Archive of ‘At Home’ category

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).

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…)

How I Make Time for Creativity

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of The J.M. Smucker Company. The opinions and text are all mine. 

I spend a lot of my “free” time (late nights after work and after family time) crafting. But ironically, I also really always want to be sleeping. I know, the struggle right?! I find that the older I get, the more I truly value a good night’s sleep. But yet, I just can’t seem to let go of burning the midnight oil–I guess I still love DIY projects more. I recently made a few DIY sleep masks which seem to be the perfect representation of my current struggle–sleep vs. crafting.

11

I snooze with a sleep mask every night. It just makes me feel like I’m forced to shut my eyes and tune out the world around me. Plus, I’m one of those that wake up at the first crack of light so this totally helps. I take them with me when I travel as well and seem to always be loosing them (I bet there are dozens left in past hotel rooms, ha!). So I recently decided to DIY a few to keep on hand and of course I had to put a personal twist on them with some fun sayings.

They are pretty simple to make (you know I don’t like a ton of steps). I’ll share more in an upcoming post, but basically you just create an iron on transfer and apply it to a blank sleep mask. So easy!

12

Crafting is really a way to turn my creative juices on and have a little “me” time. Mostly happening late at night, but I also set aside one Sunday a month to tackle projects to share with you here. (Stay tuned for the DIY of these sleep masks coming this week!) I often get asked how I manage this blog and also work full time. Well, this is it. I just carve out time to be creative and get things done. No big secrets over here! Those all-day Sundays set aside for creating are really important to me because they allow me to create for the weeks ahead.

13

I kick those days off with a delicious carafe of coffee which keeps me going. I’m really enjoying Folgers Simply Gourmet coffee (I picked it up at Walmart). It’s made with natural flavors and I appreciate that it’s not overly sweet. I’m not a big creamer fan so having a hint of vanilla feels like such a treat.

14

Whether I’m enjoying some crafting time or just lounging in bed on the weekend, I love a warm cup of coffee to keep me company. Folgers Simple Gourmet also comes in Natural Cinnamon, Natural Chocolate, and Natural Caramel (you can see them, here). I think I’ll make it a goal to try all of the flavors :)

What does your “me” time look like? Are you a reader, a crafter, a binge watcher? Tell me in the comments! 

You Had Me At champagne Popsicle

Summer is speeding our way. I want to say “bring it on” but honestly, I start thinking of how much time I have left to “get ready.” You know all of those boxes that need checking before you can fully embrace summer and “check out” a bit yourself? For me it’s things like making sure I’ve planned summer trips (have you ever tried booking a beach campsite in southern California? You have to plan six months ahead–no joke), get kids’ activities and camps ironed out, coordinate dates for a family vacation, find bathing suits for yourself + two growing daughters, uh-hem… get into shape. The list goes on. But boy do I LOVE summertime. This summer should be extra special because I’ll be taking some extended time off of work to hang with my girls. I. Cannot. Wait.

Here’s a few things I’m currently dreaming of for this summer.

Wait for it…..boozy pops!

boozy popsicles

Can you even believe these boozy popsicles? I am ALL about the frozen drinks when it’s 100+ degrees outside. I recently discovered these pops and got super giddy. Looks like they are not yet available in the US (can we petition or something?!) so I might have to try my hand at a DIY version. Don’t they just sound wonderful? Boozy pops sound like the perfect summer cocktail to me! (more…)

Coffee break + chocolate sprinkle stir spoons

It’s really no secret around my house that I love coffee. Morning, afternoon, evening … I can’t resist a delicious, steamy mug.

chocolate spoons

I recently shared how the Mr. and I are taking back our weekends (or at least Saturday mornings) by having our own standing coffee date. And while that plan is still going strong, I, of course, find several other times throughout the week to enjoy some me-time with a little coffee break.

make chocolate spoons

The new Starbucks® Caffé Latte K-Cup® pods have really become my new favorite thing. They taste so delicious that I find myself looking for moments throughout the day to brew a cup and just take a break. Perhaps we should all do more of that–step away from work and take a moment to just reflect and hit the pause button.

chocolate spoon for stirring

coffee spoons

Over the weekend, I made these chocolate spoons (with sprinkles of course) with my girls. They love to use them to stir their hot cocoa, and I’ve discovered they are the perfect addition to my afternoon coffee. What says “perk me up” better than coffee and chocolate?

coffee-spoons

To make the chocolate spoons, you simply dip a spoon into melted chocolate and then top with some sprinkles. Once they set (about 15 minutes on the counter) you can store them in an airtight container to use during the week. When you’re ready, just stir it in your Caffè Latte and enjoy!

Stir, Sip, Enjoy. Signature Starbucks® latte flavors, now available in a K-Cup®

Slowing down the weekend

Weekends around here feel somewhat like a blur sometimes. We work all week, run around with school, sports, and activities, and then BAM–we have two “free” days to pack in all the other commitments, grocery shopping, and household chores. Before we know it, we’re staring Monday right in the face again. Can you relate at all? Surely I can’t be the only one who feels like she blinks and the weekend vanishes. 

Starbucks latte at home

I’ve come to accept that I cannot technically make the weekend last longer, but I can maybe slow it down (even for just a moment). In an effort to slow down for a few minutes at the start of each weekend, the Mr. and I started have a Saturday morning coffee date–in our pajamas, while at home. No rushing out the door, no scrambling to get ready or be somewhere special. Just the two of us holding hands at the Keurig® machine (okay maybe it’s not that cheesy, but you get the idea).

make a starbucks latte

This is a whole new idea to us because typically you’d find us scurrying through the nearest Starbucks drive-thru window on our way somewhere. But with the new Starbucks® Caffé Latte K-Cup® pods, we now have our favorite coffee at our fingertips. This, my friends, is worth celebrating. It’s such a nice time to enjoy our favorite flavors and spend some quality time together–He loves the Caramel Caffè Latte and I typically go for the Vanilla Caffè Latte!

how to make a starbucks latte

These Caffè Latte K-Cups® come in three delicious flavors, which means you can have a little variety. Although vanilla is my go-to, I do like to change things up between all three (mocha, vanilla, and caramel) while the Mr. sticks with his favorite, caramel.

starbucks-latte-keruig

I also like to add a little breakfast treat to our routine. We just have to wake up early enough so the kids don’t get to them before we do! What do you think? Could your weekends use a slow-down plan?

Stir, Sip, Enjoy. Signature Starbucks® latte flavors, now available in a K-Cup®

1 2 3 6