’t have chicken wire or screen on hand), I used black fishnet instead. I use my earring holder for my larger, dangly earrings.

earring holder earrings

Scrabble Coaster

Love. These. Coasters. These are on my to-do-someday list. The word possibilities are exciting and endless.

scrabble coaster

Mason Jar Chandelier

I think the proper words for this rustic chandelier are, “I die”. In fact, my super talented friend, Steph, has one of these puppies hanging over her dining room table, and I assure you, it is even better in person. Steph’s home is one of my absolute favorite design spaces, and if she lets me, I will be doing an upcoming blog post, spotlighting her beautiful home.

chandelier

Memory Jar

Every year I say I want to start a memory jar–this is MY year. I am doing it, people. Come December 31, 2015, The McAllister family will have a jar full of memories to read!

memory

Stencil Pillow

More crafts with more words. Seems easy enough, right? Plus who doesn’t love a throw pillow?

stencil

Ticket Keepsake

I am one of those sentimental people, that saves every show ticket I have ever been to, (even down to my very first concert; The Grateful Dead, Fall 1993 Tour.) When I stumbled upon this DIY, I knew it was fate and quickly proceeded to create my own ticket collage. If you’re a romantic (like me), these could make for a really cute anniversary gift.

ticket keeper

tickets

Animal Silhouette 

Craft paper, scissors, tape/glue and a frame. Quick and easy nursery, (or in my case, bathroom) art.

animal sil

Sharpie Mug

Really, the ideas for this one are never-ending. So easy. So cute.

sharpie

Faux Zinc Letters

Remember my tutorial on these babies? I love my faux zinc letters. And you will love yours too! #pinterestdoesitagain

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DIY Nightstand

A spray-painted trash can turned upside down. Definitely one of those ‘why didn’t I think of that’, moments.

night stand

$1 Chalk Sign

Easiest chalk signs ever. You can buy trays like this (and other various shapes), at your local dollar store. Slap some chalk board paint on them, and you have instant party decor. I have used these for many a party. (You can see an example in my gallery from Ayden’s 1st Birthday Party, here.) 

dollar chalk sign

Painted Table

I am in love with this whimsical, space-saving idea, aren’t you? You could even mount a mirror above it and make it in to a vanity. Ideas, ideas…

painted table

Menu Board

Need help meal planning and staying on top of your grocery list? Make a menu board. Game-changer, and pretty darn easy to make.

menboard

Revamped Folding Chair

I have two folding chairs just begging for a makeover. Stay tuned for a step-by-step in the near future.

folding chair

Glitter Shade

Sparkly is my favorite color. If it’s glittery and shiny, I like it. This one is a yet-to-do for me, but I am sure that I will find a lampshade (or two) to try this on.

glitter shade

Numbered Drawers

I gave our boring old dresser a super easy makeover, using this idea. It gave our dresser a whimsical, personalized touch.

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Painted Drawer Interior

Cute, cute, cute! I love a pop of color; so many options with this.

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Gold Mug DIY

This combines 2 of my favorite things; coffee mugs and gold. love how the gold sharpie turns metallic when baked in the oven! (I will be putting this to the test, asap).

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Gold Letter Magnets

I have a zillion of those multicolored, kiddie, letter-magnets. A coat or two of gold spray paint, and you have magic.

gold magnet

Gold Rock Book Ends

(Told ya I liked gold).

book ends

Fabric Garland

I love me a garland, a bunting, a banner and pretty much anything cute and hang-able. How darling are these? Don’t feel like making one? Buy one from my friend, Shanna.

Fabric garland

Available at: Neni & Co.

Available at: Neni & Co.

Jello Playdoh

I want to make this. The end.

playdoh

Gold Dipped Feathers

You thought we were done with the gold, didn’t you? Wrong. I have a ar of my own sparkly, gilded feathers on my computer desk. They inspire me and they’re pretty. ‘Nuff said.

dipped eathers

I will continue to collect fabulous Pinterest DIYs for you guys, so keep an eye out for a sequel to this list. I’d love to see your creations, so pretty please show them off to me!

xo, Em

My Resolution to You

Me

January 1, 2015. Nice ring to it, eh?

Happy New Year, you beautiful creatures, you.I am writing this as a sort of intention, or manifesto for the coming year, to my readers. I had a long conversation with my hero, (my big sister), yesterday, about vulnerability. About transparency. About authenticity. It became very clear to me that one of my hopes and intentions for this blog, was to open up a bit more, and let you in. 

I often talk about the power and the magic of truly relating to each other, and now it is time for me to walk that talk. I still plan to share fabulous and fun DIYs, events and recipes, but I am also hoping to incorporate some more #realtalk.

I am so excited and honored that you have decided to join me on my blogging journey thus far, and I can’t wait to bring you so much more; cue music, “We’ve only just begun…”

xo, Em

life is rad

Day 8: Raw Wreath Dream Catcher

raw wreath dream catcher diy

This craft came to be as an inspiration from an Instagram post by JL Desgins. I actually found the post through Wolf Camp Studios, of Costa Mesa, Ca, when they were having their Handcrafted Holiday Pop-up shop. I saw the wreath below going for $65. I wanted that wreath, but I had 2 problems: a.) I couldn’t make it to Costa Mesa that weekend, and b.) I didn’t have an extra $65 to spend on Holiday deco, (we run our ship on a budget!)

JL Designs

I already had all the crafts I would need to recreate my version and vision of this, (minus the raw wreath). I made a little trippy-poo to Hobby Lobby, snagged one for around $5 and the rest is history.

I am in love with the finished project–like, really in love. Here is my step-by-step how-to in photos, (of course incorporating my crafting motto – ‘use what you have’.)

raw wreath dream catcher

Raw wreath

raw wreath dream catcher

Feather tags I had, purchased from the $1 spot at Target

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Lace twine back and forth (creating a star-like pattern), on the back side of your wreath.

Lace twine back and forth (creating a star-like pattern), on the back side of your wreath.

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Beads I had in my craft supplies.

Beads I had in my craft supplies.

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Tie feathers and twine to the bottom and back side of your wreath, adding beads as desired.

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‘Borrow’ some greenery from a tree or garland, (real or fake).

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Decorate the outer part of your wreath by tucking it under the little branches.

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Hang wreath dream catcher

Hang wreath dream catcher

What I love about this DIY, is that you can hang it all year around (just remove the greenery after the holidays.) I would love your feedback on this one! Please comment below, if you so desire. xo, Em

Day 7: Holiday Wall Art {Fail and Fixes}

DAY 7_(1)

Greetings, Blogosphere!

Today is DIY Day 7, which officially puts us over the halfway mark of this 12 day challenge. If I am being 100% honest, (which I am), then you should know I hesitated to post this craft. It did not turn out how I envisioned it, and after the fact I realized a better way to do the project. You know what they say about hindsight..

When I started this blog, I did so under the guise of being relate-able to the ‘everyday mom’. Everyday moms sometimes have fails. I wouldn’t call this project a total fail, but let’s be honest, it’s not my favorite. (That is what Ayden says when she doesn’t like something).

I am going to post my how-to for this project, and at the bottom I will post the fixes to my perceived glitches. Thanks for hanging in this thing with me, and loving me despite my imperfect DIYs. (:

(Sparkly) Holiday Wall Art DIY

Supplies:

  • Canvas
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Masking Tape
  • Glitter scrapbook paper
  • Glue
  • Black Paint
  • Gold or Silver Paint

Step 1:

Measure equal stripes on to your canvas using your ruler and pencil.

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Step 2:

Mask off your stripes, (masking inside the white stripe, so you can paint the black stripe.) And paint.

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Step 3:

While paint is drying draw & cut out your desired shape on the back of the craft paper, (I chose a snowflake because it is pretty neutral. I had to really fight the urge to make another ‘taxidermy’ head.)

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Step 4:

Remove masking tape once paint has dried, apply glue to cut out, and adhere it to canvas. (Note: the picture does not have to be dead-center, try placing it off-center for a more original look.)

***This is where my problems began. I am pretty sure the paint wasn’t fully dry when I removed the tape. Either that, or the paint just bled. I did not get the clean, straight stripe I was hoping for.)

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Step 5:

Add ‘snow’ with gold or silver paint and allow to dry.

This is my finished project. It isn't quite as I imagined or planned it. See below for suggested 'fixes' to this DIY.

This is my finished project. It isn’t quite as I imagined or planned it. See below for suggested ‘fixes’ to this DIY.

Fixes:

  • Paint upward of the masking tape seam.
  • Allow paint to fully dry over several hours.
  • Instead of scrap book paper, use Elmer’s glue directly on the canvas to draw your desired shape, then cover with loose glitter and allow it to dry. (I believe this will give a cleaner look to the project).
  • Add a splash of color, (like mustard or red, or both) to add a little contrast.
  • Don’t be too hard on yourself!

xo, Em

Day 6: Vision Board

Day 6_ Vision Board(1)

Todays DIY is all about manifestation of the things you want in your life, co-creating, inspiring yourself and cutting cool things out of magazines. With the new year upon us, most of us start to mull over potential New Year Resolutions. Creating a vision board is a great way to keep yourself motivated throughout the year, reminding you of your goals, ideals and aspirations. This is true especially if you keep your vision board somewhere you will see it everyday, (think bedroom, closet or bathroom).

If you know anything about or believe in the law of attraction, then you know visualizing is a powerful tool. If that’s a little too out there for you, (or as my friend calls it, too ‘woo woo’), then it can be just for fun. It should be a fun project either way. There are no rules or limits to what you can include on your vision board.

Here are some ideas of things to look for when you’re flipping through your magazines:

  • uplifting words
  • inspiring photos
  • objects you hope to attain; homes, cars, clothing, etc
  • people that inspire you
  • anything that catches your eye, or makes you smile
  • Memorable quotes

Supplies:

  • Canvas / cardboard / poster-board (I used a 8×11 canvas)
  • Magazines that you are ok with destroying
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Any other craft supplies you want to include (I used gold, sequin craft paper to fill in spaces).
  • Matthew McConaughey, (just kidding–sort of).

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This is just one example of a vision board. I will probably make another bigger one for 2015, or a more picture-heavy board. Again, there are no rules. This is meant to be an uplifting experience. This also does not have to be a masterpiece work of art, (obviously). If you create a vision board, I would love to see it, so please tag me!

xo, Em

Mermade Market

mermadem We interrupt this DIY challenge to bring you an important word from our sponsors! OK, not really our–my sponsors, but I did want to write a post about an amazing event going on today and tomorrow. By now you should know that I love handmade, hand-crafted goods made by small business folk. I also love supporting other mamas. And perhaps even most, I love a good deal / sale / bargain / discount. (#frugalnotcheap) So what happens when you marry these three loves of mine? Mermade Market happens. And what’s even better is that it is in my own backyard, almost literally.

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Let’s start with the basics: Who: Fabulous Mompreneur Elise Capener, owns and operates this fantastic pop-up market, which hosts dozens of vendors at each of her events. Elise is a gorgeous mama to two adorable boys, devoted wife to her handsome hubby, film photographer, maker of beautiful things and all-around rad lady.

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What: What is the Mermade Market, you ask? It is a seasonal bazaar, filled with beautiful, handmade goods. Many (if not most) of these shops are owned by other mamas. You can find original gifts, beautiful home decor, on-trend baby and kids clothing and much, much more. It is also a bit of a social event, so come prepared to laugh and gab.

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Where: This is my favorite part–Mermade Market is located in beautiful Dana Point, Ca. It is a walk down the street for me, which is über convenient for me. If you do not live walking distance, it is worth the drive. Make a day of it, and spend the day or morning in Dana Point–there is tons to see and do.

Dana Point Community House

24642 San Juan Ave

Dana Point, Ca 92629

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When:

Now! Official Dates and times:

December 11 – December 13

Friday hours: 10am – 6pm

Saturday hours: 9am – 4pm

Why:

Because you love unique, beautiful things and good company! Plus, you know you are not quite done with your holiday shopping. Find the perfect gift, stocking-stuffer or treat for yourself. Support local makers and meet some fabulous new friends. Plus Elise is running some fun giveaways, so be sure to follow @mermademarket on Instagram and Facebook.

xo, Em