Vampire’s Blood White Hot Chocolate

Vampire's Blood White Hot ChocolateIt’s mid-October… my favorite time of the year. Apparently I’m not the only one. My son was bouncing off the walls a few days ago and I asked him why he was acting so wild… he said he can’t help it because all of this favorite holidays are coming up and he is just so excited :) I don’t blame him. We are getting very festive around here, we decorated the mantle, visited the pumpkin patch and have started watching Halloween Movies! When I came across this recipe for Vampire’s Blood White Hot Chocolate from Imperial Sugar I knew I had to make some! I love to browse Imperial Sugar’s site around the holidays because they have a ton of crafts, printables and recipes that you can make WITH your kids. This one was super fun and easy!

Vampire's Blood White Hot Chocolate

 They have the recipe on their site (with exact amounts HERE) but this is pretty much all you need:

  • Half and Half
  • Imperial Sugar Extra Fine Granulated Sugar
  • Vanilla
  • Whipped Cream
  • Strawberries
  • White Chocolate
  • Red Food collating (optional)
  • Salt

Vampire's Blood White Hot Chocolate

 The Strawberry Syrup is made from strawberries, sugar, water and red food coloring. I added a squeeze of lemon juice because I like to add lemons to everything :)

Vampire's Blood White Hot Chocolate

Then you bring that to a boil and let it simmer for a few minutes, until the strawberries break down. Strain the strawberries out and pour the syrup into an airtight container. This was the kids favorite part! Then they started listing all of the things they would put this on haha!

Vampire's Blood White Hot Chocolate

The White Hot Chocolate is so simple… white chocolate, sugar, vanilla, half and half and a pinch of salt. This took no time at all to melt together, make sure not to let it boil! Once it’s smooth just pour it into your mug!

Vampire's Blood White Hot Chocolate

Top with whipped cream and drizzle with strawberry sauce!  This would be the hit of any party! Be sure to check out Imperial Sugar for more recipes and festive ideas. They are also having a giveaway for KitchenAid Stand Mixer so go check it out! Happy Halloween everyone :)

Vampire's Blood White Hot Chocolate

Vampire's Blood White Hot Chocolate

Vampire's Blood White Hot Chocolate

Kitchen Remodel (with sources!)

kitchen remodelGuess what I have for you today…our kitchen reveal… FINALLY!! We had our kitchen remodeled last year (BEFORE PICTURES HERE) and I am just now getting around to posting all the details! To be honest living through a nine-week remodel with two active boys, a nursing baby and two dogs was about all I could take! So, now that we have lived in it for almost a year and broken it in, I’m sharing some photos and sources, yay! We pretty much knew what we wanted a few years ago but struggled a bit with our countertops so I wrote a whole post about those HERE. Kind of boring to read a whole post about countertops but trust me when you are in the market, it will really help!

kitchen remodelOn to the (very.photo.heavy) kitchen AFTER! Here she is :) We love her!

kitchen remodelHere is a lovely before and after picture, my favorite kind! We kept the same layout because the shape made perfect sense for our house. One of my favorite things that we did was lowering the back bar and extending it out by about 14″ so it hangs over the barstools now. We also took the cabinets all the way to the ceiling which I think made the biggest impact. We were originally going to have the exsisting cabinets painted and an additional box built on top but surprisingly the cost was pretty close to the cost of building all new custom cabinets so we went with that. We went with shaker style doors instead of beveled and I love them! The carpenters did an amazing (and quick) job with that part.

UnknownMy friend Ailee came over a few months ago and helped me take a few pictures and she also gave me some pointers on taking more photos in my kitchen. Our kitchen is in the very center of our home which I love but there are no windows, cozy but a photography nightmare haha. Thankfully Ailee is talented and helped me out, if you live in the Houston area look her up!

Ailee_Petrovic_151104_4B3A4492

photo by Ailee Petrovic

One of my favorite things are the floating shelves that we have on the side wall. I move things around up there very often, typical me. Another one of our favorites are the floors.. which are faux wood tiles. We wanted the wood look but it’s not practical for the amount of spilling we do haha! I highly recommend these for a kitchen!

kitchen remodel

kitchen remodel

kitchen remodelIMG_0180We are so happy with the countertops. Like I said, I have a whole dedicated post for them because it was the only hard decision for me, hopefully it helps someone else in the same boat, you can read about them HERE. So far we have spilled everything possible on them and they still look great.

kitchen remodel

kitchen remodelOne of my favorite things is our chrome bridge faucet :) I am so in love with it… when it was first installed I was thinking “this is too fancy for us” haha! It still makes me happy every time I look at it. It’s also perfect for our farmhouse sink… those two were made for each other.

kitchen remodel

kitchen remodelI still love the sink and I’m super happy that we went with it but it does get little grey marks on it really easily. It happens when we put anything stainless steel or metal in there… mixing bowls, spoons, cookie sheets. At first I thought it was scratched but the markings actually come off with some elbow grease… thank goodness. I have been using “SoftScrub with Bleach” but I hear bar keepers friend and baking soda work really well too. Let me know if y’all have any other cleaning tips!

kitchen remodelkitchen remodelkitchen remodelBecause we decided not to go with the marble countertops, I thought a marble backsplash would be perfect! While I do love some classic white subway tiles, I was afraid it would be just too much white. I’m really happy with the marble hexies. My husband was the most skeptical about this decision but as soon as it was installed we knew it was perfect. We put it behind the vent hood and the floating shelves because I loved it so much! They almost sparkle in the light.

kitchen remodel

Photo by Ailee Petrovic

Photo by Ailee Petrovic

kitchen remodel

kitchen remodel

Photo by Ailee Petrovic

Photo by Ailee Petrovic

Speaking of needing to add color, I wanted even more contrast so we went pretty dark on our island. I loved the richness of Bermuda Turquoise by Benjamin Moore and I picked it out sight unseen haha! We were out of town the week our contractor painted and he called us five states away to make sure we chose the right color haha! I had only seen it online and I said “lets go for it”. It turned out to be the perfect mix of green and blue for me.

kitchen remodel

kitchen remodelI also wanted another little splash somewhere else and I found these jadeite milk glass knobs. Fun fact, the shape also mimics the backsplash :) I got the same milk glass knobs in white for the island. I went with chrome cup pulls for the drawers.

kitchen remodel

kitchen remodel

Photo by Ailee Petrovic

Photo by Ailee Petrovic

There is a little section to the side of the kitchen that used to have a low built in desk which no one ever used but we got used to using that as our family mail and office workstation. So, we had our contractor built four huge drawers for office supplies and files. We keep all of our mail and school info there too. I love the little label pulls, I haven’t labeled them yet but that is on the list :) kitchen remodelkitchen remodel

kitchen remodelWith all of the open space came the problem of things being left out on the counter so my husband built these custom hook bars just a few weeks ago. We have already gotten so many compliments on them! He stained them to match the dining room table in the next room.

kitchen remodel

kitchen remodelkitchen remodelLastly, our favorite spot… the bar! The kids sit here more than anywhere else in the house. We eat breakfast here, sometimes lunch, after school snacks, arts and crafts, homework… you name it! I love the overhang they added, it makes the countertops look really deep right when you walk in which I love. We also added two pendant lights and I love them so :)

kitchen remodel

Photo by Ailee Petrovic

Photo by Ailee Petrovic

Photo by Ailee Petrovic

Photo by Ailee Petrovic

Photo by Ailee Petrovic

Photo by Ailee Petrovic

Overall, we couldn’t be more happy with our amazing new kitchen!! We are so lucky and thankful that this is the center of our home… we cook in it multiple times a day and it’s the hub of our family! Remodeling is expensive and can be stressful at times but it was so worth it for us. We will enjoy our happy space for years to come! I’m going to leave all the sources after all the photos so me know if I left anything out anyone has any other questions and I will add them to the post :)

kitchen remodel

kitchen remodelkitchen remodel

Photo by Ailee Petrovic

Photo by Ailee Petrovic

kitchen remodel

Kitchen Elements
Countertops | Helix by Silestone
Cabinets | Pica’s Custom 
Backsplash | Home Depot
Flooring | Marazzi Montagna Tile in Saddle
Wall Color | Sherwin Williams Colonnade Grey
Island Color | Benjamin Moore Bermuda Turquoise
Sink | Kohler from Lowes
Faucet | Overstock (similar)
Drawer Pulls | Amazon in Nickel
Label Pulls | Amazon
Cabinet Knobs in Jadite | Amazon 
Cabinet Knobs in White | Amazon 
Crystal Doorknobs | Amazon
Pendant Lights | West Elm
Appliances | Kenmore Elite 
 
Decor
Barstools | Target in Mint
Rug | Tuesday Morning
EAT letters | Anthropologie
Blue Latte Bowls | Anthropologie
3 tiered caddy | Marshalls Homegoods
Fork and Knife | Hobby Lobby
Toaster | Oster
Tea Kettle | Martha Stewart (it’s recalled and I only use it for decoration :) 
Floral Canisters | Pioneer Woman for Walmart
Dishtowels | Marshalls Homegoods
Floral Coasters | Amazon 
 

 Thanks for reading!

 

Marble Counter Alternatives

marble counter Alternatives

This is a story all about my countertop woes and how I overcame them haha! Kidding… countertops aren’t that serious but they are a huge part of your kitchen and they are important! This isn’t the usual cute decor or craft post but I figured it might help someone else choose a marble counter alternative, so why not share my experience right?

We started our kitchen remodel in July this year (before pics HERE) and I just knew that I had to have white cabinets and marble countertops! I am very decisive and I usually have a clear vision in my head. Between my “vision”, magazine clippings and a Pinterest board I was armed and ready. I started asking around looking for contractors and in the process I also asked people about their selections and how everything was holding up. I was more than bummed to hear that a lot of people already had stains on their marble (sad face.) In the meantime we found a great contractor and he agreed that marble countertops might not be a great choice for us (double sad face- look how pretty they are).

marble counter Alternatives

Apparently marble isn’t a good option for people who want to cook in their kitchens haha! I’m only half way kidding. I started researching and learned that marble is super porous so foods that stain like wine, berries and juice could leave permanent marks even on marble that is sealed. Oil and citrus also cause etching and marring. There are two schools of thought though, some people like these marks and consider it worn-in and cozy looking like a pair of broken-in jeans. I know myself and I am not one of these people! We are messy and I like things clean and neat, so after a lot of thought and research we decided marble isn’t for us. Waaahhhh. My problem at that point was that I had the look of marble in my head and it wouldn’t leave, it’s just so pretty! My contractor told me that granite was his favorite as far as durability and cost so we started there.

Granite: durable and won’t break the bank but hard to find in grey tones

Guys, it’s really hard to find any granite that looks like marble. I don’t mind the texture as much as the colors. I don’t have any brown tones in my house at all. No beige, cream, tan, taupe… none. Those colors look great in so many peoples homes but our house is very “cool”. We have blues and greys and aquas with bright whites. The main problem I had with granite was I couldn’t really find any without brown/tan/cream undertones. There were still plenty that I liked but didn’t think they would work. I liked the “marble look” of these. 

 

marble counter Alternatives

I also liked this one which is called “fantasy brown”. Of all the granite that this yard had I liked this one best. We decided to keep looking though…

marble counter Alternatives

Quartzite (not to be confused with Quartz): durable, looks a lot like marble, so pretty but expensive $

During my research I learned that my favorite kind of countertops are quartzite! They are natural, earthy and so gorgeous. They almost look like a salt block to me. I asked the employees for details and they said that it isn’t nearly as porous as marble so the staining wouldn’t be as bad! Perfect right?? Perfect until I learned about the price :( We have a lot of countertops and this was just out of our budget. But I can’t get over how pretty they are.

marble counter Alternatives

marble counter Alternatives

Quartz: only slightly more expensive than granite, very durable and messy family friendly, comes in grey tones

After searching for the perfect thing and being sad that nothing was marble (I was getting annoying about it) I spotted this… Definitely the right color and still natural looking without being too busy. I think I liked it. I asked a million questions and found out that it was quartz. A manmade countertop that was super durable and not nearly as expensive as quartzite.

marble counter Alternatives

They showed me the other colors; all the ones I liked had grey or white backgrounds with what looked like glass rocks inside and some even had mirrored looking rocks. Some of these are not name brand but some are Silestone. They are anti-microbial and had a warranty! Yay!

IMG_6192

marble counter alternatives

They showed me the other colors; all the ones I liked had grey or what backgrounds with glass rocks inside and some even had mirrored looking

marble counter alternatives

marble counter alternatives

 My husband went to the Silestone warehouse to get a closer look so he sent me this picture and the background caught my attention. It had a marble-esque pattern!

marble counter alternatives

 They gave him a book with every single color that they carry. I immediately loved the look of two of their colors, Lyra and Helix. Here they are next to real Carrara Marble… pretty close for a durable option!

Left is Silestone in Helix, Middle is Silestone in Lyra and right is marble. I had found our winner!

marble counter alternatives

silestone helix

Our kitchen is very white so we ended up going with Helix (on the left) to give it more contrast. I was super nervous because of my marble expectation but the day it showed up I was really happy! We have lived with it for over a month now and we LOOOOVE them!! So easy to take care of and doesn’t show anything at all! Here are the guys installing it :)

marble counter alternatives

marble counter alternatives

marble counter alternatives

marble counter alternatives

silestone helix

There you have our countertop “journey” haha… and hopefully this post helped someone with their marble countertop debacle! Let me know if you have any questions, and stay tuned for the big kitchen reveal coming soon!

Wicked Good Witch Hat Cookies

wiched good witch hat cookies

October is here.. my favorite month of the year and the kick-off to all things festive :)

Along with pumpkin patching, trick-or-treating and quilting; fall means it’s time to bake. My boys love helping me in the kitchen… especially my youngest son! We call him the future chef because he is always asking about ingredients and wants to taste every single spice that goes into every dish. When I came across the Wicked Good Witch Hat Cookies from Imperial Sugar I knew the boys would love making them. Imperial has a ton of spooky new recipes and crafts you can do with your kids. So many great ideas that would be great for Halloween parties, favors, neighbor or teacher gifts, etc. They also have free printables, coloring pages and activities for kids!

Ingredients:

  • Oreo cookies
  • Green fondant
  • 1  cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 cups Imperial Sugar Confectioners Powdered Sugar

Directions: 

  1. To make edible playdough: use your hands to mix peanut butter, honey and powdered sugar in large bowl. The dough should be soft enough to be pliable and not sticky.
  2. Shape dough into cone shape for top of witch hat.
  3. In ziplock bag, crush several Oreo cookies (without the creamy filling) into small pieces.
  4. Empty crushed cookies onto a plate and roll each “playdough” witch hat in the Oreos until coated
  5. Place coated hat on top of Oreo cookies. If the hat doesn’t want to stay, you can use a dollup of canned icing to hold it in place.
  6. Cut thin strip of green fondant to make a band for the hat. Attach to cookie at base of cone-shaped top.

IMG_9472

The recipe starts out with edible play dough! How fun is that? I could just stop there and the boys would be happy :) I really wanted them to try as much of this recipe themselves… brace yourselves moms, this gets kind of messy but they will love it! They mixed Imperial powdered sugar, peanut butter and honey with their HANDS!

imperial sugar

imperial sugar

IMG_9497

witch hat cookies

Can you believe this turns into play dough?!

witch hat cookies

So fun!

witch hat cookies

witch hat cookies

After we made the play dough (and played with it a little :) I let the boys form the dough into little cones.

witch hat cookies

witch hat cookies

Then we made cookie crumbs in the food processor. The boys also loved this part!

witch hat cookies

We rolled the cones in the cookie crumbs and placed them on an oreo. The last step is to add a green fondant ribbon to finish the witch hat!

witch hat cookies

Now… ours aren’t as pretty as the ones on the Imperial Sugar page, but the boys were so proud! And besides a little measuring, they pretty much made them with no help! I love how they turned out!

witch hat cookies

witch hat cookies

witch hat cookies

How cute would these be for a Halloween Party or a Playgroup craft project!? Be sure to check out the Imperial Sugar page for more fun Halloween Ideas!

http://www.imperialsugar.com/halloween

This post was sponsored by Imperial Sugar, all thought and opinion are my own.

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