Cold Brew Ice Cubes + 3 Ways to Simplify Your Day

This post has been sponsored by the J.M. Smucker Company. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Today, I’m talking about how to make cold brew ice cubes, and three other ways to simplify your busy day.

Making cold brew ice cubes at home is really simple with this tip. Coffee ice cubes are great to keep in the freezer for that afternoon cold brew coffee.I don’t know about you, but my days seem to fly by. Between kids, work, and all of the “extra” stuff that needs to be tackled on a daily basis, I often feel pretty frazzled trying to get everything done. Over the past few months, I’ve made it a point to find a few ways to simplify my day-to-day and it’s really helped me feel more like I’m running the day vs. the day is running me.

I wanted to share with you four ways I’ve been simplifying my day. Maybe you could use a little help in this area, too. Now that fall is here, the days are going to get a lot more hectic as the holiday season approaches. Hopefully these ideas will help you conquer it all!

Making cold brew ice cubes at home is really simple with this tip. Coffee ice cubes are great to keep in the freezer for that afternoon cold brew coffee.

I start my day at around 6:00 am which means by the afternoon I’m pretty much dragging. I love a great cup of cold brew as an afternoon pick me up but never seem to take the time to make it (which means I don’t often get to enjoy it). One thing I’ve been doing lately is pre-making cold brew and cold brew ice cubes which means a delicious cup of cold brew is ready for me whenever I fancy. I won’t say this has been a life-changer (because that sounds a little over-the-top), but if you enjoy cold brew coffee like me, you’ll want to start doing this for sure!

Making cold brew ice cubes at home is really simple with this tip. Coffee ice cubes are great to keep in the freezer for that afternoon cold brew coffee.I love having cold brew ice cubes on hand to pop into a glass to keep my cold brew, well, cold. As the cube melts, it doesn’t dilute the coffee.

Making cold brew ice cubes at home is really simple with this tip. Coffee ice cubes are great to keep in the freezer for that afternoon cold brew coffee.

The new-to-shelves Dunkin’ Donuts Cold Brew Original Blend coffee packs (original), which you can find on the coffee aisle at any Target, have helped simplify this process. And, it’s really simple to make (which is right up my alley). If you’re not familiar with Cold brew, it’s a brewing method where the coffee grounds are steeped in cold water for around 8-12 hours. The colder temperature brings out the rich, smooth flavor and it does not have that bitter or acidic tastes you might have experience with other types of iced coffee.

How to make Dunkin’ Donuts Cold brew:

  • Put 2 Coffee Filter packs (1 pouch) into a pitcher
  • Fill the pitcher with 4 cups of cold water
  • Steep it in the fridge overnight, or for 8–12 hours
  • When it’s done steeping, remove the filters and add 3 more cups of cold water
  • And now, simply, enjoy!

Making cold brew ice cubes at home is really simple with this tip. Coffee ice cubes are great to keep in the freezer for that afternoon cold brew coffee.How to make cold brew ice cubes:

Once your cold brew is ready, fill up an ice cube tray and place it in the freezer. Place the pitcher with the remaining cold brew, back into the refrigerator.

Making cold brew ice cubes at home is really simple with this tip. Coffee ice cubes are great to keep in the freezer for that afternoon cold brew coffee.

The next time you’re ready for a mid-morning or afternoon pick-me-up, grab a glass, add a cold brew ice cube, and pour your cold brew on top.

Making cold brew ice cubes at home is really simple with this tip. Coffee ice cubes are great to keep in the freezer for that afternoon cold brew coffee.

Having cold brew and cold brew ice cubes on hand is a simple way to make your day a little easier to manage.

3 additional ways I’ve simplified my days:

  1. I make my kiddos lunches the night before right after I clean up the dinner dishes. This only adds about 10 minutes to my evening routine but feels so much easier than rushing to get it done in the morning.
  2. I map out what we will be having for dinner the Sunday before the work/school week starts and write it on the chalkboard in our kitchen. This cuts down on curious minds asking me “what’s for dinner?” and gives me a  game plan to follow in the evenings after work. I’ve found by eliminating that daily decision of “what to make for dinner” has me feeling less overwhelmed on a daily basis.
  3. I’ve delegated breakfast. This one is a game changer. We tend to always cook at least one big breakfast on the weekends so I’ve started making extra of whatever it is (waffles, pancakes, breakfast burritos) and then I freeze them. That way in the morning, it’s easy for my husband to quickly heat up a delicious breakfast for our girls while I help them get ready for the day. We keep fresh fruit in bowl in the fridge and have those washed, sliced, and prepped on the weekend as well. It’s a simple thing to do on a weekend and helps us all have smoother mornings during the week.

What do you think? Will any of these ideas help you simplify your busy days? Do you have any other tips or tricks to share? I’m all ears so drop them in the comments! 

The next time you’re at Target, be sure to pick up a box of Dunkin Donuts Cold Brew to try for yourself. I think you’ll love it! (Use this Cartwheel Offer).

3 Easy Party Appetizers

Holiday entertaining season is fast approaching and every year I like to plan a head a bit and file away some easy party appetizers and small bites for when I’ll need them later. Appetizers and small bites are my go-to party food because you can keep the recipes incredibly simple and make a variety small bites which keeps things interesting (and guests happy).

Here are three easy party appetizers to have on hand this entertaining season. Small bites and easy appetizers are always a crowd pleaser! Save these ideas.

I recently made a tray of small bites using some fresh ingredients at my local farmers market. Each appetizer was different but all three utilized a bit of dip. I’ve partnered up with Heluva Good Dips this season and have been sharing different ways to pair their flavorful sour cream dips with local fresh ingredients (like this bountiful veggie tray I recently shared). I like that their dips are made with real sour cream and lots of flavorful spices so they pair really well with a variety of flavors.
Here are three easy party appetizers to have on hand this entertaining season. Small bites and easy appetizers are always a crowd pleaser! Save these ideas.

I created a smoked salmon crostini, A cucumber + radish wheel, and a mini heirloom potato bite. Each was unique but really simple to make. When it comes to party appetizers, simple is always my motto.

Here are three easy party appetizers to have on hand this entertaining season. Small bites and easy appetizers are always a crowd pleaser! Save these ideas.

To make the salmon crostini
 I lightly toasted sliced baguette pieces in the oven with a bit of olive oil. Then, I added a drop of Heluva Good! French Onion Dip on top. Next I placed a piece of smoked salmon and then garnished with a bit of fresh rosemary. This looks like a really impressive appetizer to serve but it’s really easy to make.

To make the cucumber + radish wheels
Top slices of cucumbers with a drop of Heluva Good! French Onion Cup and then place one slice of radish on top.

Here are three easy party appetizers to have on hand this entertaining season. Small bites and easy appetizers are always a crowd pleaser! Save these ideas.

To make heirloom potato bites
Microwave small heirloom potatoes until they are soft. Cut them in half and scoop out just a little of the potato (just enough to make a small well for the dip). Add a scoop of Heluva Good! Bacon Horseradish Dip to each potato. Top with cracked black pepper and garnish with fresh chives.

Here are three easy party appetizers to have on hand this entertaining season. Small bites and easy appetizers are always a crowd pleaser! Save these ideas.

Each one of these easy party appetizers took less than ten minutes  to make and are crowd pleasers. Using the flavorful dips makes all the difference here, feel free to mix things up and experiment with your own flavor combinations.

Be sure to use the Pinterest button below and save these ideas for later!

Visit HeluvaGood.com for full product info and to find out where you can buy Heluva Good! dips in your neighborhood.

This is a sponsored post. All opinions are my own.

Adult Shirley Temple – Blended Cocktail


This is an Evite® paid post. All opinions are my own.

Blended and frozen cocktails are my jam this summer, and this adult Shirley Temple just might be my new go-to. When I was a kid, I used to always order a Shirley Temple when my parents took me to a restaurant. I don’t know, it made me feel grown up a little. Now, this adult version is making me feel like a kid again.

Full. Circle.

This easy adult Shirley Temple is perfect for summer. It's an easy-to-make blended cocktail

We recently decided to host a small “porch party” for  our neighbors. It’s been so hot here that I knew a blended cocktail would be the perfect option!

invite

We sent out this Evite® and asked guests to bring an appetizer to share. Folks stopped by for a bit, while others sat and stayed a while. Everyone seemed pleased to try this cocktail since it was a relief from the heat.

This easy adult Shirley Temple is perfect for summer. It's an easy-to-make blended cocktail made with frozen cherries and your favorite vodka.

I can’t get over how delicious this adult Shirley Temple was (our neighbors loved them too)! I went to Albertsons and picked up all of the classic ingredients (7UP®, Grenadine, and cherries) but I turned it into a blended cocktail by mixing it with a few frozen dark cherries and ice in a blender. The dark cherries gave the drink a deeper depth of flavor which just made it perfect for an adult crowd. The 7UP gave the drink that familiar crisp and refreshing taste that Shirley Temples have. (more…)

So, I took a 30 day sabbatical

Yes, I took a 30 day sabbatical. For all of my adult life, I’ve been going full-throttle. School, work, parenting, more work, side work, fun work. You name it, I want to do it (and am determined to do it perfectly). It’s a blessing to love what you do, but sometimes it can also feel like a curse. Honestly, most days it feels like a tornado that ends with a migraine. (I bet some of you can relate.)

Here's what I learned when taking a 30 day sabbatical from work. How I planned, what I did, and what I learned from the experience.

So, when the company I have been working for for the last seven years (The Grommet) announced a new policy that would give me the chance to take a 30 day paid sabbatical, I was equally excited and nervous. I’ve taken a week vacation before (still checking in here and there) but this was an entire new level. I wondered if I could do it. (I also tried negotiating working one day a week during it so I could still get stuff done, I know…pathetic). In the end I took an entire 30 days off.

I wanted to share a few things that I took away from this experience. From the planning process, to how I spent my time, to what I learned when I took a step back and let things
go … for thirty. whole. days.

Here's what I learned when taking a 30 day sabbatical from work. How I planned, what I did, and what I learned from the experience.

The planning dilemma
I was stressing over what to do with my time off (what a first-world problem to have, I know). But you see, I want everything to be just right. When in my life will I get another chance to take 30 days off? I ran through several ideas. My first thought was to quickly plan an international trip. Over the last two years we’ve traveled a lot (my favorite was to Maine last summer) but never outside of the US.  However, my husband couldn’t get that much time off, and traveling with a family of four is pricey. I ran through other ideas like volunteering my time, finally getting that passion project going I’ve been thinking about for years, creating a ton of content for this blog, deep cleaning my house (yes this crossed my mind), and more. In the end my husband asked me what I wish I could do every summer. And my answer? “Fun stuff with my daughters.” I work from a home office and summers are HARD. When the kids are out of school they are always asking to go do fun things and I am always saying “no” because I’m working. I keep business hours so hitting the beach on a Wednesday isn’t something we can just go and do. I realized that I wanted to be able to do whatever they wanted, and just have some summer fun. (more…)

Keepin’ It Simple

I have been compensated by ZonePerfect® for this post; however I am sharing my own thoughts. All opinions are my own. #Ad #ZonePerfectRevitalize
 …

Summertime is supposed to be filled with warm, lazy days and fun cocktails, right? That’s not at all what I’m feeling at the moment. How about you friend? So far my first couple of weeks have been filled with rushing kids around to their activities, working long hours, and trying to pencil in on the calendar all of the fun things we want to do and all of the parties I want to host. Oh and writing content for my new DIY Marketing site. There just never seems to be enough time in the day (or the season!). Do you feel this way? Tell me I’m not alone.

Do you all have a tendency to overthink and over-plan? Grab my free printable as a reminder.

I try to keep reminding myself that my mantra has always been “keep it simple.” I mean, the name of this blog does means a lot to me. Do you all have a tendency to overthink and over-plan? I’m totally guilty of this at times, but I’m working to keep myself focused and in check with how much I schedule and to better manage my expectations. Honestly, I think I need to cut myself a break once in awhile. We can put so much pressure on ourselves. I’m trying to stay focused on what’s important and what needs to get done.

Do you all have a tendency to overthink and over-plan? Grab my free printable as a reminder.

One thing that’s helping me get through these long days is having the perfect snack always on hand. I discovered these ZonePerfect® Revitalize for Mental Focus bars recently in the lunchbox aisle at Target. And I have started keeping them on hand always! I have a couple in my desk drawer, in my purse, in my work bag. YUM.  I’d keep them in my car but it’s like 115 out here and I’m certain they’d melt.

Do you all have a tendency to overthink and over-plan? Grab my free printable as a reminder.

ZonePerfect Revitalize  bars help me stay mentally sharp and focused throughout my busy day and the flavors make them taste like a delicious treat (hello Salted Carmel Latte, Strawberry Shortcake, and Hot Chocolate Marshmallow!) My current favorite is the Salted Carmel Latte and it even has 11g of protein. They also have green tea extract that has caffeine levels equivalent to a ½ cup of coffee and Choline which is a nutrient that supports brain health. They are the perfect snacking solutions for active and busy lifestyles. You can find out more about this product here.

What fun things do you have planned for the summer? Any entertaining plans in the works? I hope you’ll resist scheduling too much and remember that it’s okay to keep things simple. That’s really my main reason for creating this space. I want to encourage you that simple can be gorgeous, fun, and memorable. Pick a few elements for your party and do them well. The rest, can be basic. Honestly. Focusing on a few things rather than “everything” will help you feel less overwhelmed and hopefully bring you more joy. Whether that’s summer activities or details for your backyard dinner party.

Do you all have a tendency to overthink and over-plan? Grab my free printable as a reminder.

If you want a little reminder, print out this sign and put it on your desk, or pin it up on your fridge. Cheers to staying focused, and getting it all done friends!

How to Host a Backyard Dinner Party

This post is in partnership with Bed Bath & Beyond. All opinions are my own.

I absolutely love to entertain in my backyard. We’re pretty lucky here in Southern California and have a long season where we can comfortably host a backyard dinner party without worrying about the weather. I jump at every chance to set a table outdoors and invite friends and family over for  a laid-back evening of food, wine, and good company. Are you wondering how to host a backyard dinner party? I’m sharing some of my simple tips with you!

Here's a look at a recent backyard dinner party I hosted. I'm sharing 5 simple if you're wondering how to host a backyard dinner party in your space.

Although it just might seem easier to host your group indoors, I encourage you to consider dining alfresco next time. I’ll show you how to host a backyard dinner party that is simple but feels really thought out. Here are the main steps.

  1. Purchase and gather a few outdoor entertaining essentials
  2. Stage your area by setting up the table and place settings ahead of time
  3. Layer on any flowers or other decorations
  4. Turn on a good dinner party playlist
  5. When guests arrive, pour drinks and set out food

Here’s a glimpse at our set up from the other evening. It all really starts with getting a few essentials for entertaining outdoors. Bed Bath & Beyond is a great place to head if you’re looking  for outdoor entertaining essentials like tablecloths, cups, plates, and serving pieces. I recently partnered with them to highlight some of their great finds for outdoor entertaining. Here’s a look at some of the items that set the stage for our recent dinner party.

Here's a look at a recent backyard dinner party I hosted. I'm sharing 5 simple if you're wondering how to host a backyard dinner party in your space. 7

I just fell in love with this palm leaf tablecloth. It’s stain and water resistant which means it’s perfect for dining outdoors. It just screamed “summer” to me and knew it would make a great base for our palm leaf tablescape.

IHere's a look at a recent backyard dinner party I hosted. I'm sharing 5 simple if you're wondering how to host a backyard dinner party in your space.

I wanted to mix patterns and textures to keep it interesting but not too matchy-matchy. I grabbed some melamine serving pieces  that had a wood and marble look to them. Melamine pieces are great for dining outdoors–you won’t be afraid to break them. I also layered melamine plates on square natural woven jute placemats. These brought a nice earthy feel to our outdoor table. I also love how versatile they are. We use them regularly.

Here's a look at a recent backyard dinner party I hosted. I'm sharing 5 simple if you're wondering how to host a backyard dinner party in your space.

Next, I layered on some place cards, glasses, stemware, and bowls. I highlight recommend setting up everything you can ahead of time. It gives you time to enjoy setting the table without feeling rushed. You can do this hours ahead of when you expect your guests to arrive.

Here's a look at a recent backyard dinner party I hosted. I'm sharing 5 simple if you're wondering how to host a backyard dinner party in your space.

About 30 minutes before guests arrive, I bring out an arrangement for the table. Flowers tend to wilt fast in the heat so I don’t bring them out too early. I always combine fresh blooms from my yard (in this case roses) with a few store-bought blooms (like the hydrangeas and greenery). A small arrangement just makes your table feel pulled together and adds such a thoughtful touch.

Here's a look at a recent backyard dinner party I hosted. I'm sharing 5 simple if you're wondering how to host a backyard dinner party in your space.

About 15 minutes before guests arrive, I bring out the chilled rosé (though, rosé spritzers would have also been a great choice). I recently got this copper plated ice bucket and am mildly obsessed with it! It’s going to match everything on my bar cart and get used so often. I just love discovering unexpected and unique items like this and Bed, Bath & Beyond never disappoints on that front. (more…)

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