Thursday, April 28, 2016

DIY Decoupage Spring Vases

Spring is sprung! Well, actually in Atlanta it is pretty much Summer already but in other parts of the country it is Spring or close to it. As the seasons change, in edition to fighting these crazy pollen counts, I like having new things in my environment. A perfectly timed challenge from Walmart to helped get my creative juices flowing and I decided to spruce things up by making decoupage vases. For the longest time I’ve heard about this technique and despite having Mod Podge in my home, I never used it. I am happy to report that the process is easy and provides wonderful results!

If you are not familiar, decoupage means to decorate objects with cutout pieces of paper. For my project, I purchased 2 glass vases ($.97) from the craft section at Walmart, 100 sheets of decorative paper ($4.00), Mod Podge ($3.49), Paint brushes ($3.00) and some newspaper. When I was doing research on decoupage, I saw a project that used newsprint and decided I wanted that as my background. I searched the various designs of paper I purchased and choose a butterfly theme. Butterflies are my favorite and represent rebirth, perfect for Spring!

To start I cut the newsprint to fit my vase. I brushed the vase with Mod Podge and then carefully applied the newsprint to the vase, avoiding as many wrinkles as possible. In my limited experience, wrinkles are part of the territory when doing decoupage, I assume my technique will get better the more I do it. 

I did read that wetting the paper before application helps to reduce wrinkles but I choose not to do that this time. I then coated the newsprint with more Mod Podge and let it dry. During the drying process I cut out the butterflies and border I wanted to use.

Next I applied the border, let it dry and then added the butterflies. I let everything dry and am extraordinarily pleased with the results. The only thing missing are flowers for my vases and I plan on purchasing some today!

Friday, April 8, 2016

Shrimp Fried Rice and Egg Rolls (recipe)


Over the years I have had a lot of fun being a Walmart mom. I have done everything from weather sealing my own deck, to being the social media correspondent for the Essence Festival and tons of stuff in between! This month my challenge was to act like one of the contestants on Master Chef! I was sent a box full of different products and asked to come up with a recipe. As I scoured the items, I decided that making my favorite - Asian inspired fare, would be the best bet for me. So, I grabbed the Lee Kum Kee Sriracha Mayo ($4.17) and Mae Ploy Sweet Chilli Sauce($2.00) and decided to make shrimp fried rice and egg rolls.

I was pleasantly surprised when my son - a notoriously picky eater, said he was excited about the egg rolls and requested vegetarian ones! I am a lover of shortcuts and quick meals so making these dishes fit the bill! From start to finish it took me less than 30 minutes to prepare both the shrimp friend rice and egg rolls!

For the shrimp fried rice I used the Lee Kim Kee Sriracha Mayo. I am a big fan of the spicy goodness that is sriracha, so I knew I wouldn’t be disappointed by the mayo. To begin, I gathered my ingredients: Minute rice heat and serve brown rice bowls (these are a huge timesaver!), peeled, deveined tail on shrimp and frozen stir fry vegetables. For the condiments, I used Kikoman low sodium soy sauce, ground ginger and sesame oil.

I heated about 2 tablespoons of sesame oil in the wok on high heat. I added two rice bowls and stir fried for about 3 minutes. The key is to make the rice slighty crispy on the outside while still tender on the inside! Next I added a cup of frozen vegetables fo the wok - while the rice was staying warmed on the sides of the wok. After about 2 more minutes, I added the shrimp and cooked until bouncy and pink. While the shrimp were cooking I added 1/2 teaspoon of ginger and about 2 tablespoons of soy sauce (more or less depending on you personal preference). Finally, I added 2 tablespoons of the Lee Kim Kee Sririacha mayo, mixed and removed from heat. Quick and easy stir fry! Here is the video I took while making it.

The egg rolls are really simple to make. I used Marketside tri-color coleslaw mix, fried’s eggroll wappers and soy sauce. SIMPLE!! My son requested vegetarian egg rolls but you can add your protein of choice if you like. 

To make, I sauteed the coleslaw mix for about 3 minutes, added some soy sauce and removed from heat. I laid the egg roll wrapper on a plate, filled with 3 tablespoons of the coleslaw mixture, folded the bottom and ends of the wrapper, rolled and sealed the top with some water. 

After I made the rolls, I added them to a pan filled with 1/2 inch of cooking oil. I cooked them on each side until they were nicely browned. 
And then served with the May Ploy Sweet Chili Sauce. I really liked the sauce, it lives up to the name and is both sweet and hot. I think it would be perfect for making sweet and sour shrimp and that might be my next recipe!

My son and I enjoyed our Asian inspired meal and I have many ideas for further use of the Sriracha mayo and sweet chili sauce!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Star Wars: The Force Awakens DVD exclusive to Walmart #showusyourforce

Star Wars: The Force Awakens DVD ($19.96)  was released today and in honor of the event, my son and I kicked off Spring Break with a viewing of the movie. I have to say that I’m going to be a little hard on myself about this one because when the movie was in theaters, I went to see it opening day. I assumed my son had seen it too (I have shared custody) and didn’t bother to ask him about it. When I told him that Walmart was going to send us Star Wars: The Force Awakens, he was ecstatic because he’d never seen the movie! Given my faux pas, we had to have a movie night party that was Star Wars themed. I took a trip to Walmart and we picked out a few things to make our evening fun!

We we sent the exclusive to Walmart DVD, Blue-Ray Disc with HD download, special packaging and Galactic Connexions Trading discs (only at Walmart). 

The cover art was perfect in my opinion, I loved that BB-8 was on it (my son recognized him immediately) and when you open it a larger scene is unveiled. I have to admit I played with opening and closing the cover several times because I like the velcro closure! 

Corny I know, but I’m so serious! I’m happy about the digital download being included because now when we fly (or even on a long car ride) my son will have a great movie to watch! My son loved the trading disc and looks forward to building a collection.

In keeping with the theme #showusyourforce we had to have the right attire, Star Wars themed of course! We found a BB-8 tee for my son and I went with the men’s Classic logo Star Wars tee(the logo is surrounded by stars)!  The tees were a great price at $7.97 and $7.50 respectively. I also found some fun Star Wars party masks ($2.25) with a variety of characters...we chose to be Storm Troopers. 

We also purchased a party favor cup and some paper plates

I guess we were overly excited because our snack of choice is always popcorn, so we didn’t really need the plates!

However, with all of this Star Wars: The Force Awakens love going around, my son has asked for this theme for his birthday next month! We are already ahead of the game with some of our party supplies. And of course, after watching the DVD, my son is absolutely in love with the movie! I think this was our best movie night ever, get your copy of the movie too and may the force be with you!!!

Friday, April 1, 2016

Eat Feed Love Monthly Taste Club subscription

I am a lover of food. No, really. I don’t think you understand, I absolutely LOVE good food. I am foodie and I surround myself with friends who are foodies too! My friends cook great food, frequent new restaurants and have a social life that revolves around eating, drinking and being merry! It is a wonderful life! I enjoy cooking too, however I am the only person in the house who will eat my food - my son is pretty picky and continues to have a rotation of foods that he will eat. However, I am getting him to at least try new foods. That is a victory in my book! Anyway, last month I was introduced to the goodness that is the Eat.Feed.Love Monthly Taste Club.

This subscription box is filled with artisan products from all over the world that are curated by the Eat.Feed.Love. kitchen team. Not only does the team chose the products but the use them and develop recipes for utilizing with the items in the box! I received the March Box and it was Saint Patrick’s Day themed. The items included: Malt Vinegar Salt (for making Fish and Chips), Carraway seeds (Irish Soda Bread) and my favorite Bloody Mary mix - and you know that that is for! There were other items included and most of the ingredients can be used in multiple recipes. I was sent 9 recipes in all!

I am most looking forward to trying the Bloody Mary mix. Have I mentioned the Bloody Mary’s are my favorite drink?? I’m not a pork eater but Beef Jerky was included in the box to top the Bloody Mary. I’ll be bringing it along to a Bloody Mary party I’ve been invited to and will be sharing the love!! Speaking of love....

For EVERY purchase made on Eat.Feed.Love a person is need is provided with a meal. Each month a different organization is supported. During March, the LA Food Bank was the partner. The giving arm of Eat.Feed.Love is why I wanted to feature them on my site. I love that not only are the provided quality products for their customers, they are also helping with the problem of hunger both domestically and internationally.

If you are interested in Eat.Feed.Love please use the code CUTIEBOOTYCAKES for 50% off of your first month! You also have a choice in what you want to receive:

Sample box ($22.00) - sample sizes of artisan products monthly
Snack box ($35.00) - artisan snacks, no cooking required, enjoy right out of the box!
Pantry box ($45.00) - full size artisan products to fill your pantry and recipes too!

I’m so happy to have partnered with Eat.Feed.Love. I love their products and their commitment to helping others! Try it out and let me know if you like the products too!!

Disclosure: I received a complimentary subscription box in return for this review. All opinions are my own.

Spring Break fun Medieval Times Atlanta dinner and show!

My son and I have experienced many things together but we have yet to try the Medieval Times Atlanta Dinner & Tournament. I have heard great things about the show, always wanted to attend and since he is on Spring Break and we are going this week. This is actually a perfect time because there special pricing for Spring Break!  From now until May 1st, tickets are discounted to $29.95 for kids and students and $36.95 for adults. Junior Knight training is included in the purchase price with the us of code SBWEB16  and all kids ages 4-12 will have the opportunity to train with the Knights prior to the start of the show. At the end of the training they will be knighted by the King!

Junior Knight Training
I am so excited about this, I know my son will have a ball training and I plan on posting all of the fun on Periscope and Snapchat (if you aren’t following me, you are missing out! I’m reneejross on all platforms)! Dinner is also included and a vegetarian option is available - just be sure to request it! My son and I are having a staycation this Spring Break and Medieval Times will help make it fun!

Disclosure: My son and I are receiving complimentary tickets for spreading the word about this offer. All opinions are my own. 

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